Reflections: Seven Things University Has Taught Me

I can’t believe my undergraduate degree has come to an end, submitting my last essay of third year felt so surreal, and it took a few days for it to sink in that I was officially finished. When you hear people say that your university years will fly by – trust me, they will. It feels like no time at all ago since I was being dropped off by my parents outside my halls of residence, fast forward three years, all the work is complete, and now begins the wait for my official graduation. My time at university has definitely taught me some lessons, and has left me with various reflections, which I wanted to share with you.

You don’t need to have your life planned out – One thing I realised when I was coming to the end of my degree was that it is totally fine to not have your life planned out, no one does. And to be honest, in my experience, once I let go of those initial pressures of feeling like I ‘have to have my life figured out’, I found myself embracing opportunities better, and being more open to options about my future.

It’s ok to change your mind about what you want to do after university – Following on from my last point in that you don’t need to have your life planned out for what you do after you finish university, likewise, it’s also totally fine to change your mind about what you want to do. You may have always thought you wanted to go into a certain profession, and come second year, you realise that might not necessarily be right for you – and that’s ok. I did a degree in Sociology, so that didn’t specifically guide me in any particular career direction. For the past few years I’ve had various ideas of what I’d like to do after my degree career wise, but it was only in my third year that I made the decision to pursue a Masters degree this coming September, in Digital Marketing and pursue a career in marketing. If you’d have told me I’d be going in this direction a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you at all. I changed my mind, and it’s all worked out fine, and I feel excited about my decision and my new direction.

Your degree does not have to dictate what your career path is – My case definitely sums this point up. I’m going to go from a Sociology undergraduate degree, to a Digital Marketing masters degree. I’m making the jump from a social science, to a business subject. What you do your degree in really doesn’t have to dictate, or limit your future opportunities – any degree will provide you with versatile skills and knowledge, and experience is valued just as much than the degree. It’s all about applying yourself to what direction you want to head in, and demonstrating how you can fit in with it. I’m really excited to be making a jump to something new.

How to budget – University has definitely taught me how to set, and stick to a budget. It meant that for the first time I was managing my own bills, paying for my my food, my living costs, so it was down to me to budget that and work out how much I can afford to spend on what.

How to cook – Likewise with having to manage my own money, university meant I had to take care of myself physically too, and that means learning to cook to feed myself decent meals. In my first year when I was in halls of residence cooking for one, this was a lot harder, since I shared a kitchen with people I didn’t know well, and cooking for one proved more of an inconvenience – it either meant having to waste food, or eat the same meals on repeat. However, in my second and third year me and my boyfriend moved in together, which meant I started to learn about cooking genuine meals rather than cooking purely for convenience. I experimented more with recipes based on what my mum used to make and things you see around blogs and YouTube, and gradually grew my confidence.

To have confidence in who I am – I’ve definitely grown as a person since being at university, and has my confidence to be myself. Throughout the past three years I’ve learnt about my likes, my hobbies, my social interests, and a lot about friendships and relationships. Moving away to a new place, and having that independence really helps you grow as a person.

My working style – This is a key thing I’ve learned that will really help me when I go and start my Masters degree in September. Through three years of studying independently for my degree, I’ve really learnt what my working style is, and the conditions I work best in. I know how I best plan, when the best times are for me to read, write, my time-scale. I’ve got to grips with how I study to the best of my ability, which I believe will really help me as I go onto postgraduate study.

Shelley x

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