I remember starting the application process for university about a year or more before I started my course, and I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be a long while before I actually started if I got any offers. I think we sometimes forget just how fast time can fly in, and it certainly did because before I knew it I was a 17 year old fresher starting off my university journey, feeling like an ant on this giant university campus. In the lead up to starting, I spent my Summer filled with excitement at the thought of starting my studies and I felt more than ready to take that leap from high school to higher education. Can you guess what happened next? The nerves eventually hit, and so they should, it’s completely natural to be nervous, it’s a big transition in your life, like starting high school all over again where you’re faced with making new friends, finding your way around, completing all your assignments, but with a lot more independence and a LOT more responsibility.
So what did I learn from my 4 years at university?
It’s okay to be anxious – everyone is on the same boat, some people are just better at concealing their nerves than others, I can assure you that every individual will get that little niggle on their first day, or first week and that’s okay. Why? 1) It’s a new environment and as humans we tend to find change strange, and 2) It shows you care, emotion is good. I wasn’t nervous because I was completely and utterly dreading starting, I was nervous because it was the start of a brand new journey and I wanted to prove to myself that I could not only start this chapter in my life, but complete it too.
University friends become lifelong friends – By the time you get to university, you should be past all the high school drama and although you may lose touch with your friends from high school (it happens but not to everyone), don’t fret, because you meet some of the best human beings at university. I can 100% say I’ve made best friends for life through university, and one of those best friends just so happens to be my boyfriend too. If you’re heading to university without knowing a single soul, then don’t be quaking in your boots, everyone is just as eager to make friends and get settled as you are and after the awkward hellos or the nervous starts, you begin to realise that actually everything isn’t as scary as it all seems.
The library becomes your second home – First year is everyone’s year of fun, you’re a Fresher but that doesn’t mean you can get away with not attending lectures or not studying, create a balance. Use the university facilities, one of the biggest ones being the library. Maybe not so much in first year (it was for me), but certainly as you progress through university the library becomes your second home, with early starts, long days, or late nights being spent in here. Learn to love the library, I’ve only graduated from university in June and I can already say that I miss the library. With the option of group study rooms and silent study, you can have the best of both worlds here and choose which you prefer to be the most productive student you can be, and surrounded by thousands of books, you have all the learning materials at your fingertips.
DO the extra reading (lecturers don’t go on about it for nothing) – You might yawn when the lecturer goes on and on about the additional reading which is “an essential part of the course”, and as a student you might wonder how you’ll fit this extra reading in on top of all the other work on your to-do list, but MAKE TIME FOR IT! When your coursework or exams are being marked by the lecturer, they’ll know if you’ve just regurgitated their lecture slides, instead you want them to be sat at their desk like “oh this student has actually gone over and above”, such additional facts, quotes, or research could easily make your essay stand out from the ten dozen they’ve just read that all state the same, and more importantly this could be the difference between a 2:2 and a 2:1, or a 2:1 and a 1st.
I’m more than capable – University is so different from high school with the independence and extra responsibility, so at first it may seem like a shock to the system and you might not think that it’s for you, but you wouldn’t have received offers from the university if they didn’t think you were capable, so believe in yourself. Don’t give up at the very first hurdle, it takes a little time to get adjusted. I remember getting my first essay back for History, which was an elective class I had chosen and I got 50 something percent. I was a little disappointed to say the least, having achieved great grades in high school I expected to just be handed these in university, but you really do need to work for the grade and if you put the work in you will reap the rewards. Just picture yourself on the stage at graduation and make that your end goal, and don’t be disheartened by any grades you get that you weren’t expecting, because it’s possible to improve your marks and get the degree classification you want.
Just enjoy the experience, although 3 or 4 years seems like a long time, it actually isn’t and you’ll be holding your degree certificate in your own hands before you know it. University years can end up being some of the best years of your life, making the best of friends, possibly meeting the love of your life, all whilst demonstrating your ability, so embrace the life of a student and make it one to remember. Are any of my lovely readers about to start university, or any current/previous university students, what has university taught you?