Friday, December 25, 2009

Life Lessons From University

Author: Dawn
Blog: A dress & A bike 
Date: 26 August

I graduated yesterday after four long years of study and fun in university. The speeches were long-winded and referenced the recession a bit too frequently. Lots of standing around, clapping and shaking hands… but at the same time, it was good to receive my parchment with my degree, watch the pomp of the PhD graduation and receive some encouraging comments from my dissertation supervisor. Of course all this meant that my friends and I spent a few hours that night reminiscing about college life and the lessons we learned in four years…

  • Friends do not magically appear at your door. You need to go out and meet new people, talk to the person next to you in lectures and tutorials, join clubs or societies, make a contribution to student politics and socialise with your housemates. Friends can be made at any age on the basis of any interest and most importantly, may be the person you least expect to end up being friends with. Friendships need work, maintenance and love. They will have their good times and they will have their bad times…
  • Know when to say goodbye to someone who is no longer a friend and to distance yourself from some who is a negative drain on you. Recognise when it is a time to hold your ground and defend your opinions, and when you just need to quieten down. Let fights go and don't bring them back up again four years later 'cos that's just poor form! Also the girl that you thought was an unpleasant person can change so always always give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Alcohol is great but it's also extremely horrible at the same time. Know your limits, don't mix your drinks, keep an eye on your drink and always always try to remember that your judgement is affected by drinking. Don't be the girl whose life is affected by a stupid decision made while drunk.
  • Experimentation is the name of the game in university. At uni, you have so many unbelievable opportunities to try new things so go experiment with identities, interests, looks, clothes, sports, classes and so on. You might never know, you could discover you have a natural flair for computer games or a esoteric interest in 16th century English literature.
  • Choose whom you live with very carefully. I have lived with random strangers and my best friends, and both of these living arrangements were fraught with difficulties. Different personality types tend to clash and you have to be able to walk away from household arguments without affecting your friendship. Also, living together will tend to expose any cracks in a unhealthy friendship so beware.
  • Some housemates can be odd about household stuff and can made random requests about the cleanliness/ quietness/ visitors/ cooking. Listen to their requests and make a compromise… Try to keep your house/ apartment's public areas somewhat clean and make a suitable arrangement with your housemates about this. Have a filthy, messy bedroom if you want but having clean tidy public areas can prevent so many arguments.
  • Try to start projects early in the semester by even getting the resources and laying the basic groundwork for a good essay. Contribute to tutorials and ask lecturers questions if you are confused. Remember lecturers don't really buy the excuse of 'my computer broke' or 'the printer crashed' so get your projects finished with plenty of time for technical errors or horrible hangovers. Should you be genuinely ill or otherwise unable to finish a project, your lecturer should have informed you in your module guidelines about the best way to proceed.
  • Most importantly, remember university is about both learning and having fun. Find that balance, get good grades but also have those memories from that crazy night out.

Any uni students have any more tips for surviving undergrad life?


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