A week on from my graduation, I figured it was the perfect time to look back and reflect on my time at university. At one point I honestly didn’t think I would ever graduate and complete my degree. My health did throw a spanner in the works (thats a lil understatement) but I did it, and I’m honestly so proud that I stuck with it and didn’t give up.
Now I’m not going to lie, University for me wasn’t an easy ride. There were lots of ups and downs, but it has taught me a lot and shaped me to be who I am today. I have met some amazing people, had some absolutely incredible experiences, learnt a lot and achieved more than I ever thought I would. On the other hand, at times it absolutely sucked and I totally wanted to drop out on more than one occasion. I wanted to share what university has really taught me because it has honestly been the most life changing experience, and has shaped me to be who I am today.
Whether you’re about to go to university or you are applying to study, hopefully this post will help you.
It’s not what you will expect
University isn’t what you may expect. It is definitely not what is portrayed in films and prospectus’ and no amount of college assemblies and university open days can prepare you for it. It’s a big scary thing to move away, live in a brand new city and spend 90% of your time with complete strangers. Honestly, I went to university not really knowing what to expect. I was funnelled into university without even really knowing what I wanted to do, other than go. It took me a while to settle in, and feel at home – but once I embraced living away, and found my independence it really was amazing. Looking back, University was everything I could have hoped for and more – the possibilities are endless, and it really is what you make of it.
You learn to be truly independent
When you go to university, you are pretty much forced to become independent. You get thrown in at the deep end, and you either sink or swim. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can truly prepare you for the first night alone in a flat with 10 random strangers after 18+ years of living with your parents. University teaches you how to cook, how to clean, how to iron and how to make £10 spread for two weeks of food shopping because you accidentally spent too much money on yesterdays night out. You soon realise you can’t survive off pot noodles and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you realise you definitely need more than three hours sleep to function properly in the morning lectures.
Trust me, you basically wing your way through your first year – I definitely did. But in all seriousness, the Beth that went to university in 2012 and the Beth who you all saw graduate last week are two very different people. University definitely shaped me to be the person who I am today. It forced me to grow up and become an adult, it taught me valuable life lessons that I honestly don’t think I would have learnt without it. It helped me find my inner passions, and basically helped me grow into the person that I have wanted to be, and a person that I am truly proud to have become.
It’s the best years of your life
Honestly, the years i’ve had at university have hands down been the best years of my life so far (but also the toughest). Embrace and make the most of your university years whilst you can, because once you graduate and you’re suddenly an adult in the big wide world it suddenly dawns on you how amazing it was to be a student. When you’re a student you have no cares in the world other than what tv series you should binge watch next or what alcohol you’ve got left to pre drink with. Or in my case, I could go to the gym whenever I pleased. Ultimately, make the most out of the years as a student that you can. Study hard, but also play hard too. Enjoy yourself, join a sports team or a society and take up all of the extra curriculum that you can. Trust me, it is worth it.
It’s tough, but it’s okay to struggle
Now this is one thing that university has really really taught me – that it is okay to ask for help. When I first became ill I was so stubborn and didn’t want to admit I was struggling. I felt like a burden, and didn’t want an of my problems or difficulties to be someone else problem too. However, my studies were affected, my attendance to uni was limited and my grades started to decline once my health got worse. But once I opened up and spoke with university, they went above and beyond to ensure I was able to study despite my health condition. I got the support I needed to ensure I was able to still able to learn and progress along my course, along with support from an amazing mental health and wellbeing practitioner who truly helped me understand my health condition more.
This transfers across to everyone and everything, illness or no illness – struggling alone is not necessary. There is always someone, or something that can help eliviate some pain or pressure and a way out of the problem at hand. That is one thing I can only commend (and more) Leeds Beckett University for. The support staff have ultimately ensured I got the support I needed to try and manage my health, manage my studies and as a result ensure I was able to graduate. That is something that I will always be forever grateful for, and for anyone looking to go to University I cannot recommend studying at Leeds Beckett University enough.
it’s possible to achieve anything
Honestly, looking back at what I have achieved during my time at university just blows my mind. It’s not until you stop and think about everything you do at university that you realise just how much you’ve actually done and achieved. It has definitely taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Trust me, once you’ve written 10,000 words for a dissertation you can write ANYTHING. That being said, University most definitely isn’t an easy breeze. I just remember getting to university straight out of college and expecting it to be pretty much the same, just about a topic I was passionate about. OH HOW I WAS WRONG. The level of depth and standard of work at university is much much higher than at college, and at first I just remember feeling so out of depths with it all. However, I personally believe that you get out of university what you put into it. If you work hard, you reap the reward. University definitely taught me that working hard is something you should always do, and that wanting to achieve and learn is not something to be ashamed of. If you are choosing to go to university, work hard, put in the study time, be open to new ideas and learning and you will go far.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on university – have you been or are you going soon? I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Beth x