University Confessions

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.

17 Comments

  1. 15th October 2017 / 10:52 pm

    I can’t believe it has been this long since you graduated from uni! I thought it was much shorter XD. I had the same thoughts about joining societies. I ended up being lazy and didn’t join all of the worthwhile ones but that’s okay. Maybe in my next life XD XD. Girl, I get you about being bougie. I can totally relate with this too – there’s no way I am sharing a bathroom with 30 other girls on the floor if I chose to stay in our dorms @___@.

    Even though there were some things you wished you did, at least you still made the most out of your uni experience! Hey, you’re still awesome, Chynna~~~~~

    YASSSS I remembered Chynna in China. Glad you took advantage and lived with your bff too. Hey, living with someone can change things up and often for the better! I’m glad that you actually went to uni as well. I always stress the importance because later on, it’s going to be hard to find time to go and get that degree… But major props to people who handled raising a family and getting that college degree. Thanks for sharing your experience, girly 🙂

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 2:58 pm

      *sob sob* It’s just a reminder that I am OLD AF. THANK YOU, NANCY. YOU ARE AWESOME TOO 💕

  2. 16th October 2017 / 6:18 am

    I really enjoyed reading this, Chynna! I honestly wished I did more during my university years but I was one of those students that just stood in the background and prayed that I passed my classes – lol.

    That’s so cool you got to study in China for 5 months. Studying abroad has been something I always thought would be so cool to do but unlike you, I never had the guts to really go and do it. Anyways, thanks for sharing about some of your memorable experiences while at uni 🙂

    cabin twenty-four

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 2:59 pm

      Thank you, Eena 💕 We live and we learn, though, right? I guess if I ever get round to applying to postgraduate I would definitely make the most of my time whilst there, but we shall have to wait and see.

  3. 16th October 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Loved this post, Chynna! I have lots of regrets from my uni years, but unfortunately I can’t go back and change things now. It’d be great if you could get a second course funded!

    I didn’t make many friends at uni, and it made it a pretty terrible experience for me. I hated going to lectures or doing group work and I almost quit in my second year because of this. I was always too terrified to talk to new people and convinced myself that they’d hate me, even though it probably would have been fine.

    I’m glad you had some great experiences at uni too. China sounds amazing! I can’t believe you got to live there for so long!

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you, Amy 💕 I’m sorry that university wasn’t that great for you, but it’s all a learning experience at the end of the day. I heard they do postgraduate loans now if you’re ever interested in doing that! (Unless you’ve done your Masters already and I am being a complete dunce and forgot, lol)

  4. 20th October 2017 / 9:15 pm

    I feel you. I think that’s a common thought. Like, what could I have done to make my past experience better? Sometimes I think about this too but I think it’s totally normal to have regrets about certain things. But in the end, it sounds like you had tons of great experience!

    Going to China sounds like it was amazing and all the things you learned while living away from home sounds like it was super valuable experience!

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Yup, definitely agree with it being normal to regret things. I guess the only thing is to not let it hold you back from progressing in life ☺️

  5. 21st October 2017 / 8:04 am

    My university is a satellite university on the military bases, and my classes were either held in one of the few classrooms at the “Education Centre” or at the high school I’d graduated from! Needless to say, there were no societies to join or halls to live in XD; I kind of wished I had joined a society or something, but it just wasn’t an option available for me at all.

    That’s good you were able to live away from home, live with your bestie, and study abroad in China, though. I kind of wished I’d done a study abroad programme, too, but again not something I could do at my uni. I would have chosen Japan or England for my study abroad programme if I had the choice. 🙂

    I can’t say I had a very typical uni experience, but I don’t regret my years doing them. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Chynna! 😀

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:09 pm

      Your university sounds fancy, but maybe it’s because of “satellite” and “military”, lol. Would have been so cool if you went to England to study!

  6. 23rd October 2017 / 6:24 am

    I think this is a great list! I joined a club in my second year, and it was the highlight of my college experience. I met so many new friends and did so many events with them. I definitely would recommend that for other people going to college too, and I wished I had joined a year earlier.

    I have to admit that if I were to do it again, I could probably skip the student housing part, haha. It was a good experience, but it also came with a lot of annoyances (especially noise issues). I am glad I lived away from home though, and I also agree with moving in with good friends! It taught me independence early on and made it easy to move out again when I graduated.

    I wish I had been more active in my courses too, and not to mention, paid more attention to them. I did fine in my classes, but I would have gotten more out of them if I participated more.

    That’s awesome that you studied abroad in China! I never did a study abroad program, and I kind of wished I did. I would also like to visit China again now that I’m older. I feel like when I was younger, I didn’t truly appreciate the experience.

    I know that college isn’t for everyone, but like you, I’m really glad I did it. I met many great friends, learned useful things, and I had a fun time. Sometimes I actually miss it!

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:10 pm

      Sometimes I actually miss it, too! When I meet up with my uni friends and we end up reminiscing and I’m like oh man, I wanna go back and relive it! Haha.

  7. 25th October 2017 / 3:19 am

    Great post! I graduated around two years ago and I still look back at all the things I’ve done and haven’t done. I did make the most of it because I was active at orgs and stuff but I do regret not being able to be as carefree during those days when I had no reason not to be. I could have dyed my hair blue and no one would have cared. Now that I’m employed, we’re bound by certain rules. Btw. Studying in China sounds really awesome!

    Joy to the World

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:11 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you made the most out of your uni experience, that is always a good thing!

  8. 12th November 2017 / 8:49 am

    Even though you have some things that you wish you had done, I am sure that this list (and talks) will be such a great help for your sister and anyone who might be starting soon. 😀 I have found that being active in my course has been an excellent help because I feel more engaged and positive about the class/es. It can be a massive challenge if you don’t feel confident or qualified, but I have been learning just to try.

    I am glad that you also have a list of the things you are glad you completed. While it can be easy to reflect on the things we wanted to do, you also have to take time to see the good ones too. 😀

    • Chynna
      Author
      8th December 2017 / 3:12 pm

      Still can’t believe that my sister is going off to uni – makes me feel so old! Haha. I’m so glad to hear that, Kya <3

  9. Georgie
    20th April 2018 / 6:57 am

    Thank you for writing this! I found it really interesting reading about your experiences at university. It sounds like overall you had a really, really good time, even though there were a few things you regret (I like that you put those at the beginning of the post haha).

    I joined a couple of clubs in university but I actually never ended up being a part of them. In our introductory week there were a lot of societies wanting us to sign up and be a part of them. And I just signed up because I thought that was what was expected of me. I actually went to ONE of the concert band rehearsals, hoping to make some new friends and play the piano again, but I felt so out of place there and I got so much social anxiety from that one experience, that when I managed to escape I was in tears and I never went back. I don’t think the socialising aspect of university was for me at all. Looking back, I would have gotten some benefit out of it, but I was (and am) such a homebody that I don’t think I would have enjoyed myself.

    I learned a fair bit at university but I know that I didn’t learn very much in the way of my current career. But I am still pretty grateful for the experience. I went to a university that involved a very long commute, but I had to deal with it. 😆 Moving out was just out of the question because of my strict parents haha. And I think it would have actually just cost me more money.

    Although I didn’t get a boyfriend in university (I already had one), I do regret not being single and enjoying my single life. I’ve been single for less time than I’ve been in a relationship, I swear. 😆

    You are very lucky to have studied abroad! I wish I had that opportunity. I think even though work experience was part of university, it’s still worth counting! 🙂

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