8 Valuable Lessons University Taught Me

Thanks to CORONAVIRUS *Cardi B voice*, uni ended abruptly in March. I did a lot of self-reflection (maybe too much) that week thinking of all the what-ifs. If only I did this, if I only I went to this, if only I said this...If I knew my last year was going to end so soon, I would have made an effort to spend more time with my friends and leave my house more in the last two months.

Obviously dwelling on your regrets and wishing you did things differently is pointless. Nothing can change what's already happened. It just kinda sucks knowing that I’m never going to get these 3 years back. I wish I enjoyed it more but when I look back on what I was going through I wonder why am I being so hard on myself? I've grown so much from when I started. Considering I even made it to final year (I thought about dropping out 1000 times) I should be so proud! Your girl's a graduate!!

These 3 years were really challenging and honestly, I'm surprised I got through it. To be honest, I ruined my own experience. I spent most of my first year back at home because I felt so alone. 2nd year was literally my idea of hell. My health deteriorated...I wasn't really looking after myself well; I started having anxiety attacks, digestive issues and my eczema got really bad too, so I spent most of my time hiding away in my room because I hated how I looked. My depression got worse so I started counselling. It was really difficult to attend uni and social events because I was not in the right state of mind.

Even though my health issues and mental health massively impacted my experience, not all is lost. I do have some memories to look back on, there were some good days! I met most of my friends later on in second year and my last year was far better than the rest. Whether university was worth £50k+ is a conversation for another day... but I learned valuable lessons that I can definitely take with me through life.

What has University Taught Me?

1. If You Can't Cope Ask For Help

This might seem obvious but many of us don't do it. We avoid asking for help because we think we can get through it on our own. Maybe pride gets in our way or maybe we don't want to be a burden to others. My first year wasn't great but now thinking about it, I did have a friend I could have reached out to (not sure why I didn't). She was in the year above but I know she would have invited me to things and helped me meet new people. I never thought about counselling in first year but I started my sessions the year after. If you're struggling, remember it's okay to ask for help and receive support.

2. Not Everyone Will Stick Around and Be There for You

You don't need to be friends with everyone. People who don't need to be in your life will leave. Remember it's better to be in no company than in bad company. If you continue to believe the right people will come around eventually, they will.

3. The More You Do Today, The Less You Do Tomorrow

I feel like I've said this to every single one of my uni friends. As true as this statement is, I do struggle to live by it sometimes. The more you procrastinate and hold things off, the more things you have to complete on your To-Do List. University has definitely taught me the importance of organising your priorities and the consequences if you don't.

4. How to Be Alone

I think it's fair to say I actually know how to be alone now. I've spent so much time with myself during uni, it's actually been great to learn more about myself and grow. I learned how to find joy without depending on someone else's company. I don't have the greatest social life (which pains me to say as a Gemini and extrovert) but I do have a few people I can reach out to which I'm grateful for. There's nothing wrong with being alone and spending time with yourself but sometimes you just need human interaction. If you need a friend just pick up the phone and call them!

5. Dealing with Health Problems

When you're young your health is the last thing you stress about. We often take it for granted, not actually realising how invaluable it is. When you don't look after yourself your body will tell you. Sometimes it doesn't happen straight away but it will in the future. My eczema journey has taught me so much about nutrition and the right food to eat. Eat well, exercise and take care of yourself. Don't take your health for granted and regret it in the future!

6. Trust in God

I remember speaking to a friend back home during first year. He told me I should join a church or join a Christian society because his sister met most of her friends from there. When my friend mentioned anything to do with Christianity, I became so defensive and dismissed it. What was the point when I didn't believe in religion? I lost my faith when I was about 13. It seemed as if my prayers were not being answered which made me give up. My faith wasn't strong enough to understand God was always there for me.

Yet here I was, running back to Christ in 2019 because I needed physical and mental healing! Is it a coincidence that my situation got worse before I regained my faith? Probably not. Regaining my faith was probably the best thing about university.  I'll probably never know why I had to endure these experiences but I know God was definitely working through me when I did.

7. Don’t Invest Time into Something Your Heart Isn’t In

One of the reasons I never wanted to attend university was because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I really wanted to take a gap year but my mum said it's either an apprenticeship or university. Obviously, I chose the latter after being told "it's so fun!!!!!!!" (soooo fun - lol). Besides English Literature, which I loved, I didn't think it was worth doing as a degree. I was interested in Business and Marketing but the course at the uni was definitely not worth studying for 3 years. I should have spent more time considering the content of the course rather than how fun student life is! Maybe the content for the degree would have been better elsewhere. The lesson is, in the future don't do things for the sake of it. If it isn't challenging you, making you excited or going to make you better, your best bet is to find something else to invest your energy into.

8. Nothing Lasts Forever

I guess this isn't a new lesson but a reminder. Everything is temporary. Even the veryyyyy shit situations we find ourselves in, we'll get through it and it will pass. Life isn't promised as we all know. Sometimes we need to put things into perspective. Is it really worth having regrets in the end? Do everything you can to make sure you're not thinking about what you "shoulda, coulda' done and make decisions that are best for you.

Closing the Chapter

University was a life experience I was not prepared for. These 3 years were tough but the amount of strength and resilience I gained could not be replaced. This experience has shaped me into the person I am meant to be today which I will always be grateful for. Every situation I went through had a greater purpose and I would have not grown without it. It's crazy to say that I've officially finished life as a student. I'm glad I get to close this chapter as I am ready for the next one.