What I Learned In 4 Years At Uni
4 years. 4 long, but weirdly short and blindingly quick years, all coming to an end in less than a month. When I think about finishing uni, I'm filled with a mixture of dread and relief. I love living in my own house and being able to order pizza at 1 .a.m. without explanation, and I love coming home after a long day of library hell and being excused to literally not say a single word for the rest of the evening. The independence that comes with going to uni is what I love most, and honestly, I'm going to miss my cute little house with a bedroom that is literally double the size of the one that I have at home.
During my 4 years at uni, I've developed so much as a person. I'm not the same girl that started her degree in 2012. It's not particularly glamorous and it's hardly ground-breaking, but I thought it might be interesting to read for those of you who are also about to leave uni, or who have gone through the same process yourselves. So here it is! What I learned in 4 years at uni....
It may not be all that you hoped
I've nearly dusted off 4 years at uni, but I haven't done an MA. Let me explain: for as long as I had been considering uni, I had always wanted to go to the Uni of Bristol. It ranked way up top in all of the tables, it was highly esteemed, it was associated with being expensive and it was worlds away both for and from me. Mostly, I just wanted to validate that I was good enough to go, and when I got accepted I literally cried. I was so excited - this was going to be the beginning of my bohemian, thousand-friend making, Skins-worthy life.
Ehhhh, not so much. I got placed in a flat next to a girl who had never been on a night out in her life and a couple of other people who definitely wouldn't be binge watching TOWIE. There was one girl that I really liked and a group of girls in different flats that I became close to, but overall, I just felt like I didn't fit in. I never wanted to be there, and most of the time I wasn't. I went to Sheffield as often as I could (I'm talking every week) just to get out of being there, and in the end, after missing so many seminars and hating it so much that I would cry alone in my room when I was there, one of the head supervisors told me that it was okay to quit. "You are obviously good enough," she told me, "but if you hate it, it's not worth it. You have to be happy." It took me months to pluck up the courage to officially withdraw, but eventually I did. I regret that I couldn't make it work because it's an amazing university, but withdrawing was the best thing I did in terms of making myself happy when I was at my lowest point.
Not being the party girl is okay
I love drinking. I think being drunk is the perfect mix of hilarious and terrible and I engage in it as much as possible - but I can't party and work. I get hangovers, and when I'm hungover, I'm not showering, I'm eating cold pizza and I'm laying in my bed pit all day. I have no freakin' idea how people can get totally shit-faced the night before and then turn up to a 3 hour seminar with book in hand. Kudos to them, but I just can't do it.
University is made out to be this 24 hour party fest, and realistically, if you're with the right people and you've got it in your locker, then it is. But I definitely learned that not being the party girl doesn't mean I'm doing uni wrong, it just means that I'm not that girl. I'm epically terrible at making friends anyway, so I would be hard pressed to find a drinking buddy all of the time, which brings me on to my next point....
I'm epically terrible at making friends
I can count my friends on one hand. I've been best friends with Jade for going on 13 years, I count my brother as my best friend, there's usually a boy taking up one of the spots and then there's the two girls I live with. Does anybody else find themselves saying "I have enough friends"? When it comes to friendship, I'm 0-100. I'm not built for surface friendships where you 'catch up' because you haven't got anything else to do, just to feign interest in each other's holidays and work dramas before wishing you had just stayed in bed. I choose to spend my time with the people closest to me who I know and love and who know and love me. They're fucking hilarious.
Uni pushes you into a whole array of different situations where you're supposed to make life-long friends. If you move into halls, for example; I lived in a flat of 14 people, and of those 13 others, I have spoken to 1 other person that lived there since we all moved out. She just so happens to live in the same house as me and she's fucking awesome. Then there's your seminars; I'm sure it's different depending on your course, but at my uni, despite the groups being mixed up depending on module, you tend to run into the same people time and time again. By year 3 people are pretty freakin' chummy, but not me. Still don't know anybody's name. I am in and out people, in and out.
It's entirely possible that I'm just a shit person, but after 4 years of uni, I've both accepted and embraced that I am terrible at making friends and I have zero issue with that whatsoever.
Having a boyfriend at uni makes a difference, but don't let people put you off
If you have a boyfriend before you go to uni, everybody will tell you to either break it off or prepare for the pain of long distance. Breaking it off with someone that you love just because you aren't in the same place seems stupid, especially without even trying. When we were together, Jordan and I managed long distance for two whole years. We were 150-180 miles away from each other, but every other weekend (or more often), somebody was making that journey. Thank fuck for Railcards.
Of course it does make a difference; you're not part of the mad shagging in freshers and you willingly sacrifice weekends to be with the person that you love because, duh, love. Travel is expensive, you argue and miss each other wildly, but I think it's totally worth it. Uni doesn't have to overpower every other aspect of your life, and I've learned that basically I'm just one big hopeless romantic who will do anything for a cuddle and some light petting (hahaha sorry).
What are you experiences with uni? Have you just started your journey, or are you dusting it off like me? Leave your stories down below in the comments, or shoot me a message via Twitter or Instagram (@chloeplumstead).
Pyjama Shirt - c/o Mish London
Pyjama Trouser - c/o Mish London
Mish London is a contemporary luxury nightwear and loungewear brand. They offer a premium 'mix and match' service which allows you to create your own perfect pair of PJs, from shorts to trousers and camis to shirts. All pieces are made from 100% woven cotton to provide ultimate comfort and style.
P.S. Can you spot the tea stain in the first photo? #studentlife