Saturday, 22 July 2017

Life Lessons I Learnt At University


After 3 years of all-nighters in the library, bluffing my way through seminars, and a diet wholly consisting of Lidl bakery goodies, I can officially say that I have a BA in English Literature! I would like to thank my friends, my family, and - most importantly - Wikipedia for its constant support throughout my studies.


To mark the occasion, I wanted to compile a list of things that I learnt during my time at uni other than all the boring, educational stuff.

A sidesway step isn't a backwards step
This is pretty much my dad's mantra but my time at uni really proved the truth in this statement. I originally started my degree intending to do joint honours in English Literature and German with high hopes of going into literary translation. After a year, I dropped the German component to focus solely on English Literature. As much as I love German and especially translation, I struggled to split my time between two fairly different subjects. I have come to realise that despite not getting a degree in German, I really improved in the one year that I did study it and there's a wealth of opportunities to return to studying German (I am hoping to gain the Goethe qualification soon). Altering your path doesn't equate to giving up on your dreams. It may take you longer to get there but as long as you stay focused, nothing can stop you succeeding.  

What you do your degree in doesn't have to be what you do for the rest of your life
 There are so many opportunities out there if you have a degree (and, of course, if you don't!). Graduate schemes often take graduates of any subject onto their training courses and you could end up doing anything from sales to paralegal. My English teacher at college became an accountant after she graduated. My friend, who is currently doing a theology degree, is intending to go into studying medicine. Choosing a degree subject always feels quite final but these years are an opportunity to grow and understand better where your passions lie.


Life is expensive
I think university is the time that everyone comes to realise just how expensive it is just to stay alive. Student finance barely covers rent and leaves you in a situation where you're considering whether selling a kidney on the black market will cover the cost of textbooks. I don't even want to go into the cost of printing and how I had to pay £45 just to hire my graduation robes.

There's better things to come
At the start of my second year of university, I went through something unthinkable. For almost that whole year, I was a complete mess and ended up in counselling. I failed several modules and it put a huge strain on my relationship with my husband (who was then my boyfriend). If someone told me then that I would graduate and end up being this happy, I wouldn't have believed them. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and, if you keep trying to push forward, one day you will look back and feel proud of how far you have come.

Nights in are the absolute best
Nights out are good but I prefer activities that involve wearing PJs, eating takeaway pizza, and having a gossip with friends. I'd go as far as saying nights in top nights out. Or maybe I am just getting old. 


Asking for help doesn't make you weak
What we, as a society, believe makes someone 'strong' is problematic. Bottling up emotions doesn't make you a strong person. Asking for help when you are struggling doesn't make you weak. A strong person has bad days but gets up the next day and tries to make it better than the last. It takes strength to tell people that you need their help. Your loved ones are there to help and support you. Trust me, it helps to talk about things. It helps to have people around you who know what is going on. Whether it is emotional support, something you didn't understand in class, finance, boy troubles, or whatever else, talking to someone will help and it won't make them think less of you.

Lebanese food is the champion of all takeaways
OK, there is strong competition in the forms of curry and Chinese but nothing beats Lebanese food. The sheer amount of food you get for so little is amazing. I always get a lamb kofte with rice, salad, naan bread, and garlic dip. I pretty much lived off of this whilst at uni (which may explain my lack of funds). Also fattoush salad anyone? Yum.

Hospitality and retail workers aren't given enough credit
Whilst at uni, I worked in multiple part time jobs. These ranged from being an early morning cleaner to working night shifts in a fried chicken shop. These jobs taught me that workers in retail, hospitality, and housekeeping really don't get much respect. I mean, I have seen people throw food at one of my previous managers on several occasions just because he wouldn't change store rules for them. Also drunk people are the absolute worst.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I'd love to hear the best life lessons you have learnt in the last few years. Also my email and Twitter DMs are always open if anyone needs a chat.
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3 comments

  1. As someone who has just finished first year I loved reading this!!

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  3. This was such a great read! I especially love the mantra 'a sideways step isn't a backward step' - I am really feeling that after finishing first year. I had hopes that second year would mean studying abroad but as it happens I just can't gather up the money to do it, but I suppose that's okay and it means I can study harder at home. Also, uni is SO expensive! I thought all students felt the pinch but looking around at my friends spending their summers travelling and holidaying and then me - spending every day job hunting and crying over my bank account. On a brighter note, I also discovered Lebanese food and my life has forever changed because of it. I love that you're honest about your ups and downs and tbh this post has made me even more excited to graduate in a couple of years as you've had a much more relatable experience to mine, and you've still come out happy at the end of it. Good luck for the next steps!

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