Does anyone else see September as some form of fresh start? Even now I have this urge to buy a whole new wardrobe and stock up on some fancy pens. In other ways education feels like an age ago, it was only when my mum reminded me earlier this week that this time 5 years ago I got accepted into University that I even realised it was that time of year again. University is the unknown, I had so many expectations of what my time would be like, and what my life would be like once I graduated – really, nothing was exactly how I expected, so I thought I would share my honest thoughts on university 2 years on.
Before packing up my bedroom and heading off to halls I had this vision of finishing uni and going straight into a well paid job where I would work through the ranks. No one in my family (apart from my brother who was still in uni at the time) had been before, so I just didn’t know what to expect. As the years went on I realised that I didn’t actually want to go into a professional role relating to psychology *shit*. Luckily I managed to get a job I loved after uni, but it’s a scary prospect to not know what you want to do when there’s so many people around you with a plan (or atleast it feels like they have a plan at the time)
I loved studying Psychology and I don’t regret it one bit, but when I was 17 and deciding on what the hell to do with my life I don’t think I really knew at all. It was never mentioned what I would do after uni, the only thing everyone seemed to be focussed on at the time was getting there. Looking back it would have been wise to have a gap year, a year to really think about what direction I want to take my life rather than just going with the flow and not taking any kind of break at all. Not a shocker, but uni is intense so I think a year out would have been a blessing for me.
Quite a few people mentioned how valuable having experience was alongside a degree, and they were so right. I’ve had two jobs since graduating and both of those I wouldn’t have got without having relevant experience. There are so many summer internships, work experience and student opportunities that help to build amazing connections and get a feel for careers to go into. I think without any experience, as a graduate it’s probably daunting and really scary to just walk into a work place. I really wish I had that option to do a 4 year course and have a placement year, it would have been an amazing way to meet new people and gain even more skills that would be useful to me now – hindsight eh!
I never thought I would say it, but I really miss lectures – excluding those uncomfortable wooden benches. Studying Psychology helped me learn so much about myself and other people, no I can’t read your mind as a lot of people like to ask, but I feel like I understand people a little better. I do feel like I really did learn skills for life whilst I was there. I guess you can’t ever regret learning something new. As much as uni is exciting with getting to move out, meet new people and grow up a little one of the things I enjoyed most was learning more (yep, I’m an absolute geek)
The social side…
Another thing I didn’t expect to happen, but I don’t speak to anyone I went to University with anymore. I found the social side of uni a tough one to balance, I met a couple of people I got on so well with, but in the end we just didn’t have the same interests – and that’s just life! Partly my fault because I couldn’t really be bothered to join a social, and by the 3rd year I couldn’t think of anything worse than getting stupidly drunk every week (I did enough of that in my 1st year) But still, I did meet people who made the experience a good one at the time, I guess we just drifted and that’s ok too. I’ve stayed really close with the friends I made in primary school and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
I thought I would make friends for life, but I didn’t for so many reasons. I definitely could have done more, if you want to make university a place you meet friends for life then that can happen through getting a job, joining some sort of social group (there’s loads) or even speaking to new people in your lectures… Or if you are moving away to live near your uni you may get lucky and be housed with people you click with straight away!
Everyone’s experience at uni is different, and there is definitely a chance to make it the most amazing years of your life, but for me it just wasn’t all it cracked up to be… You know? I hope some of you can relate to this or find it useful. If you’ve been to uni, how did you find it?
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