Sunday, 9 June 2013

University

A different type of post from me today. I have recently just finished my university degree after 3 years (praise the lord!) and thought I would share a few things about my experience.

Firstly I would just like to say that university is not for everyone; there are plenty of avenues to take that can get you working in the industry you want to. However, I really do think university is a great option for those who either know what they want to do and need a certain degree to get there, or for those (like me) who finished high school and still had no clue what they wanted to do with there life. If I'm honest, I'm not sure if I even know now what I want to do! But university has given me (hopefully - results are in July) a qualification that could open some more doors for me and some invaluable life experience along the way. Admittedly, an undergraduate degree will not give you many of the same opportunities that having one 20/30 years ago would have done; employers look for more than just a degree now, they want to see active motivation and drive, normally in the form of being a member of university clubs and societies and/or having a part time job. 

I always knew that I would go on to university, but I severely underestimated how the experience would impact me. I had no idea how amazing life as a student, living with friends and meeting new people would be for me; but I also had no idea how draining and difficult I would find actually obtaining a degree. As someone who seemingly sailed through school life, university was a bit of a shock for me. My degree (International Relations) had on average only 8 hours of contact time (lectures and seminars) a week and the rest of the studying was completely up to me, in my own time. As motivated as I am in other aspects of my life, studying has never been an area I have really applied myself in, largely because (and I really don't mean to sound arrogant here) I never have had to. So yes, university education took some getting used to! 


Downsides of university for me were:

* Having to motivate myself to study independently

*Debt! - an unavoidable downside, but a downside just the same! 

* Feeling isolated - This was only at the very beginning! I had gone into university with the knowledge that everyone I knew who had already been to uni had made these amazing, life-long friendships. And being so eager to make mine, I lost sight that friendships like that take time and (stupidly) got myself upset in the beginning when those friendships weren't there for me as soon as I arrived on campus. After snapping myself out of it, those friendships did come along, I just needed to wait and make sure I was putting in the effort!

* Seeing other people move on - I have other friends who did not choose to go to university and took the decision to go straight into employment after high school. Although I knew I wanted to complete my degree at university; when I was having a hard time with keeping on top of my work, I often looked at those people as getting on with their lives much quicker than I was. Being stuck on an essay or assignment can easily make you look at the people already on their career path and think, 'why I am so far behind?'. But I would soon remembered that I wanted to do something different with my career or that I am still young and there is no rush to jump into a career, I DO have time to finish my degree first!


Highlights of university for me were:

* Meeting new people

* Living away from home (more independence!)

* Learning about myself - being away from my normal family dynamic and living with new people made me realise the kind of person I am - sounds weird I know, but I'm am so grateful for this point!

* Responsibility - knowing that I am capable of looking after myself - making me more confident to tackle the world as an adult.

* LONDON - I studied in London, I think most people get a real sense of attachment to the city/town of their university and I certainly did with mine. What's not to love?! Yes it's noisy, busy and all the rest of it. But it's also an intense web of culture, history and life; a place that will never have you bored! I will always love London, whether I live there or not.

Overall, I am really happy with my choice to go to university and am soo glad that I stuck to it. As I said at the beginning of the post, it is not for everyone; however, I do think it should not only be looked to as a just a means to a further academic qualification but also a real life experience. 

If you got to the end of this post, apologies for the length of it and thank you soo much for reading!

Here are some pictures of my university life:













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