Everything I needed to know about life, I learned at Uni...

So, it's that time of year where some of our young shrewsbury folk are heading out of town for university. As a former university goer myself I learned that uni' is less about what you learn in your text book, but more about what you learn about life and yourself. So, I'd like to pass on some things that, with a little help from my friends, I learned along the way.

  • Be yourself: Cliche, I know, but very true. If you move anywhere with the hope of reinventing yourself, it's pointless. You won't make true friends, as they'll like the person you want yourself to be, and sooner or later, the façade will wear off.
  • Get to know your surroundings: Familiarise yourself with your campus and town before your first day of class. The more you know, the less nervous you'll be. Also, make the most of the entertainment the students union offers-you'll find they're much nicer on the purse strings!
  • Join in! Really take the time to look into the many societies your university has to offer and if any interest you, even a little bit, go along to a meeting. This is a great outlet for meeting people of a common interest, it's fun and, (word on the street) is that it looks great on a CV as employers are generally looking for someone who has varied interest and it shows you have commitment.
  • Pick your house-mates wisely: During my first year I had my flatmates and my 'going-out' friends. I chose to live with the latter in my second year. This was a mistake as I soon realised that the reason they were my 'going-out' friends was because they spent their days in bed...recovering. I like to be up and doing something-anything during the day. I missed my flatmates and the fact that I could finish a lecture and just go sit in one of their rooms, hang out, maybe cook together. Remember, it's like the luxury of choosing a family, so take the time to work out who your real friends are and don't rush, or be pressured. If you don't want to live with some people then don't be afraid to say no. If they're friends, they won't mind and you'll keep in touch-if not, then it's lucky you said no to living with them!
  • Make the most of the mundane tasks: Yep, living away from home now means that those tasks your folks complain about now get to be yours! Fear not though, some of my best memories from university are sitting in the laundry room with a bottle of wine, magazines and friends. That's the nice thing, with the right people around you, you'll be able to make your own, inexpensive, fun.
  • Figure out what kind of learner you are: Last minute lady or slow and steady? I was last minute, leaving it down to the day before (or in one case, the day of) the deadline. This is okay though, you know what you're capable of and how much stress you an handle so don't feel pressured by how others treat deadlines. We all handle it differently, so long as you know you're working hard! Oh, and don't underestimate reading. Reading is good. Read a lot. It is set for a reason and WILL help you.
  • University doesn't guarantee a career: No, not just because of the lack of jobs available, but because you'll change so much within your time, that what you're interested in now may not be what you're interested in when you leave. I ended up leaving. During my second year, I started skipping lectures and, after one failed essay, I realised that I'd gone to uni' to study a hobby because it seemed like the next logical step, rather than have the guts to pursue my real interests. Don't get me wrong, it does happen for some. One of my closest friends came away from uni', fell into an amazing job and has been firmly on his feet ever since! Just don't be blind-sighted, allow yourself to be open to change too.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes: After a couple of pretty big set-backs on my university journey, I can comfortably say (in hindsight) that I don't regret a single one of them. Mistakes and set-backs are not irreversible and how you overcome those mistakes that will shape the person you become.

So, that would be my words of wisdom. I got similar advice before I went to uni'. I didn't follow any of it and through it all managed to have the best time! So, in the wonderful words of The Tams...”Be young, be foolish, but be happy.”
Good luck! :)

 

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Kerri Jones Kerri Jones
Freelance writer, fashion student and Oxjam Shrewsbury Takeover manager...and a general lover of our fair town of Shrewsbury :)

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