You learn a lot from going to university. Some people learn how to cook, clean, make friends, get up early and study, but for me I learnt a few lessons for life. So, here at the 4 lessons I learnt at University.
- How to make connections
It wasn’t until my second year that I realised university was much more than sitting in lectures and working on assignments. I had gained myself a research apprenticeship in my second year just by speaking to a tutor after a Social Psychology lecturer and telling her that I wanted to pursue a career in research: that was when I truly understood the importance of networking. From there I secured volunteer positions, completed the Worcester Award and gained a place on a Master’s course just by sending emails and making phone calls. Never underestimate the power of communication!
- How to be assertive
When it got to my third year I quickly became uninterested in staying out till 4am dancing and was more interested in getting a good night’s sleep and being awake for my 9 am lecture the next day. A lot of my friends were insistent about me joining them and I had to try and explain exactly why I didn’t want to go, which resulted in a lot of “you’re so boring” and “oh come on it won’t hurt”. Being assertive gave control back to me and now I’m a lot less likely to be swayed by other’s decisions.
- Your university experience is what you make it
When you first start university you will be immersed in opportunity and it’s your choice whether you take them or not. The Sports and Societies fair is the best examples, I walked around mine not really understanding the point of them, I didn’t play any of the sports they were advertising. It was only until my second year that I realised how valuable that opportunity was when I was fixing up my CV and I didn’t have anything of value to add and my friends were out having fun and I felt like I was missing out. Since then I’ve taken every opportunity that has been thrown at me with two hands and that’s when I decided I would help my friends set up the Table Tennis Society (which is still running today!)
- It’s better to walk into a lecture late than not at all
Luckily this hasn’t happened to me many times and it was more in my first year when I was battling the morning traffic (or that one time my car broke down) and I realised that it was better to walk into a lecture late than not at all. It may be embarrassing walking into a room full of people looking at you as you whisper a small ‘sorry’ that your lecturer can’t really hear as you excuse yourself between people to try and find a seat. But at least you’re there and you can carry on with your learning and catch up with the lecturer at the end – it means you won’t miss the important stuff!
If you’re applying for university this year, or you’re a current student, what do you think you’ll learn whilst you’re at university?