What I learnt at University

What I learnt at University

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?

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  1. Naya
    September 15, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    Love this post! Everything you said is true.

    • September 15, 2017 / 8:28 pm

      Thank you for reading it! I’m glad you agree 🙂

  2. September 15, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    Going into my third and final year and I can agree the years speed by! I am definitely not ready to graduate and go into the real world!!! xx

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      I don’t think anyone is ever ready, just take each day as it comes and don’t worry about being a graduate, everything will fall into place. Best of luck with your final year of your studies xx

  3. September 16, 2017 / 11:13 am

    Apart from the subject I went to learn, the biggest thing I learned was that it is ok to be you!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:15 pm

      That’s a great point, thank you for sharing this!

      • September 27, 2017 / 8:18 pm


  4. September 16, 2017 / 11:14 am

    I’ve just gone into my second year but related to a lot of this! Got my course load yesterday and I can already tell I’ll be living in the library!
    Jas xx

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:15 pm

      Lots of people turn their noses up at the library but I think it’s wonderful, if that’s the place you’re most productive then definitely visit it often! Best of luck with your second year xx

  5. September 16, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    It sounds like you are making the best of your time at uni and I applaud this. I wish I could have done it a little differently even though I did well in paper!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      It was a great experience and I’m already wishing I was back at university for another year!

  6. September 16, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    I would say embrace any opportunities that might come your way! This is more of a North American thing but joining a sorority is knew of the best chances I’ve ever taken. Because of Alpha Gamma Delta, I learned a lot, Made some pretty amazing memories, and still have lifelong sisters who are there for me no matter what. I also got very involved with the history department, and the experience I gained planning conferences and helping with department events has helped immensely in my job now (working at a university).

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:17 pm

      Very true, I have the grades but not a lot of experience so I’d definitely say embrace any opportunity that comes your way, not only does it give you experience but looks great on a CV/resume. I think the whole American thing is so cool and would love to find out more about the whole sorority thing! I also work at a university also, high five haha!

  7. September 16, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    Yes, all true! The 3-4 years really goes by fast and you end up wishing you were back in school. You never realize that you enjoyed it until it’s over. And it is overwhelming at first, but then you realize it just takes some getting used to.

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Exactly, like any new experience it takes some time to adjust but hang on in there because it’s worth it!

  8. September 17, 2017 / 10:51 am

    I just started Uni again at the age of 51 studying for a BSc in Nursing. I would say that you are never to old to achieve your dream!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      This is so true, I know many mature students at university and just because you don’t go to university in your teenage years doesn’t mean you can never have the university experience!

  9. September 17, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    I’m glad you have enjoyed your experience… I didn’t live in the halls and always felt like a bit of an outsider. Everyone seemed to know everyone and then there was me. I am now in my last year and don’t think I’ll miss it much! 🙂

    Julia x


    • September 27, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      I never lived in halls either, I was too attached to my mum haha. Never feel like an outsider though, there are many people that don’t live at halls and it doesn’t make your university experience any less! x

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Thank you!

  10. September 17, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    I went straight from high school to working full time, so I never got the college experience. I often feel like I missed out on a good experience. My parents and myself could never afford the going-away-to-college thing, so if I had gone, it would have just been to community college. But of course I hate sharing my space, so maybe I would have hated dorm living anyway.

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      Some people go on to further education, others go straight into work so congrats on going straight into full-time work. University is free in Scotland, so if it wasn’t free I would have never gotten to go to university, so I’m thankful for that opportunity.

      • September 27, 2017 / 10:58 pm

        That’s amazing! It’s terribly expensive here, which is the main reason I did not go.

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read it! xx

  11. September 18, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    I agree! I didn’t exactly embrace all those principles, and maybe that’s why it took me longer than usual to finish… But I learned pretty much all of this too! And more particularly that last point! My parents are overachievers to say the very least, and they’d been inadvertently setting a bar so high I never thought I could reach it. In university, I realized that I could handle this, and strive to reach it. But one more thing I learned afterwards, however (and that’s maybe more personal than a general trend, but it was an important part of my own learning process on this point) is how much pressure I was feeling to reach the same bar. Only a few years ago did I realize I didn’t need to aim for the same one, I just needed to find my own objective and reach that. And that has made a hell of a difference to me, in my confidence about pretty much everything I do.

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this, what a great comment and I’m glad you’ve realised what you did. Set your own goals and aim for those, and if you end up reaching higher than those then well done and if you don’t then well done still, the main thing is that you try your best 🙂

  12. helenevlacho
    September 18, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    University will always hold some of the best year in our lives. Having that in mind, we should cherish every single day!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Very true!

  13. September 19, 2017 / 1:59 am

    haha so true! And you don’t even need all of those years to find that out 🙂 😀

  14. September 19, 2017 / 7:23 am

    Great post! Anyone entering college could benefit from the info you provided. Like you, the library was my second home too. Still is actually 🙂

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thank you! I no longer have access to my university library because my student card expired, which sucks. I could go to any other library but that one was definitely my favourite.

  15. September 19, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    Going to university was the most awesome time of my life. I see a lot of people talk about high-school and how awesome it was (for me it was a nightmare) but university was everything I hoped for and more, and you are right especially about the long-lasting friendships: I graduated in 2001 and I am still in contact and connected with my friends that I met there. Wonderful time, enjoy it!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      I thought high school was great but then when you leave university, you realise university is a whole lot better (well I certainly did). That’s amazing, I can only hope that I keep in contact with my university friends for the rest of my life 🙂

  16. September 22, 2017 / 10:14 am

    Great post! I ended up leaving uni this year and am pursuing a different course, but the message is still the same. Enjoy uni and make the most of it. It goes by all too quickly, and the stress of it all is so worth it in the long run!

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:28 pm

      Good luck with your new course, you’ll do great!

  17. September 22, 2017 / 11:00 am

    This is some amazing advice! I’m still a student and I don’t do the “extra reading” which I probably should!

    Katie | http://aesthetix-katie.com

    • September 27, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Honestly I can’t emphasise it enough! Thanks for reading 🙂

  18. November 5, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    I’ve found this post so helpful! thank you so much! I’ve recently started uni and have just written my own blog about my initial thoughts, it would be great if you could check it out!

    • November 6, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks for reading, I’m glad you’ve found it helpful! All the best with your university journey and your studies, try your hardest, that’s all you can do and just have fun too!

  19. December 5, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    I really love your last point about being capable, I completely agree!! University really made me feel like I can do anything 🙂

    • Holly
      December 5, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Me too, I try and apply that to everything in life now, if I’m nervous or worried I’m like “come on Holly you done uni and you done amazing” x

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