WHAT I LEARNED AT UNI (1ST YEAR)

I've been wanting to do this blog post for about 6 months and having finished my first year of university, I thought now would be the appropriate time to acknowledge all the things that my first year of uni taught me. Some lessons are valuable, some are annoying and some are massive wake-up calls to me!

Bolognese sauce must be used within 3 days after opening. I didn't know this before I had to cook and fend for myself but I can assure you ladies and gents that bolognese sauce does not last forever. I learnt this the hard way!

Frying is by far the quickest way to cook something when you're hungry. Thank heavens for oil and frying pans. Not the healthiest way to cook, I know, but when you're a student, you need things to be done quickly and easily so you can get on with work (or, more accurately, have your scheduled nap).

Papa Johns pizza is the best pizza. Bournemouth Uni really knew how to make their money off me by having a Papa Johns pizza outlet right in the middle of the canteen. I am fairly sure that I spent the majority of my money this past year on pizza after pizza after pizza, several times a week. And let's just ignore the fact that I now can't eat it because of my recently discovered gluten allergy... if I talk about this anymore I may cry.

Regular naps are a necessity. Ask any student what their 'must-haves' are at sixth form/college/uni and you'll find that 'napping' will be very near the top of the list. They're wonderful, beautiful things.

Don't ever buy textbooks. Again, something I learned the hard way e.g I wasted about £100 buying textbooks that I was told were a "necessary purchase" and that I "need them for the course". Absolute codswallop. I looked at those textbooks once and never needed to use them again. Cheers, uni.

If you're early for the bus, the bus will be late. And vice versa. When you're at uni, particularly in your first year I'd imagine, buses are your primary method of transport. I can't tell you the amount of times I've been running late and sprinted like a mad woman to the bus stop to find that the bus hasn't even arrived yet. Likewise, if you plan your morning more carefully and you're super organised so you can be early for the bus, I guarantee it won't turn up for a solid 15 minutes.

The best present anyone could get you would be a dishwasher. Until about 3 weeks into uni life, I considered myself to be tolerant of washing up and to actually quite enjoy it. This changed very quickly after living in halls for a few weeks!! It becomes to monotonous, such a chore and so disgusting that you wish with all your heart that you had a dishwasher to do it for you. I've got one in my house for 2nd year and it's honestly my favourite thing about the house!

I have far too many clothes. Uni rooms are small. Uni storage space is somewhat limited. Uni stresses you out so much that you have to have some retail therapy at least twice a month. I had too many clothes before I moved into halls but, my goodness, moving OUT of halls has really made me realise that I don't need to go shopping again for about 9 years.

I have far too much stuff in general. Another thing you realise when you're packing up your room in halls to go home for the summer. You find yourself thinking: Why did I think I needed those electric tea-lights? Or that microwave whisk? (That one was Mum's fault).


The aftermath of leaving uni for the summer holidays


Asda is by far the best supermarket. I guess this could be debated, but for me, this is definitely true! The prices are so reasonable, especially compared to Guernsey food prices, and I'm pretty sure you can get just about anything in there. Having an ASDA the other side of the road from my halls was a dream come true.

You will either be really busy or really bored. There's no in-between with this one. My course was very much chilled for 3/4s of the semester and I would be driving myself crazy with boredom and then suddenly coursework submission time appears out of nowhere and you don't even have time to brush your hair because ESSAYS.

I'm paying £9000 a year to teach myself. I was always aware of the classic "University is about independent learning" but I really did feel that I wasn't taught much this year by anyone other than myself. What I was paying £9k for I really don't know. A new coffee shop on campus, probably.

CLEAN THE LINT FILTER. It screams at you from the sticker on the tumble dryer. CLEAN THE LINT FILTER. I think I ignored this for a good month or two until all my clothes came out of the tumble dryer fluffy and damp. CLEAN THE LINT FILTER PEOPLE!!

Start cooking BEFORE you're hungry. It's sounds a little too organised or really just not very appealing, but I promise you, by the time it's done you'll be SO ready to eat. If you leave cooking until your stomach is screaming at you for food, you'll regret it. You've been warned guys.

Leaving essays until the last minute helps you be more productive... kind of... I found myself in this situation a few weeks ago because I just couldn't get started on my essay. Whether it was because I had a brain block or simply because I was procrastinating, I don't know, but I ended up writing my 3500 word essay in the final week before the 12PM SHARP deadline. I wouldn't recommend this, but it certainly scared me into writing it!

Team work does not make the dream work. In a job, perhaps. In a charity event, probably. At uni... forget it. Group work this year was a nightmare - when people can get away with not pulling their weight, they certainly won't do it. Frustration beyond frustration.

Always have some change on you because for some daft reason, the card machines charge you if
you're paying less than £5. I simply don't understand the reasoning behind this, but it's not uncommon. So many times I got caught out because I only had my debit card and a few 2ps in my purse, so I was charged when I paid for something from the uni shop. Ok then...

Sleep with a fan on if you're going to be in the halls I was in! I would imagine many others are the same - they're like a sauna through all the seasons and it stops you sleeping. And we all know that students like their sleep! Get a fan, it'll be worth it.

Want an early night? Think again! You're living in halls with hundreds of other students remember? They run up and down corridors, for "fun". They bang on doors as if their life depends on it, for "fun". Early nights are a rarity unless you have some very, very considerate neighbours. Unlikely, I'm afraid.

After a week, you forget what a vegetable looks like. Unless you're one of those super healthy only-eat-green-food types. In that case, GO YOU! But like most students, I wasn't too great at eating my vegetables. When I came home in holidays, it was an "oh, BROCCOLI, I remember you now!" type situation.

Dear Students. This is your reminder of what broccoli looks like :)


You're in the minority if you turn up to a 9am lecture. I guess that uni isn't like school in as far as you don't get a "letter home" if you miss a lecture or two. And if you're going to miss a lecture or two, it's going to be the 9am ones. If you do go, you'll find approximately two other people in the room and they'll both have their heads on the desks.

It's a bad idea scheduling a lie-in for the fire alarm test days. Our fire alarm test days were on a Tuesday and, OF COURSE, that was my day off from uni wasn't it! I can't count the number of times I was awoken with my heart pounding in my chest because the fire alarms were being tested at 11am. Not cool.

If you one day happen to wake up and discover that your box of Coco Pops is missing from the kitchen, it's likely to be in your flatmate's room as a result of a messy night out. Caitlin, I learnt this from you! Yes, this happened. I couldn't understand where on earth my Coco Pops had gone one morning. Had they just grown legs and wandered off? I found out a few days later that my flatmate had thought it would be a great idea to eat them at 3am when she was drunk.

You feel so much more at home if you make an effort to decorate your room! I spent a lot of time in my uni room this year (not out of choice really) but I always felt like it was my little sanctuary because I decorated it with photo frames and wall photos of friends and family, quotes and little sayings everywhere. It felt homely and cosy and I was heartbroken when I had to take it all down last week!

Catch-up TV becomes your best friend. Because who's really going to pay for a TV license when you can watch programmes the next day without the risk of being fined? (At least I think that's the case!!).

The bins need emptying a trillion times a week. In your first year at uni, it's likely that you'll be living in halls or shared accommodation with a good handful of other students. And students EAT! In other words, your turn to empty the bins comes around far too quickly.

How to politely dismiss a flyer handed out to you in the foyer. For the first few months, you're too polite to say no when someone at uni or on the street desperately wants to give you a flyer to advertise their night club or "2p off your next pizza". After a while, though, you soon learn to give them a lovely smile and say "no thank you" and carry on walking with your head down. Or just avoid them completely.

So those are just a few (many) things that I learned in my first year of university life. If you've just finished a year of uni, what have you learned? Comment them below!





2 comments

  1. This was a really funny and interesting insight to uni life! haha I'm in my first year at sixth form at the moment and I really can't wait till I go off to Uni!! Great post steph!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Marnie!! Yep you've got it all to come!! x

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