26 June 2015

Things I Wish I'd Known Before University.

Hi!

It's ben a while, apologies for that! I really thought I would've gotten back into the swing of writing quicker, but I appear to constantly overestimate my coping abilities! Basically, my incredible Dad had a heart attack and it knocked me off my stride, and when I'm knocked off that incredibly tentative hold on my stride, it takes me a while to get back onto it. Apparently, over 2 months. He's doing really well now, so we're back in a happy place, and that's all that matters :). 

I thought that, with final exams ending (yay for anybody doing exams, you're almost free!) that now would be a good time to chat about University/College. Moving onto the next step of education is a big change, one that I wish I'd been more prepared for to be honest. The secondary school I went to was very big on further education, as a school should be, but it didn't really make me aware of what a massive change that education would be. Going from a strict timetable to having control over my own time and freedom was a massive change, not one I dealt with well if I'm being honest. I made the mistake of thinking 'freedom' meant 'FUN ALL THE TIME WOOOO!' and that was a bad move. Bad, bad move. So here are some things I wish I'd known before I got into thousands of pounds of debt. YAY ADULTHOOD.

Don't be pressured into it.
As I mention earlier, my school was very big on pushing Uni onto us, which is understandable, but they never really mentioned any other options. And, to be honest, any other options were sort of sneered at. I went to a relatively posh school (or at least, it thought it was. And so did some of the other schools haha) and in our Careers class we were told to essentially, pick something we wanted to do for the rest of our lives at 16 years old. We were let loose with a shit-ton of prospectus's from different uni's and told to have a read. If you have no desire to go to university, don't feel you have to. Take your time! If you want to go, but not yet, take some time out. I've mentioned before that I struggled with illness when I was in my last year of school, and I wish I had taken the time to get better before jumping straight into such an intense change.

Prepare yourself.
So, if you do decide to go to Uni, you'll probably pick a subject you're pretty good at like I did. Problem is, so did about 400 other people. It can be a massive change, going from being one of the best in a small class, to being just one among hundreds. Don't get overwhelmed, everyone will be feeling the same way. Even if there always is that one smug bell-end at the front of the class asking all the questions you couldn't think of. And it will be hard. I went to Uni thinking it would be a party with friends, WRONG. I mean, yeah, that's definitely part of the fun, but the work that I thought was difficult at A Level stage was quickly transformed into HOLY CRAP WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! Which was a hard adjustment. Don't go in thinking it's party-time 24/7. It won't be. It's more like, party 10%, panic over assessments 65%, sleep 25%. Unless you're cooler than me, or y'know, some sort of magical unicorn that can do it all.

Learn how to Time Manage.
OH MY DAYS. This was my absolute biggest downfall. I suck at time management (I hear your shocked gasps. I know, it's my most well-kept secret). University is all about looking after yourself. This won't be like High School where the teacher will run after you looking for your homework. No. That shit is all on you baby. If you miss it, tough shit, that's your own responsibility. And this is a tough life lesson, but it's going to help you when you are released into the big, bad world. Don't be fooled into thinking free time means 'PARTTAAYYYY' it doesn't. It means, do the readings for the next class because they WILL ask you, and they WILL make you answer, and they WILL shame you if you haven't done the work. You're paying massive amounts to go to Uni, you may as well attempt to do the work. Which means make a timetable or something. Learn how to balance the fun with the work, otherwise you will struggle the entire time. A life lesson I had to learn the very hard way.
An accurate representation of my Uni life.

Get Involved.
Don't be scared to put yourself out there, nearly everyone is in the same boat as you! Most Uni's have a club fair, where all the clubs show up and basically try to convince you to join. If you played any sport at school, check and see if they have a club at your uni, or even if you didn't play but wanted to, go check them out. They usually run fresher nights, you can go and see what they're all about. If it doesn't work out, that's fine, at least you know you tried! I played hockey at Uni and I had some of my best times there, and had some of my proudest memories. Even if it's not sport, there are so many clubs out there to join. My personal regret is not joining Drama Club, I wish I had been brave enough! If you're not a club person, get involved with the people in your classes and your halls. Make an effort to get to know them. I was struggling with my own issues and turned down invites from people I wish I'd gotten to know better, but I was too stuck in my head to go out and try something new. Try something new, you might make the friends you'll have for a lifetime.

Get to know your Uni Student Services.
If you are having a hard time adjusting, or struggling with some issues, there is usually a Student Service that is there to help you. Honestly, I wish I'd known about mine sooner, it would've saved me so much panic and stress. Within the services there is usually a Financial Advice, Counselling, Assessment Help and all sorts of other services. You can use them to basically act as an in-between for you and the University. I relied heavily on mine when I was going through my worst patch, and they made everything a little easier for me. I knew that they would help me when I was stuck. My advice would be, don't leave it to the last minute, get to know them as soon as you start struggling, it'll make it easier for you in the long-run. 

Have Fun! (In Moderation).
I know I said earlier that it'll be work 65% and sleep the rest, but when you are having fun, make it count! Don't be afraid to try new things and do something that you never thought you'd do. Uni is a fantastic chance to make memories that'll last a lifetime and take pictures that'll haunt and embarrass you forever. Definitely, do your work, but try and take the time to relax. I wish I had taken more time to have fun and done more in my last years of uni, I spent so long stressing and worrying, I forgot how to have fun without feeling anxious. Uni is when you will meet the best friends you'll have for the rest of your life, and it's the last chance you have to act like a kid before the world will harshly tell you to grow up. Take all the opportunities you can with both hands.

And as a gift, have a few of my HORRIFICALLY embarrassing Uni photos. I wish I could go back in time and tell baby Becca to stop doing that weird thing with her face. Anyway, enjoy! 

I wish someone had told me that posing with your bottle of alcohol does not make you a 'badass', it makes you look like a jackass. Sigh
Why Becca!? WHY?

My 21st and our very stylish final year house.
Obviously not all uni experiences will be the same as mine, I had a particularly bad one because I was dealing with my own issues, but I think these golden rules will apply to everyone. I hope you found, or find them helpful! If you have any tips for surviving uni, drop them down below and share the knowledge. 

I'll leave it there for tonight. I know I have been a bad blogger, but I'll try get back into the swing of things and chat to you soon. In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter or Facebook (links on the sidebar, I'd love to see you there!) OR, you can find me on the love of my life Instagram which you can find HERE. I am always on there. The word 'obsessed' has been used more than once, and not in a flattering way. 

Be happy and be kind,
Becca xo

P.S. The irony of me telling you that University isn't a 24/7 party and then posting those terrible pictures isn't lost on me. Apparently the study sessions in the library didn't inspire the fun photos haha.

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