Oh, uni. Supposedly the best few years of your life. You are meant to make tons of lifelong friends, become a responsible adult and find your ~true self~.
What isn’t in all the handbooks is the ridiculous stress you will find yourself under and the several pounds in weight you will put on from endless takeaways, nights out, and lack of mum’s good cooking.
The start of the next university year will soon be upon us, whether you are returning after a long summer off, or just heading off for the first time.
I am about to enter my fourth and final year, and I can’t believe that is even a sentence I am able to say yet. The time has absolutely flown in – I am 100% not ready for whatever comes after this period in my life. While university – and education in general, for that matter – is not for everyone, it is for me. I have had the most amazing time at university, met the most amazing people that I can call some of my best friends, and grown immensely as a person. My confidence has absolutely soared and I can now strike up a conversation with just about anyone, and voice my opinion where I would have before kept quite and very much to myself (mind you, I still make my mum phone and make my dentist appointments for me. We can’t all be perfect). It was definitely the right choice for me after school, and I want it to keep going forever (ok, maybe not forever, but a couple of years longer at least). For me, the stress of essays and exams and assignments is totally worth it for what I am getting in return.
As you may or may not know, I am studying English, journalism and creative writing. I also wrote a post on my top tips for studying this at uni (and also WHY you should study it) which you can read here.
That said, there are a few things about university that turned out a little different to how I expected. I think you leave school with such an image in your head of what university is going to be like, but there is really no preparing yourself completely until you actually there and experiencing it.
Luckily for you lot, I have compiled a very handy list of a couple of tips and tricks so you are that little bit more prepared.
1) You don’t HAVE to join a load of societies. There are other ways to make friends.
2) It is actually not that big a deal if you aren’t legally old enough to drink yet. You aren’t the only one, and there is always parties to attend. The student union will usually let you in too, as long as you don’t try and buy alcohol or are seen getting other people to buy it for you (read behind the lines here). I was 17 for the entire first half of my first year at university, and I still have friends, don’t I? I still had fun. Yes, it is VERY ANNOYING, but there is nothing you can do about it (apart from get fake ID or borrow your friend’s but that’s always risky and doesn’t often work).
3) There are some VERY different people out there. Most likely including your flatmates. But there is also your people out there too. People that you didn’t know that you needed in your lives, and didn’t know could even exist. I met my best friend Fiona the first day we moved into student accommodation and were randomly placed in the same flat. Fast forward three years and we are living in a private rent, just the two of us, and have almost merged into one human being. I would never have thought it would be possible to find someone who is literally ME in blonde-hair-and-excellent-eyesight form.
4) No one cares what you look like when turning up to lectures. Especially 9am ones.
5) And therefore yes, you can go to your lecture wearing that outfit you grabbed off your bedroom floor after wearing it out the night before. No, no one will notice, or give two shits. My friend once bought me coffee from Starbucks to congratulate me for pulling it off with ease.
6) Also, no one gives two shits if you walk into a lecture five, ten, FIFTEEN minutes late. They aren’t all looking at you. They are looking at your delicious coffee in a jealous rage, wishing they made themselves late waiting in line for one too. They want to rip it from your fingers.
7) You won’t love every single day, or every single class. But don’t let that put you off, because maybe the next class you take the year after will be OH MY GOD THE BEST HOUR EVERY WEEK YOU HAVE EVER HAD.
8) You will feel lonely and down sometimes.You will have off days, and that’s okay. You might even feel like quitting. But the feeling may pass, so give it time.
9) Your dinners will never look like they do in the photos of your many student cookbooks. Nor will you ever use those cookbooks after the first month. Or week. Ok, fine. I haven’t opened it at all.
10) It might be nerve-wracking and utterly anxiety-inducing, but it is SO MUCH FUN.