Hello and welcome back!
This month I wanted to write about university. I graduated last summer, and since starting this fake adult life, I’ve been thinking back to my time at university, and how it went by so bloody quickly! I’ve also got a sister starting uni at the end of the year and thought it might be helpful for her and anyone reading this blog who might still be considering if uni is for them, to hear about some of my experiences to help you make up your mind. Even if you have been to uni and you’re reading this, it might be a nice trip down memory lane for you!
Throughout high school I always knew I wanted to go to uni. Not just because it was the main option promoted to us, but because I really liked the idea of being truly independent and getting the chance to start afresh and ‘find myself’ as the cliché goes. During sixth form I was very much coming to terms with accepting certain parts of myself, such as my sexuality, and I was excited to find people I could relate to and talk to about it, therefore I certainly checked to see if my university had an LGBTQ+ society before I went. So, if uni is something you’re considering here’s why I would advise you take the leap and do it:
- You really do meet people who are like you. Of course you meet people you get on with and befriend at school, but I never really knew anyone from the LGBTQ+ community. Personally, I felt school was unfortunately a very homophobic environment, and I didn’t really know anyone openly ‘out.’ Even I didn’t come out to anyone until my final year of sixth form. Uni is a place where you can meet other people like yourself, and I’m not saying it’s a magical place where homophobia doesn’t exist, because sadly that just isn’t true, but you meet people who get you, and that makes you feel a little bit less alone in who you are.
- You learn how to be independent. I lived in self-catered accommodation, so I learnt how to do everything for myself: wash my own clothes, travel logistics, how to manage money, cook my own dinner. You learn to be proud of achieving all these things; it’s a great feeling knowing you don’t have to rely on your parents for everything, and that you’re actually perfectly okay on your own. This is why I would also recommend living on campus rather than at home if you go to a uni nearby. You have the opportunity to learn all these key life skills, as well as get to know people properly and make new friends. Personally I feel like you can’t properly get to know and be close to others if you’re not around to grow and make memories with them.
- There’s still hard work to be done, but I personally think the work was far tougher at A-Level. During my A-Levels there was the constant worry and pressure about getting into uni. Once you’re there you don’t have that worry! There are of course still essays, exams and the dreaded final year dissertation, but the difference is that you’ve picked the academic subject(s) you really enjoy, and there’s a lot more flexibility in what kind of work you have to do. Plus you get a degree at the end of it all, and that sets you up nicely for the working world. Employers definitely still regard a degree very highly; trust me, I’ve applied for enough jobs!
- You make some of your best memories. Uni is a roller coaster of experiences and emotions. You’ll feel extreme happiness, upset, anger, love and heartbreak, but these experiences all help you grow as a person and give you a few good stories to tell when you come back home for the holidays (did I mention you also get ridiculously long holidays?). I think one of the funniest memories I have from my time at uni is the one most of my friends would also tell you: The Sieve Incident. I was making dinner in the kitchen one evening in my first year, and I was boiling some broccoli. Now, when I’d finished boiling said broccoli, my intention was to sieve the water out of the pan into the kitchen sink like anyone would. However, instead of bringing the pan over to the sink, for some reason I decided to bring the sieve over to the hob and sieve the water all over the hob and the floor! What made that moment even better was that all my flat mates just happened to be in the kitchen to see the disaster unfold! I still have no idea what I was thinking, but I was lucky that I didn’t burn myself! Memories such as this one is what makes uni such a great experience, sure it was a bit embarrassing at the time but it’s something you can have a laugh about later.
- You get to try new things. That new thing could be anything from trying out a crazy new hairstyle, finding a new hobby or even getting drunk for the first time. Uni gives you the freedom to reinvent yourself. There are countless societies from everything you can think of: feminism, Harry Potter, hiking, there’s an interest for everyone. You can totally reinvent yourself; at school everyone would wear the same uniform, or the same designer brands to fit in, but at uni all of that uniformity fades away. You can wear whatever you want, and everyone is allowed to be individual. As for alcohol, drinking isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally okay, but some of my favourite memories are getting drunk and going out dancing with my friends. It’s all new and exciting, and it’s definitely worth trying if you want to.
- About those thousands of pounds of debt you have to pay off, seriously don’t worry about that. You don’t have to pay any of that off until you’re earning a certain amount, and even then it’s only a small percentage. It doesn’t really affect your life all that much, I honestly forget that I’m technically in debt most of the time, which shows how insignificant it is really.
So to conclude, I definitely think uni is something worth doing! Sure it’s a big step, I remember being extremely anxious on my first day, but you have to remember that the people in your classes and accommodation are in exactly the same boat as you. Some days are harder than others, you will occasionally get homesick, and sometimes the work is stressful and you’re having a bad mental health day, but it’s worth sticking it out for the good times. You’ll meet friends for life, and maybe even your future partner! Going to university will be an exciting new chapter in your life, and I don’t think you’ll regret it.
That’s all from me for now, but I’ll see you next month!
P.s. If like me you’ve already been to uni, what are some of your favourite memories? I’d love to read them!