I have been at University for 4/5 months now and these are the things that I have come to realise. I wanted to do a reflection of the things I have discovered and learnt. I have split the post up into two parts as there were quite a few things that I wanted to mention; I could have listed at least ten more, but I thought this way enough!
Uni is very different to school
No one is going to chase you to do the set work or your attendance. There is so much more responsibility than I thought. Tutors expect the work to be done and don’t ever check-in with you. Feedback is not very regular at all so the work is really up to your own interpretation which is the part I have found most challenging. We are very much left to our own devices and I have discovered that academically, it’s up to you how much time and effort you put in.
Work experience is extremely helpful
Although I’m only in my first year, I now realise the importance of gaining experience; few employers will hire you based on your degree alone. I am starting to look at getting myself some relevant industry work experience and also getting involved in extracurricular activities before I graduate in a couple of years. I hope that my School Rep role and Student Ambassador job, as well as any work experience I manage to get will massively help me get my CV close to the top of the pile. Another reason I would like to try and gain a couple of placements is because I am hoping that this will help me make my career choice as presently I’m not sure exactly what direction I want to go in. I think it would be good to have a taster in a few different industries and roles to see what I enjoy (and what I don’t).
Life plans are great motivators
I have always been a planner and am always looking ahead. I like to have an idea of what I’m aiming to achieve in the near future and this is always a great motivator for me. It gives me the extra push I need when I’m fed up of uni work; knowing that if I do it to the highest standard I personally can, I’m potentially more likely to achieve what I desire. When I come to graduate, I hope that these plans will make me feel less anxious as I might have a better idea of the road I want to travel down. I just need to keep reminding myself that life goals can change all the time and this is okay! My idea may grow and change just as I do over the years.
Eating the same meals over and over again
This is a big one for me and one that I get very fed up with! I hate having the same things all the time, but when I’m studying and am really busy, this is just the easiest thing for me to do. It’s not that I can’t cook a variety of things, it’s just that I would rather get my work done than make something new each day. I tend to batch make meals so I have dinners in the fridge for 2/3 days after. Although this may be cheaper, and what I make is also healthy, it does get repetitive after a while and I feel myself eating because I have to, rather than because I am enjoying what I’m consuming. This is why I love going home; I can cook in a clean kitchen with my mum’s company.
The student loan is never enough
In an ideal world, my student loan would cover everything including food, meals out with friends, accommodation, books and art supplies. However, my reality is that my maintenance loan doesn’t even cover my rent. If it wasn’t for my parents help, I wouldn’t even have enough for a food shop each week, so I am very grateful for this! This is where budgeting comes in: having an idea of how much you can spend each week is a good start. I also got a small Student Ambassador job to give me a few extra pennies each month.