Three years, eight flatmates, one society and endless nights out – I have now reached the end of my university experience. My final assignments have been handed in and next month I’ll be moving back home for good. The past three years have flown by, just as people said they would, and they have been some of the best times of my life. I’ve learnt, grown and matured and had some weird and wonderful experiences along the way.
As a graduate, I’ll be leaving Worcester with a heap of textbooks, a range of dressing up outfits and a handful of photographs documenting the best times. Accompanying these physical gains, I’m also taking away a series of lessons that I’ve learnt over the past three years:
1. No one really knows what they want to do with their life. You may have managed to pick a degree and a university, but there may still uncertainty over what happens once you graduate. Is this the right degree, is this the best university for me? No one can really answer these questions, but the good news is that everyone else is thinking them too. I’ve only come across a handful of people who are sure of their goals and know that they’re on the right track to get to them. Otherwise, university is just a large group of confused young adults, all hoping to accidentally come across their destiny.
2. Independence is essential, so are life skills – cooking, laundry, cleaning and finances. All the things that aren’t solely your responsibility at home become your problem and your problem only. You settle into your own system, cooking the food you like and making sure your money can stretch. (Some people may be better at this than others.) You also learn how to solve the unusual problems, like how to get rid of slugs that occupy the kitchen and how to clean hardened jelly off a fridge – important knowledge for a student.
3. Growing up isn’t as great as it sounds. You may have spent the last decade of your life wishing you were older, but when the years pass and you find that list of responsibilities growing, you’re quick to regret wishing the years away. Three years isn’t a long time, but it’s long enough to put you through some of the biggest changes before you graduate – with a tonne of debt, a bunch of new friends, a new home and an uncertain future that you need to work out. The world is your oyster, which is pretty great but equally as frightening.
4. Meeting new people can be a learning curve, but also an enriching opportunity. University gives you a chance to meet people from all walks of life, and encourages you to open your mind and understand how other people live. You’ll end up living with people you wouldn’t be friends with at home, but they can play a valuable role in your life. On top of this, university also provides a great opportunity to meet international students from places like America, China and Europe, which can be an enriching experience, as you’ll learn about completely new cultures.
5. There will always be people who you don’t get on with and that’s okay. It doesn’t need to turn into a junior school ‘mortal enemy’ situation – you’ll learn a way to deal with it without immaturity. People can clash when they have different personalities and this can often happen at university, but you’re growing up and finding new ways to deal with conflict – normally, you just get over it and move on.
Now, onto real life. Wish me luck with adult-ing. I’ll keep you updated, of course.