Overall, I really loved university life. I went to Manchester Metropolitan, studied Social History and managed to get a 2:1. I fell in love with the city and stayed there for a few years after. That being said I have a couple of regrets and there are things I wish knew before going to university. If I could do it all again, I think I would have a very different experience to say the least.
Reading does matter
I studied a lot of journals for essays but I never really grasped all the concepts that different historians had. I wish I had read more and memorised more names and theories because it would have made my essay writing much easier.
To actually make an effort with a social life
I think I’m probably one of the few that didn’t take advantage of the social aspect of uni. I kept to friends that I already knew from school – which is not a regret at all by the way! I didn’t really branch out any where near as much as I could have though and I only really joined societies in my third (final) year.
Not have your boyfriend stay with you the first weekend
If you’re going to university and you’re in a relationship, that’s definitely not a bad thing. The only thing I would say, as much as you’d miss them, don’t spend your first weekend at university with them. This is your first opportunity to meet people that might be in your life for a long time. A boyfriend might not be – without being too much of a cynic!
Find what you love and hate. Go out, stay in. Just live your life to its fullest. It may feel at times that everything you do doesn’t work out or you don’t enjoy. For me, this is just as important as discovering things that you do like.
Look at other opportunities university life has to offer
I discovered in my first summer break that I could do a semester in an American college. I looked into applying but sadly found that I had to apply 4 months before the end of term. I’m so gutted that I never got to do something like this. Check out your university’s website and see what other affiliations they have and take as many opportunities as you can.
I think most students learn how to budget quite quickly. They either nail it on the head straight away or learn the hard way after they’ve blown their loan. Make sure you have a bit of money to take with you just in case there’s an issue with your Student Finance. It might come in hand for a society or course trip or holiday.
University isn’t always the right option
Sometimes people start uni and realise straight away that it’s just not for them. That’s completely ok. University isn’t the be-all and end-all. All I would say is that you should give it four months or so to decide. Your first few months can be a bit wishy-washy course-wise and you’ll probably be missing home. All I can say is that everyone is in the same boat and it gets mucher easier. If you still don’t enjoy it after a few months and you find another direction to take, there’s no shame in that.
A good degree isn’t the only thing you need
I wish I had known that getting a 2:1 or a First wasn’t your golden ticket to an amazing first job. An employer still wants to see experience. If I had known this, I would have taken an internship or something in a more relevant line of work. Don’t get me wrong, I adored my job at Apple and the people I met but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get a job in digital marketing because of an amazing retail background.
These are just a few of the things that I wish I have known before going to university. Everyone has a unique experience but I can thoroughly say it was some of the best years of my life. I made mistakes as everyone does but these are the things I wish I knew before going to university.