Wednesday, 1 March 2017

MY EXPERIENCE AT UNIVERSITY


Here's me and my other half looking super drunk, proud and happy for me to be graduating with a 2:1 in (BA) Advertising last summer (sob!). Now it may sound cliche, but University was one of the best decisions I ever made and I find myself constantly missing the lifestyle and people now I'm back at home. Academically, it required a lot more hard work, sweat, tears and days in the library than I ever anticipated. And I'll be honest, I definitely didn't work to my best ability during the first two years I was at Northumbria. Though I knew my final year would determine what would be written on that scroll and my CV for life.

This post is incredibly personal and overall, quite a long one. However it will be highly beneficial for those that are considering going to University. To any students that have, or still are struggling to enjoy or cope with Uni at the minute, then I hope you can relate to my experiences but more importantly be put at ease.

I think we can all agree that the decision to go to University is a big one, and most of us are really quite daunted by the idea of having to make that choice. For me, Uni was kind of a given. It felt like the norm for everyone around me as we heard nothing but great things about it. I completely get that Uni isn't for everyone as I was the first out of the family to go, yet I feel as though people are missing out on a huge life experience by deciding against it. The memories, skills and life lessons you gain from moving away on your lonesome to complete a degree, well, you can't really get that anywhere else.

If I could turn back time to 4 years ago, I would still go back and do it all again in a heartbeat. But it hasn't always been that way for me. My time at University wasn't exactly a smooth ride, but who's is?

The excitement of first year is like no other. Moving out, gaining friends, living with strangers, cooking for yourself, student loans, no one to tell you what to do - the list goes on! It's a massive step for anyone to make and I personally couldn't wait for it. I have always been extremely independent, though I was worried about meeting my flatmates. Were they going to like me? Are they going to be like my friends at school? Well no. They weren't. I didn't get on with any of the lads, and that's not usually a problem for me at all. They were older, mature students who sucked the fun out of absolutely everything, including mine and the remaining flatmates' fresher year. I think everyone has the expectation of being placed with your future 'best friends for life', but trust me when I say its a complete rarity and you are extremely lucky if this is you. I didn't dwell on the fact that it wasn't my ideal living situation, or let it dampen my year as a whole. You'd be surprised at how many people you're able to meet every single day, that's whats so great about University. All in all, I had a pretty epic fresher year. I got into a routine with fitness, gained some amazing friends to see me into second year and achieved a mid 2:1 to top it off.

The excitement of second year is an even stronger prospect. You now know the city like the back of your hand, you're living with people you actually like, and all summer you have that yearning for a lifestyle of independence and recklessness again. However, I definitely started to fall out of love with University during this time.

It wasn't at all my living situation, it was the actual Uni part that I had lost every sense of urgency for. I started to put on weight and I pretty much gave up in all aspects of the work I had set. When you're not really feeling yourself as well as the modules or projects your second year had to offer, completing the work just wasn't top of my list of priorities. Around 80% of the classes I had I didn't even turn up for, and at the time I was in complete denial. I missed out on weekly reports, group work and important sessions that were compulsory. Then several weeks down the line I thought 'Shit, I've gone too far'. and feeling like you've gone so far that you're not able to catch up is even more demotivating.

Long story short, I was adamant to defer - to basically run away from something I wasn't at all enjoying. Over Christmas time I fell out with my family over it, they weren't behind me as they knew I wouldn't return. And looking back, they were probably right. I emailed my tutor and the head of my department about deferring around January time, I was so determined to quit.

After that, a lot of things seemed to go my way. I was around people that encouraged me to make the effort and work hard. A little mishap of a RODENT getting into our student house (don't ask), basically forced me to move out and into a house full of lad's and my now boyfriend too. This was honestly the highlight of my time at Uni. Besides the day drinking and going out, I knuckled down and spent the most hours in the library I ever have (12 hours in one go to be exact). I just, and I mean just, scraped a 2:1 in second year.

The fact that I had let myself down with the amount I had slacked was the biggest slap in the face. When you're supposed to be working your ass off for this soon to be 'certificate' complete with bags of student debt, why had I nearly let it go to waste.

In third year I honestly worked the hardest I ever have for something in my life! My boyfriend and I moved into a flat and we hardly ever went out. Instead we spent most nights in the library trying to both graduate in a creative undergrad course and a masters course. Stress levels were through the roof 24/7, but he really was my rock through it all. I lost a over stone and a half that year, and started to feel the best I have felt in myself in a long, long time. As I felt good, my studies were improving - and vice versa! 

Nearing the end of my degree, my hard work and nights in paid off. For the first time in the three years I was there, I gained several Firsts across modules. And in the end, I was just 2% off graduating with a First Class Degree. This was really gutting but also extremely admirable at the same time. The fact that my family were immensely proud after how negative I had been towards University was the most rewarding thing!

The relief hits when you hand that big, fat, fifty-page-long dissertation in - and that's it. Graduation follows, where you find yourself sat in a huge hall for way too much time, thinking, 'What the fuck, I can't believe we all actually did it'. Even with a bumpy ride, below average attendance, or any recollection of lectures over the past three years, somehow you and your coursemates made it.

My experience at Uni really was a roller-coaster. But I've been there, lived it, done it and loved it.






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6 comments

  1. Congrats on your degree! I also thought about dropping out a few times during my own degree but I'm so glad I didn't. it's all worth it in the end and looks great on the CV xoxo

    Chlohblogs.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. Thanks doll - you too! It can be so draining at times but I'm happy I stuck with it! xxx

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  3. Well done on getting your degree and you manage to make the cap and gown look somewhat stylish haha! I am currently in my third year studying abroad and can resonate so much with your struggles; I hated my first two years of university and have only now started to really get my act together and actually work to my ability. I can also relate to your flatmate situation, I hated my first year flat mates and it definitely affects how you feel at uni! xx
    Lauren | laurenjgibbins.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks lauren! The gown is so much heavier than you expect haha - and it's quite hard to pull off! Glad you can relate to what I went through at uni.. and I'm so jealous that you are studying abroad for your final year! I would've loved to have the opportunity. So I hope you get what you were hoping for when you finally graduate! Xx

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  4. I agree that university (or college, as Americans call it) was quite the rollercoaster!! By the way, I graduated in Advertising last year too — what a coincidence! Has what you've learned from Advertising helped with your blog? It's certainly helped with mine!

    Overall, I'm glad you stuck with school and I hope this post ends up convincing others to go through university as well!

    Kim | Simply Lovebirds

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Kim! That's so cool that you graduated in Advertising too. The degree definitely helped me with my blog both design and written, I think its what spurred me on to carry on with this as I (kinda) knew what I was doing! :) xxxx

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