What University has Taught Me

As I write this, I’m on my way home to Dorset for the bank holiday weekend, having completed my last shift at the part-time job which kept me going through uni. Since I was last home at the end of March, I’ve found a graduate job, handed in my dissertation, and on Wednesday, I finished my three years at University. My lack of blogging is a testament to how hard I’ve worked I think. I want to do so well, even blog-writing-procrastination hasn’t been a thing, for the first time ever. 

I started Alice’s Antics a year before University. I’ve written blog posts about my first week, a summary of my first year, a summary of my second year, and now, I’m at the end. In less than a month I’ll be receiving my grades to see whether I’ve wasted nearly £50,000, but in the mean time, I’m blissfully ignorant, and my life is revolving around ‘last times’. 

After 18 years of education, I’ve had my last ever exam. I wrote my last essay. I’ve had my last lecture and my last socials as part of a society. 

Before going to university, I had an idea of what to expect. I was ready to drink myself into the ground in Freshers week, I was (semi) prepared for the reading I needed to for seminars, I was ready to sit and listen and take notes on lectures, knowing some I’d enjoy and some I wouldn’t. I had nearly a year to prepare myself for university. But, after three years of living in the uni bubble, I was in no way prepared for everything to finish. From the most mentally exhausting time of my life, to having the most freedom I will probably ever have. How do non-students fill their days? Yesterday morning myself and my housemate sat and watched 3 hours of Line of Duty, just because we didn’t know what else to do. 

University has taught me more than the defence policy of Pakistan, and the social justice theory of egalitarianism. It’s taught me that actually university is, and should be, so much more than the piece of paper you get at the end. 

I’ve learnt how to poach an egg free hand, and how whisking the whites separately to the mixture makes the MOST fluffy pancakes the world has ever seen.

Through society and sport socials, I've learnt that exact point of drinking where I'm gone beyond return, and I know the difference pre-ing on red versus white, makes to my hangover.

Being at University nearer London has opened up dating. I've learnt to trust my male-instinct, sometimes you have to get out of there with an emergency text, but other times, you do just have to sit through the dull conversation. 

University has introduced me to people of every faith, race, gender and background. And taught me, no matter where you come from, group assignments always bring out the worst in people. 

Through university, I've learnt how to make £10 stretch two weeks. And how to make a great fancy dress costume for free.

Despite years of school, university is where I experienced first hand the magnitude of difference having a good teacher/lecturer does to your willingness and ability to learn. 

University helped me understand the difference in friendships, not everyone has to be your best friend. Some are fair-weathered but 10/10 for spontaneous nights out, and some are the ones you'd call at 3am because you miss your dog. 

Going to university allowed me to live with my best friends, wake up at 11am on Thursdays and order pizza for lunch AND dinner (only once, I promise). 

Grades and lectures are important. But University taught me to throw myself head first into anything and everything, to grab opportunities with both hands and soak up any and every experience. I’ve learnt I will probably never use my knowledge of Foucault’s panopticon theory in my future jobs, but I will use the discipline to structure my day around library/work/extra-curricular/social life. I know not every university graduate will walk straight into their dream job. And not every graduate will have a 2:1 or a 1st. But if you did university right, that doesn’t matter, because it’s everything else which makes it worthwhile.

Love, Alice x