My graduation ceremony was last week. After five long years I’ve finally finished my (three year) bachelors degree and come out with a distinction (and several thousand dollars’ worth of debt). Even though I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to complete an honours year, I can’t help but reflect on my time at uni and some of the things I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had.
I thought I’d write down some of the things I wish I’d known at the beginning, for anyone out there who is just beginning their journey into the wonderful world of higher education.
- There is no need to pay for coffee. If you get in with the right people, they’ll let you use their secret kitchen.
- Making friends with your faculty by getting involved in events and clubs will help you SO MUCH. Plus they will also let you use their kitchen (see above).
- It’s totally normal to switch majors, courses, or even unis. Hardly anyone gets it right the first time. How can you know what a course is going to be like until you try it?
- Never print something on the same day it’s due. Printers can smell fear.
- Going to a foreign country by yourself for a 6-month exchange will be tough and sad and amazing and it will make you grow in a way that nothing else really can.
- Volunteering will change your life.
- Allow at least half an hour before class for circling pointlessly around the eternally-full carpark, swearing in frustration, and creepily following people walking back to their cars in the hope of jagging their spots. Alternatively, park 5kms away on the other side of campus and spend the half hour speed-walking to your building (wear running shoes).
- If you’re willing to show up and put in the extra time and effort then people will start throwing opportunities at you. So many students adopt the ‘Ps get degrees’ mentality that a little enthusiasm can take you a long way.
- When you find yourself deluged with said opportunities, remember to say no sometimes. You can’t do everything.
10. Some days you’ll fly and some days you won’t be able to get out of bed. Those 3/5/7 years will be a crazy, fun, exciting, exhausting, overwhelming and amazing experience. Make the most of it.