There are plenty of lists around, telling us all the quintessential experiences of being a University student which we should attempt to tick off before our impending graduation.
These include things such as joining societies, pulling an all-nighter and experiencing hangovers from hell. However, after my three years at University, I still don’t know: are these the things I’ll remember, or regret not doing?
So, I decided to create my own checklist of a combination of things I’ve done (and strongly recommend); things I wish I did earlier; and things I hope to do before I leave university.
1. Talk to someone who you would not have talked to at school. University is the time to shake off those restricting social cliques and realise how ridiculous and shallow they were. Get to know everyone and anyone.
2. Create something. Write a novel, a poem or a song. Start painting again. Make a band. Film or direct something. Do it now while you’re young and surrounded by other young, creative minds.
3. Learn the importance of retrospect. What may seem like good decision at 3am outside Jesters may not actually be that epiphany you were waiting for. And whatever you do, ALWAYS sleep on it. As Ted Mosby’s mother said, “nothing good ever happens after 2am”.
4. Make some really good friends. This may seem patronisingly obvious, but good friends are what make university so good. However Fresher’s week is filled with a desperation to make friends fast, fuelled by the fear of ending up a loner for three years. So we often make bad decisions and cling to people who are actually very dull when sober. Remember, a real friend makes you feel happy; not uncomfortable, not inferior, and not generally rubbish; it’s as simple as that.
5. Do something unbelievably stupid that no-one ever would expect you to do. Why? Because you should completely embarrass and humiliate yourself and then wake up the next day and just laugh, shake it off, you survived and now know there are worst things in life. So go on, get unbelievably wasted. Ask someone you just met or are secretly in love with out on a date. Run around naked. Dance on a table. Fall over in public. (You don’t have to be wasted to do these things, but God it helps.)
6. Fall in love. Ok, I’m not talking about some soppy teenage fantasy about meeting someone in the library as you reach for the same book. Or maybe I am. Either way, I think
university is a great time and place to fall in love.
7. Enjoy being broke. This is the only age where it’s socially acceptable to be broke. You’re academics, you’re too busy thinking and watching TV online to earn cash! Instead gather free vouchers, stuff down free samples, drink low quality vodka that smells like paint remover. And remember you have your whole life to make money, so don’t worry too much about saying ‘no’ every time someone asks you to leave your comfy bed. You can afford ‘yes’ more often than you think.
8. Learn not to be afraid of criticism. We’ve been getting criticised our whole lives, but that doesn’t make it easier. However, at some point we have to learn how to take this stuff in our stride, and university is the time. It’s the place we get to learn who we are outside of our family and friends, and everyone who knew us for the past eighteen years. So grow, but also learn what to change and what to keep the same. And though criticism is helpful, ultimately only you can decide that, don’t let someone else do it, they won’t live with the consequences.
9. Fall out of love. You’ll live. You’ll learn. You’ll be stronger.
10. Attend at least one free university event. Maybe go to a careers fair and do something remotely productive, maybe go to a Christian Union event and eat free food. Either way try to use the many resources your university has to offer. You might as well since you’re paying a ridiculous amount to be here.
11. Learn to cook and clean. You may have been sensible and learnt this before uni, or like me you may have put this off as long as humanely possible. But you’ll learn soon enough how important it is because it’s a big step on the path to self-reliance.
12. Don’t give a sh*t. Wear your pyjamas to the supermarket or to a club: you can get away with it now, but it’s sad and depressing if you do this when you’re older. In life there are many things you should care about, and many things you really should not. Hopefully by the time you leave university you’ll figure out a fair few of what these are. I could list them all day, but these things are really better learnt on your own.
Hopefully you thought this was helpful and not condescending (however, if you do think that, I’ll kindly refer you back to number 12).Yes, Uni is a wild and crazy time, and yes you will do some things you regret. Try to use all your experiences, (good and bad), to make yourself a better person by the end of it, and just think: if I’ve come away from University without making the most of what I could do or who I could be, that’s nearly three years and 10 to 30 grand (all the more reason for you to adhere to this list, Freshers) down the drain!