Friday, 28 February 2014

The Perks & Struggles Of University Life

Every now and then I like to pop up with a different kind of post, this is one them.

As most of you will know, I'm an undergraduate student. I moved away from my home in Birmingham in September to live in Nottingham. I always knew I wanted to go to university and didn't really see is as much of a choice, more an expectation. University life can look very appealing; boozy nights out, funding, your own flat, meeting people from across the country and a degree that will enable you to enter a financially rewarding career at the end of it. However there are a lot of things about university that you won't figure out until you get here. I expected things to run a lot more smoothly than they did for me. So if you're undecided whether it's for you or not, consider these points...

  • You live off very little money, and I mean very little. My student loan didn't even cover my accommodation and therefore I rely on handouts from my parents. Even with this help I still managed to use my entire overdraft in my first semester. Make sure you have some decent savings/very generous parents if this is the case for you.
  • Don't move away to university with the mind set that a job will be here for you, it most likely won't. Unless you already have a part time job at home with a company who are willing to transfer you to a store in your new town, it's literally mission impossible trying to find a job among thousands of other students during a recession.
  • You'll have to adapt to live without things that you didn't even consider a luxury before. The odd coffee here and a pack of biscuits there soon adds up. I haven't brought one bag of crisps or a pack of chocolate bars, sigh.
  • Most people opt to live in halls, although it seems dandy at first you will more than likely not get on with everyone you live with. A bunch of strangers people, with different interests and different personalities being thrown under the same roof can lead to some messy business.
  • Trying to find the right balance between study and fun is the most difficult task you will endure, I've spent most my first year in bed recovering from nights out and will soon live it to regret when my exams come around.
  • If you thought your motivate to study sucked at college, it reaches a whole new level at university, there's no one to nag you about anything whatsoever, you are entirely in control of your success.

However there are some amazing things about going to university too, it's not all doom and gloom.

  • The boozy nights out are ridiculously good, alcohol will soon become part of your daily beverages even if like me, you didn't even drink before you came to university.
  • You get to live alone; freedom to choice of food in the fridge, what's on TV, how long you wait until you decide to get dressed that day, your own bedtimes and going wherever you want whenever you want.
  • You meet some amazing people who will more than likely become friends for life.
  • You learn invaluable life skills that you wouldn't learn at a young age otheriwse such as cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking etc (although some of us learnt beforehand...)
  • There is ALWAYS an opportunity to go out any day of the week and almost always people around you to accompany you on said messy nights out.
  • If you move away for university, you get the experience living in a different place.
  • You end up with a degree which widens your branches into the type of careers you can enter as well as getting to graduate (who doesn't want to throw their hat in the air after all?)

University is a huge decision and I cannot stress enough how it should be solely your decision to make, so don't be pressured by expectations as it is a massive physical, mental and financial investment to make and if you decide it's not for you once you get there, it's a massive loss and rather distressing. Seek as much guidance as you can and do your research beforehand. Although this was brief, I hope it gave you more insight into the reality of being a student. I quite enjoy writing this kind of posts so if you have any questions or any request for further posts please let me know below :)

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