What University Taught Me About 'Adulting'
It’s coming up to summer which means a lot of people will be stepping into a new transitional stage of their lives. Whether you’re leaving high school to start college or like myself, graduating University something big is happening for a lot of people.
I am extremely sentimental, I love looking back on events of my life big or small and remembering all the positives and negatives. As mentioned in my previous article getting to Uni was a long term goal for myself, it was set in stone that it MUST happen and now its all over its time to reflect. I’ve thrown together a few ‘life lessons’ that I’ve learnt over the last 3 academic years from the silly to the very important. There will be things I’ve overlooked from this list but at this moment in time, these seem the most important to share and remember.
1. Please don't live off takeaway, just learn to cook some meals.
Starting off pretty light and easy with the tips your parents will probably tell you before you move out and continue to tell you over the course of your degree. Learn to cook. Don’t get me wrong I still have more regular takeaways than I would if I lived at home BUT for the most part I’ve learn to cook a few meals. Especially in your first year of Uni, you’ll be bombarded with flyers and vouchers for 50% Dominos or some crazy 2-4-1 deal at the local kebab shop. Partnered up with the numerous nights out and hangovers you’ll experience this might seem like a wise idea, why cook when someone can bring a fat greasy takeaway to your front door while you veg out? Well ladies and gentlemen I shamefully put my hand up and admit that after my first year, I gained 2 stone. Thats right, twenty eight pounds of fat. Two years later and I’ve managed to lose 14 pounds of that, but once you get into the habit, especially if your will power is zero like mine, it is hard to shift.
2. Attend that shitty seminar whether you like your tutor or not, it will help.
In my second and final year I had one module that caused me a whole lot of problems. Those who have done my course will know exactly what I’m talking about right now, but because I didn’t enjoy it I skipped a whole lot of associated seminars. The lectures covered a lot of unrelated areas in the module and the lecturers themselves weren't the best at explaining things. Confusing lectures + not the best teachers = me not attending your seminar which the first couple of times is reasonable, we all do it but I also got my WORST scores in that module. Luckily it didn't have a detrimental affect on my overall grade as I’m going to be graduating with a 2:1 honours degree but, part of me thinks if I persisted I could’ve done better in that module.
3. Don’t always cling to the people you make friends with in Fresher’s Week.
At University it is said that you meet your lifelong friends and if you’re lucky enough your husband/wife but what they don't say is how many people will drop off the radar real fast OR will treat you like shit. In the first couple weeks you will meet loads of people from all different backgrounds, faiths, minorities the whole works. You might even meet your best friend in the first week, but give it a couple years and they might prove themselves to not be the person you thought they were. I am lucky to say I’ve met some people that I know will be my close friends for many years to come, but it also didn’t happen overnight either. So just keep your cards to your chest, enjoy yourself but as my Grandad always says ‘pay attention for the first year to what people are like, how they act and how they speak about others’.. or at least he said something to that affect.
4. Understand the difference between lust and love.
This is a very similar principle to the previous point about knowing who your friends really are. As you can imagine meeting loads of people, heavy drinking, social events and hormones can result in a variety of different scenarios between young people. I started University single, but I know a few people who had partners but then Fresher’s Week and the sudden freedom hit and well their relationships didn’t last. Not to say this always happens as three of my best friends are still happily in relationships with their partners from before University, but lust is a powerful thing to resist. During my time as a student I’ve fallen in love twice, both were very different experiences but I’ve also had more run ins with lust than I have love so it is important to differentiate the two. An unnecessarily broken heart during any part of your life, nevermind something as important as your degree isn’t worth the hassle.
5. Grab every opportunity by the balls.
The sheer amount of different opportunities I’ve had while a student are absolutely unreal, I’ve met so many people from the television industry that I’ve now got a steady number of contacts for future projects. Even smaller opportunities like going along to an open mic night can leave you very happily surprised. The sky is honestly the limit during these precious years so take everything as it comes with open arms, there are definitely opportunities that I missed and still think about. The closer you get to graduation as well, the more these chances could really develop and play into your hands for the greater good in the adult world.
6. Pay attention to your physical, mental and sexual health.
It is really refreshing to see the younger generation to be brought up with such a focus on their own physical, mental and sexual health but without frequent reminders it is easy to just ignore whatever is going on. With your years at University being so crucial it is key to stay on top of all elements when it comes to health. In my first year after Fresher’s and a few more weeks of binge drinking, late nights and kissing a lot of people I got suspected scarlet fever. I say suspected because I was basically told by the doctor I had to nastiest throat infection he had seen and if I’d left it a couple more days, I would’ve been hooked up to an IV drip in a hospital bed. You are bound to get run down, especially in the first few weeks without mum, dad or gran looking after you, the recovery process can take longer. Your mental and sexual health is equally as important to stay sane and stress free. Down to the levels of stress and high expectations students are one of the worst suffers for mental illness (anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc) and most likely to contract some form of sexually transmitted infection or disease. No matter what you are struggling with, there is a stupidly high chance that somebody else has already or is currently going through it too and the best way to fix it is to see a doctor or talk it out. My University were particularly good when it came to mental and sexual health awareness, plus I’m sure the last thing on your bucket list was to contract chlamydia from a one night stand eh?
Those are some key things that I’ve learnt and found rather crucial over the last 3 years as a student. Like I said earlier there are many other things that I know I’ve found useful, but these are the top ones that come to mind. No matter what you decide to do or don't while studying, there are many forums online to hep you have a smooth university experience as well as your family. You might’ve moved away from them but I can guarantee your mum will want all the details on your weekly catch up phone calls, whether you like it or not.