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uni student

6 things nobody tells you about what it's actually like to be a uni student

If you could go back to your post-A-level self and give yourself a heads up on what it's actually like to be a uni student, what would you say?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who—since being a uni student—has felt like they’ve been catfished. The glossy brochures and the multiple university tours all paint a picture of bright, happy, well-nourished 20-somethings getting through their degrees with ease. When in reality, uni is full of stressed out young adults, not knowing how to adult whilst running on a packet of digestives, a pot noodle and three hours sleep.

Well, here’s just a few of the things nobody tells you about what it's like to be a uni student:

1. You won’t necessarily remain friends with the people you meet in freshers…

Freshers is the week that you desperately try to find a buddy to hang out with. This can come with a—very unnecessary—perceived obligation to remain best buds for the next three years. The truth is, by the end of your first semester, you will have lost touch with people you met in Freshers Week and will have met so many new people since. Friendship circles develop and change all throughout your three or four years as a uni student…and that’s ok!

2. You will need to budget and you'll need to stick to it

Ah, that sweet moment when student finance finally lands in your bank account. The feeling of wealth compels you…well, at least for a few days. It’s no secret that student living can put a strain on your pocket. With part-time jobs merely providing you with food shop money and student finance just about (or not quite) covering rent, you rarely get any movement when it comes to your bank balance. It’s important to remember to budget for things like travel, resources and emergencies. Sticking to your budget will ensure you never go without. Trust me, there’s only so many Pot Noodles you can eat in a month before you turn into one.

3. You don’t have to stick with the course you picked…

I mean let's be real, I’m not the same person I was when I picked my degree back in sixth form. Back then, I was full of hope, hope that things would be easier after A-levels. After spending a semester on the course I had chosen, I realised it wasn’t for me; I needed to do something a little more creative than a bachelors in Sociology. As it was my first year, the process to swap over to a different course was relatively straight forward. The majority of the time, the course swap process is easy and guilt-free—just as long as you do it in your first year and not the week before your dissertation is due.

4. You don’t even have to stick with uni…

One year at university costs you at least 9k a year. Don’t force yourself to get into unnecessary debt for a path you’d rather not go down. Not getting a degree is okay, there are so many alternative options and routes out there. University isn’t for everybody. There’s always the option to apply to the open university and get your degree from home!

5. Join societies….

Seriously, some of the greatest people you will meet at university are the ones you meet at societies. However, that being said, don’t join too many societies. It’s easy to get a little excited during Freshers Week and join 101 societies, but picking one or two is the way to go. There are so many different types to choose from, course-related and not.

6. Attendance is key….

No for real, this tip isn’t sponsored. I’m not being paid off by my lecturer. From a serial lecture skipper; GO TO CLASS. My grades would be 10x better if actually went to all of my seminars and lectures. Even with minimal effort and leaving it to the night before, if you attend every session, you will have such a deeper understanding of your course and modules and still be able to get decent grades. I mean, for 9k, you may as well attend the classes you’re paying for!

7. Graduation is a scam!

Okay, this is a bonus one, but honestly, the graduation ceremony is the biggest money-grabbing tactic of your whole uni student experience. Tickets, gown and hat hire, photos, the lot! Yet, of course, we’re all going to go…it's genius really.

Featured image: MD Duran on Unsplash

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