The Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

Starting university can normally lead to one of three things: excitement; fear; or a bit of both. For me, it was definitely the third. I had no idea what to expect on this new journey, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t the most confident person. You almost want to watch a trailer of your university experience to see what you can expect, but as that’s not possible, I’m rounding up just a few of the things I wish I knew before starting university, based off of my own experience.

You’ll grow more than you ever thought you would

I only really noticed this within the last year and a half of my university experience, but it was really the case for me that I changed quite a lot. Although some scenarios still see me become a little shyer potentially than others in the room, my confidence has grown tremendously, which I didn’t really expect to happen. I was (and still am, to some extent) a person that doesn’t express myself fully until you get to know me, but just making that move to get to know people in the beginning really helped. I also put myself out there a little more in different ways, and done things I’d never done before, which really just made me feel a lot better about myself than I ever did. University had quite a positive experience on me, and I can only hope that it does the same for you.

(For all of you that are a bit shy like I was at the beginning, please put yourself out there! You could potentially meet some of the best people, or people that will shape you as a person. Try out that new activity, go to that event, introduce yourself to the person next to you – it may be one of those moments you look back on fondly, and if it’s not, you’ll probably never see that person again because university is MUCH bigger than college and sixth form).

It’s all about balance

I don’t think I made enough time for the social side of university, which probably sounds like a surprise, but I also know from friends that spent too much time on the social side that it’s not entirely beneficial. When I wished that I spent more time going out, I also realised that it’s all about that work/social-life balance: make time for everything, realise what’s smart for you to do at the time (and sometimes you’ll make the wrong decision), and realise it’s okay to say no sometimes!

Don’t listen to everyone else

I can’t stress this enough: unless someone done the exact same course as you at the exact same university, don’t listen to their experiences of how much work you’re going to have to do/what you need to do to get a certain grade! I heard so many things about second year during a degree, but honestly none of them matched up to my own personal experience, so the advice I would give is always prepare yourself, but don’t take everything everyone tells you word for word – everyone’s experience is different.

The more you put in, the more you’ll get out

Pretty self-explanatory really: if you really want to achieve a certain grade at university, you work for it. If you don’t ask for help, you won’t get it. If you want to make the most out of university, put in the effort for it.

There are big things to come

Ending my undergraduate degree made me realise that even though this is the end of a chapter, I’ve still got so much to go! There’s a whole world waiting for you out there, so don’t lean into that common post-university assumption that you go straight into a low-level job at a company you may really like to build experience and go up in the ranks, because the truth is, you could end up doing that, or something completely different – your post-university experience can be whatever you choose it to be.

I would love to know your feelings towards starting university, or if you’re a post-grad, if you related to any of these (if not, have a little laugh about these, and then share your own experiences). If you didn’t go to university, what did you learn from the route you took? Drop them in the comments, or on my Instagram.

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