What university has taught me

2019 marks my fourth year of university. I graduated high school and then went straight into studying my history degree after summer break. It’s been a long road of ups and downs, hundreds of cups of tea and coffee, and many tears. But I know it’ll be worth it when I graduate next year, and I am beyond excited! I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned and some of my experiences along the way.

Thinking back to my first semester of uni in 2016, there’s so much I would tell my younger self about starting my degree. I’ve put the following list together to help you – whether you’re starting college or university, or anxious about the new year – to take studying by storm.
1. Work at your own pace, but plan out the month. A daily or weekly planner is essential for uni as you can see what assignments and other due dates are coming up. It means you can start projects or essays earlier and start gathering material when there’s a lull in coursework.
2. Study what you want to study. It sounds simple, but myself and so many others have made the mistake of studying something just because they think they should. I had to drop my creative writing major for a different major*, and chose politics. It was boring, I wasn’t happy with my tutors, and I ended up dropping it after completing the first unit. This was a waste of money and a bad choice that I could’ve avoided. On the other hand, it was a learning experience, which is what uni is all about.
* I had to change majors because I could no longer continue my creative writing studies online.
3. Wear what’s comfortable and what you feel good wearing. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people think. I wasted far too much time anxiously gazing into my wardrobe, thinking that my clothes weren’t good enough. Some people like to dress up for uni, but most people turn up in jeans or tracksuit bottoms. It’s fine – just do you.
4. One myth I’d like to crush is the whole ‘arts students aren’t going to get jobs’ thing, because even though it’s mostly said as a joke, it is discouraging to full-time students studying arts subjects. Even if it takes a few jobs to get to your dream job, you will still be able to get the job you’ve worked for.
5. Group work is tough, and often people don’t cooperate. Don’t feel like you need to take on all the work. Other people’s marks are up to them, and there’s no point stressing to get work done for somebody else; that’s their responsibility. Just make sure you are having a good time and doing what’s best for you.

In my post Learning a language and sticking with it (read it here), I wrote about my experience learning German and my trip to Berlin. Going to Germany to study was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I never would have been offered the chance if I hadn’t gone to uni. My only regret is not continuing my language studies. Please stick with a language if you’ve studied it for a while and are thinking of giving up if it’s too difficult.

Thanks for reading! I’m hoping to post more about my studies as the year progresses. What are you studying, or are you considering studying this year?
S x

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