I have been at university for almost 2 years, but there are still things that I wish I’d have known every day. See, I’m the first in my family to go to university so I didn’t have an older sibling to mentor me, or a parent to discuss their experience with. Before I moved here, I had only the open day to go off of- and that’s it. So, here’s the 9 things that I really wish someone had told me before I started university.
1. Not everyone is going to have the same life experience as you
This seems obvious. But, I grew up in a town where everyone knows everyone and not much has ever changed. We all have pretty similar life experiences, and there’s just not much variation. University is completely different to that. And, sometimes that can cause conflict. For instance, I find it very frustrating that many of the people who I went to university with have help from their parents with their work, even if it’s just proofreading. I don’t have that, which is fine, but it can be a little frustrating sometimes going about it completely on your own.
2. Stereotypical students do exist
But equally, they don’t. You don’t have to be stereotypical or change yourself to fit into a mould at university. Just be yourself and you’ll find friends much quicker.
3. It can get really lonely
Sometimes you’ll feel very alone at university; even if you are surrounded by people. It’s just inevitable. But, you’ll get through it. Don’t worry.
4. You can do this
So many people told me that I can’t, so it would be refreshing to hear that I can. Yes, university can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding.
5. Casual work for the uni is very rewarding
Something that I haven’t gone into in much detail on here before is my job. I actually work for the university on a casual contract which means I can work as often (but not more than 15 hours per week during term time) or as little as I like. This work is actually really rewarding and helps me to get to know the university much better; I really enjoy it!
6. Yes, some people really do start their essay the day before it’s due
And I am not one of them. I don’t understand why you would put yourself through that either, but if it works for some people then who am I to judge 🤷🏽♀️. Personally though, I spend about 4-5 whole days on an essay including planning, and that works really well for me.
7. Essay plans are the one
I never ever ever used to plan essays, it’s just never worked for me. But, as I started getting into 3,00 + word essays, it quickly became apparent that a plan was needed. So, I’ve actually gone the complete opposite to what I used to and now I fully plan all of my essays before I write them. This helps me keep my essay focused on my points and makes sure that I don’t forget anything, really valuable!
8. First year is weird
It just is. I don’t know why, but first year is just one of the weirdest years of your life. Everything is so unfamiliar and new, but you will get through it.
9. It’s every man for themselves
Yes, you may be in a friendship group that helps each other out every now and then, but ultimately it is every man for themselves. That doesn’t mean that you have to be weirdly competitive (although some people are), what it means is that you need to make decisions for yourself, and forget all of the other factors. For example, when deciding your option modules, all that matters is what you want to do, what you’re good at and what you enjoy. Nothing else should affect your decision.
So, there we have it! What did you learn at university that you wish someone had told you beforehand? I’d love to know in the comments!