5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting University

This week was my final week of lectures in uni…forever. It’s mad to think I’ve done 3 years and am so close to obtaining my degree in English Literature & Media Studies. I’ve already done a ’10 things I learnt as a university fresher’ post, and you can read that here. Although it doesn’t seem like it’s been 3 years, I can definitely say I am a different person now than when I started, so I though I would list 5 things I wish someone had told me before I started uni.

1.   It actually is a lot of work. So when I started I was petrified of the workload, but I didn’t really know what to expect. 1st year was ok for me, I didn’t get brilliant marks but I was getting higher marks than I did in college – which was weird. 2nd year the work seemed to be harder, but I’d changed my course so I found I was enjoying it so much more! That being said, university actually is a lot of work, but if it’s a subject you’re passionate on, it is possible to enjoy it. If someone had told me I would be spending on average 3 hours a day in the library I wouldn’t have believed you…

2.    Reading. Copious amounts of reading. Sort of follows on from the last point, but you think I would have realised there’s a lot of reading involved in an English degree…. I did, but I wasn’t prepared for the book a week… for each module… and you have 3 modules a semester… so 10 weeks, times the 3 modules… yeah, 30 books a semester sounds a lot doesn’t it? It is. Now, I’m a super slow reader, so I’ve never actually been able to do the book a week thing, so I kinda just winged it. But I literally only found out 4 days ago, that one of my course mates had been listening to audiobooks for the past 3 years. Needless to say, I’ve read two books in those 4 days for my upcoming final assignments. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but I would highly recommend Audible! (ps. your first book is free and if you ‘return’ it when you’re finished, you get your free book credit back to get another one free!)

3.    Just because you’re doing a degree, doesn’t mean you have any idea what to do with your life. Can you tell I’m very near to a graduate break down? But in all seriousness, I definitely went into uni thinking after 3 years, I’d know what I wanted to do and go straight into a job when I finished. Wrong.  I mean, my final assignments are due on the 16th May and I’m literally leaving the country for 3 months on the 30th… if that doesn’t sound like running as far away from adulthood as possible I don’t know what does. But no, I mean I have to give it to my lecturers, one in particular, they have really helped me with finding what I enjoy most, but that doesn’t mean I have any plans to start that career anytime soon. Which leads me on to point 4.

4.    The only pressure on you, is what you put on yourself. Ok, apart from the obvious assignment deadlines and exams, the only pressure put on you to have any clue what you’re doing comes from you. I’ve asked pretty much everyone of my course mates, in both media and english, and I’d say a solid 90% of them have no idea what they’re doing come September. I really did think that uni was the thing you did when you knew you wanted a career, but you’re not really sure what it (which I still think is true) but if you’re going to uni hoping to come out straight into a job- good luck, it doesn’t happen often. I did some research on this (partly for your benefit, partly to make myself feel better) and in 2014, only 25% of graduates when straight into employment, which in the grand scheme of things really isn’t a lot.

5.    It isn’t exactly how you see it on TV.  Ok so most movies centred around universities tend to be American, and let me just say, British uni’s are very different. There always seems to be a real community feel in those movies and I think that’s what I was expecting. Crazy cool parties, everyone candidly laughing and chill days on the lawn reading books with my friends. When in reality, house parties aren’t a thing anymore, no one ever gets up until 2pm and everyone is full of teen-angst and avoids sunlight. Maybe if Hollywood makes a vampire uni movie then it will be more relatable.

All this being said, I’ve enjoyed my 3 years. I just wish I’d known how quick it would go before I started so that I could make the most of every single day. I’ll be doing a full review of my 3 years once I hand these assignments in and can finally, officially say I’ve finished university. I hope you liked this post, and if you think of any other things you wish you’d known before starting uni, leave them as a comment or tweet me @SweetlyShan.

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