I know that I haven’t posted in a while, but here I am with the second part to my university experience series. Many of you may be already back at university now, or just starting off, or simply reminiscing on the good old days – in which case, I can relate. Whatever you may be currently doing, I hope you enjoy reading about my university experiences – I will discuss dealing with workload, lectures, student life, flatmates and my graduation. Enjoy!
In part one I left you all with my moving in day experience. I focused on this for part one because it really was an important day for me, and the beginning of an amazing three years that I will never forget. University, as some may say, is the time when many young adults, or at least in my case, move away from home for the first time. This allows for complete independence. For me, university was the stepping stone needed in order to learn about myself and who I was outside of my family home. I felt free and able to be who I wanted. Yes, I was very nervous, but also very excited to be able to live away as an adult – although, let’s face it, university does not completely prepare you for adult life, it is a mere gateway into it.
Anyway, throughout my first and second years, university allowed me to learn in a way that was different to school and college. We were expected to research everything on our own and become self-starting. We had to find books in the library and online to support our own arguments, rather than using what the tutor had given us. This may sound very daunting, but really, it was amazing. I was able to focus my assignments on what I wanted, while also using my own independent research. Yes, it was difficult, but I enjoyed this new way of learning. Sometimes, being told what to use or discuss in essays did not help me in school. I much preferred to learn by doing it myself.
Life in halls and living with my new friends
Living away from home had its ups and downs. It was better living away in a new city than at home, yes. However, living with other people can be and was challenging at times – especially when your housemates have different ideas of what “clean” is. Countless rotas made for taking out the bins, to-do lists on the fridge, rotas for doing housework and buying supplies, all failed miserably. When people fail to clean up after themselves, it can begin to get tiring and very frustrating. However, the best thing about uni is that we all have our own bedrooms to go back to when everything can get a little much. And I certainly loved to know that it was always kept clean, no matter how untidy the kitchen got. Now, I’m no Monica, but I do enjoy a little cleanliness and tidiness now and again- is it really too much to ask?!
The good thing about living with your new uni friends however, is the countless “we should really be in the library but we are having a cosy movie night” nights, and the cold “2:00 am flat trips to the library, because you spent all evening watching a film” nights, as well as the “this is way more exciting than it should be” trips to the nearby supermarket to get food and cleaning supplies. Your flatmates really do become your second family while at university, and I miss every minute of it.
Lectures and workload
While I was at university, I did worry about the workload. I was a little scared that I would easily fall behind on the large amount of assignments that I had due in. This quickly became something that I was no longer worried about. I was an organised person anyway, and still am, so I never wanted to leave everything too late. Even when the work piled up and deadlines approached, all I had to do was give myself enough time every day to do my work. If I stuck to it, then everything was fine.
If you’re struggling with deadlines and workload, my advice would be to make sure that you give yourself enough time every day – morning or evening – to finish your work. Make sure that you also schedule time in for a break. This could man giving yourself time to watch some Netflix, or time to just relax. This way, you can give yourself a treat for every hour or two that you do work. It worked for me and when I spent hours and hours in the library with no distractions, it meant that I could go home guilt-free knowing that I was able to do whatever I wanted. Trust me, start your work early and you will thank yourself. Another tip, find where you work the best. This could be in your room, in a coffee shop, or in the library.
The third and final year of an undergraduate degree must be the strangest year of them all. You are finishing off all of your hard work, completing a degree, and becoming a real adult – almost. It must be amazing, right? Wrong. No matter what anyone says, stepping into university in the September of your final year at university has to be up there with one of the worst feelings ever. It’s like leaving high school all over again. It “all counts now”, you have to actually do your best work, no messing around, this. is. it. Unless of course, you’re one of the smug ones doing a Master’s. Yes, we are all jealous. No more freshers weeks. You of course try to relive freshers again, but it isn’t the same no matter how much you pretend. Growing up and becoming an adult is not fun at all.
Exciting times ahead, yes, getting that career and becoming who you really want to be is all very exciting. That’s what we all go to university for, right? Yes, all very true – but there is something very bitter-sweet about your final year at university. Everything you do becomes a “last time doing this” or a “I will miss this”. Who knew you could miss the library when leaving university? It happens. Now that I have graduated, I really do miss those strange sleeping patterns produced by late-nights in the library and random weekday nights out. Alas, university does not last and it isn’t really what real life is like, sadly.
This was the most exciting and proud day of my life. I had just completed three years of my degree and I was ready for my next stage in life. I had never thought this day would come. Honestly, I never thought university would end. It wasn’t all tears, though. When I arrived I began to see my fellow classmates, the ones I had met at the beginning of the three years and spent each lecture with. We were all graduating and moving onto the next chapter. I collected my gown, had a glass of sparking wine, took plenty of photos, and proceeded to my graduation ceremony. In the ceremony, each row was called out to the front for their names to be called out – we had to walk across a stage and shake the hands of some important people, and then sit back in our seats. Three years, all over in the blink of an eye. If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone starting university, it is to enjoy every minute of it. Go out when all you want to do is relax, enjoy the independence, work hard and get along with everyone no matter how annoying they may be. You will miss being there when you’re in the car or on the train home after moving out all of your belongings for the last time. It may be hard at times, but trust me, you will miss it when you are back home and back to real life.