It’s been 4 years since I graduated from university but I’ve been thinking more and more about what I would change if I could redo my university years. This is most likely because my sister is looking at universities now to attend next year, and I remember the excitement of going to open days and the trepidation of leaving home for the first time.
My university years are something that I look back on with fondness and also with a hint of annoyance because there are definitely things that I could have done better/differently, but hindsight, am I right?
5 Things I Wish I’d Did At Uni
1. Joined a society
This is probably the number 1 thing I wished I had done whilst at university because it’s only now that I’m realising the benefits of joining one. Aside from making new friends, which is vital in the first year of university especially if you\re away from home for the first time and you don’t know anyone, but also you get to learn new skills depending what which society you join.
I remember that I did actually sign up to the Creative Writing Society at my university, but when it came to the first meeting I got too nervous and ended up not going. I really wished I hadn’t talked myself out of it because I’m 100% sure it would have been so beneficial for me, but it is what it is.
2. Been in halls
I originally applied to do Journalism and English, but I didn’t get in because I tanked my interview/didn’t get the grades. So, I got in through clearing to do Communication, Culture and Media and still at the same university that I wanted to attend. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because my course afforded me so many good opportunities, which I’ll write about in a bit, so it all turned out well in the end.
The only thing I regret was not going into halls of residence. I was too late to get any of the good student housing and all that was left was Priory Hall, which was this decrepit building and it looked so depressing and just ugh. I couldn’t. I kind of wished that I wasn’t so bougie back then, though, because I feel like I would have still had so much fun.
3. Not rushed into a relationship
I started university in September and by October I had a boyfriend. I mean… wow, Chynna, rush much? This means that apart from Freshers’ Week, I spent most of my first year with my boyfriend and was so sucked into this relationship that I didn’t really go out much or socialise with people on my course.
I really wished I hadn’t rushed into something so soon but I was young and you make stupid decisions when you’re young. Live and learn, right?
4. Been more active on my course
Aside from group presentations, I didn’t really participate much in my course and that’s partially due to not being very confident back then. There was always something that I wanted to say but I felt that I didn’t have the voice to say it or thought that I would just get laughed at because my answer was dumb. At the same time, confidence is something you build.
5. Gone to more events (aside from Freshers’ Week)
Freshers Week was a blur of partying, which was great and all (except for having to roll in for 9 am lectures) but aside from drunken grinding with randos and telling girls they are “So effing pretty” in the toilets because that’s what you do right, I don’t really remember socialising properly.
There were plenty of events going on in my building and just around the university in general, which I never attended and I really wished I had! The only thing I remember going to quite a bit was the East Asian Film screenings, and that was always fun but I’d go with friends and not try and make new ones.
University wasn’t all a fail, though, and I took away so many valuable experiences from it. University definitely helped shape the person that I am today and I think that’s mainly thanks to the people that I met there.
5 Things I’m Glad I Did At Uni
1. Moved in with my bestie
This was a no-brainer really. We actually didn’t plan to go to the same university, just by the way. I was a year ahead of Mutay, so I was in my final year and she was in her second year when we decided to move in together.
It tested our friendship A LOT but for the best because we came out stronger because of it. You know how people tell you to travel with your other half to test the relationship? This is basically what we did and I don’t regret it one bit. There are so many good/funny/absurd/crazy moments we made in our little flat. Most of them include us getting extremely drunk, but a lot of them are just bonding. Best period of my life, ever.
2. Gone to study in China
I mentioned earlier that my course afforded me a lot of amazing opportunities and one of them was the chance to study in China for 5 months. If you read my blog back in 2011 then you may have followed my journey whilst I was out there – you can always read it here, as well.
It was such an amazing opportunity – a chance to learn about a new culture, experience new things and meet new people. It was completely out of my comfort zone and I remember being so nervous about being away from home for that long. Moving away from London was nothing compared to actually moving halfway across the world.
But I am so thankful that my university gave me a chance to test my boundaries and gain new perspectives from that opportunity as well. I would do it all over again if I could.
3. Lived away from home
I went to a university that was about an hour from London, so I wasn’t too far away from home if I ever did get homesick. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to live out, though, because I wanted to gain my own independence and also test if living away from home was something I could actually do. Put those life skills my mother taught me to test, right?
Paying my own bills, managing my own finance, making my own meals, cleaning my own place – it was a lot! I’ve also realised that I was way tidier living away than I am now back at home with my parents. Something about having your own space, I guess, haha.
4. Did work experience
Although this was a compulsory part of my course, I’m still really glad that I got to do work experience whilst at university. It gave me a glance into what professional working life would be like and also helped me decide what I wanted to do when I left university. I mean, I’m not exactly in the industry that I studied, but it still was very useful and looks good on my CV!
I gained sufficient skills during my work experience, which I was able to apply during interview processes and actual jobs, as well.
5. Actually gone to uni
Everyone’s university experience is different, so take from this what you will. I am really glad that I did go to university even though it was considered something that was a mandatory next step after finishing sixth form (no gap yuh for you, Chynna).
I learnt so much during my 3 years at university. I met some amazing people that I still speak to now, earned some valuable XP for my life skills and gained my own independence.
I’m not here to say that you should all go to university because university is not for everyone. If anything before entering a 9 – 5 job or something like that, take some time to discover yourself – be that through travelling or volunteering or part-time work to start saving, just something. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised at what you discover.