As some of you will know, I very recently (finally) finished my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. University has been the hardest, but best thing I have ever done. In my next few posts I want to create a mini uni-series about my experiences, what I’ve learnt and how I’ve coped with being a student as sort of a homage to the past three years. I wanted to start off by making a list of the top things that I’ve learnt at uni as advise for anyone who’s hoping to head there in September. Learning is the main point of going to university, but it teaches you a lot more than just the curriculum.
1. If you want something doing, do it yourself.
You learn quite quickly at university that no one is going to do things for you. Whether that be washing up, meeting new friends or doing your work. Messy housemates drove me mad at uni but I also knew I didn’t have the time to mother anyone, so hopefully they learnt this lesson too. Work-wise, no one knows how you want something doing better than yourself. If you want something, go and get it because someone else will if you don’t.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Leading on from the previous point, you should never feel bad asking for help. I thought I could manage perfectly fine on my own but I was naive and university is flipping hard. I don’t think I’d have been able to even finish my first year without the support of friends and family. With my course I would always prefer not to rely on the technicians for help building my work, always prefering to struggle on my own. With my final piece I had to have help and it felt like a relief knowing that it was sorted and I wouldn’t have to do it all myself.
3. You do you
There are so many different types of people at university and you will meet them all, but you probably won’t like them all. In the beginning you might feel pressured to put on a persona around a new bunch of people but it will get exhausting and this can be translated into post-uni life. Being true to who you are from the start will mean you make valuable friendships instead of artificial ones, It also means you’ll feel a lot more comfortable with yourself. Don’t lose focus and get distracted by others, you do you.
4. Work hard, but not too hard
It’s a well-known fact that the first year of uni doesn’t actually count towards your end degree, so use it. Of course, study and do your work, but first year is meant to be for you to settle in and make new friendships for the next three years. I’ve learnt that work and life is a balancing act and it takes some time to get it right. You should always take time for yourself, but you should always keep in mind what you’re working so hard for. But in 30 years-time you might remember the odd lecture, but you’ll remember the great nights out a whole lot more.
5. Appreciate the ones who are there for you, and realise the ones who aren’t
With moving away and putting yourself under such pressure, it’s inevitable that some relationships aren’t going to make it. Instead of focusing time on the ones that aren’t working, treasure the ones that are. Friendships are what make university such a great experience, they’re what keep you sane even after uni. However, It’s not just the friends you make there, I’ve made even stronger bonds with my friends from home even when I’m miles away because I realise how much they have supported me through the last three years. I’ve been an emotional mess and they’ve had to deal with me through it all, they all deserve medals.
This list could honestly go on forever and it’s going to be different for every single person that has been through university. I was lucky to have a great experience and I will miss (parts of) it. Of course, I’m looking forward to what life has to offer now that I’ve finished, but I feel like it’s so important to re-charge and review the past three years. I’ve got a flipping degree!!