11 Aug 2018

As I head into my third year, I thought I'd share with you what, non-academically, university has taught me...

There's life after high school.

It sounds silly that I didn't realise this earlier. Even through college I thought nothing would get better than high school and it wasn't like that was great. I left high school with friends but I wouldn't say a solid friendship group. I thought that would just be how it would stay. But, that wasn't the case. I've realised that, wherever you go, there's always people willing to listen and have fun with that are even better than the people you meet at high school. 

You aren't always stuck in education and your grades don't necessarily define you or limit you to what you want to achieve.

A lot of people say the time at high school will be some of the best years of your life. I now highly dispute that claim. 

Nothing really changes.

I thought I'd go away and everything would just drastically change. Not only my home life where I expected I'd walk back in to my family home and no longer have a bedroom or the parents have decided to invest their life savings in a caravan etc. In fact, everything's stayed relatively the same. The same can be said for myself, I thought you go away, move out and you, yourself, change and,  while I think I have made some small changes, they've been nothing I've had to say to myself "woah,  I've changed". It's been inevitable steps that are just part of growing up but nothing like what I expected to happen. On that subject...

You're still young! 

It was as if I thought that as you hit 20 there's this automatic switch that's hit and BAM you're a fully-fledge adult. It was just the other day that I was thinking how, in some ways, I still feel 16. I know I definitely still look it from the comments I get in shops and the amount of times I am ID'd for razors in Superdrug, but I also don't feel like the way I act has really changed and sometimes I still act as if I was 16.

I've realised that I've got all the time in the world to make decisions about my life and no decision I make has to be set in stone; things can change later down the line because I've got plenty time to do that; I'm still young. 

It's OK to be yourself.

I never have truly felt like I could be myself around people but university has allowed me to present to people the closest thing to me and I'm honestly proud of myself for managing to do this. It sounds like a strange, silly thing to self-celebrate but to me it's a big thing. I've finally found people who accept me in all my weirdness and all my annoyingness. 

I'm less afraid to speak to new people, have conversations and have an opinion that's not always the most agreed one. It's OK for me to speak out about my views and put ideas forward. It's OK for me to be happy about who I am. 

I'm capable of more than I think.

As many are, I'm self-critical and even my successes I tend to put down to luck or not give myself the credit I should give myself. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and, even when I get great grades, I still look at the negative. Since coming to uni, I've found a lot of people are the same but I think slowly we are all accepting how lucky we are to be at the uni we are and that getting here has taken a lot of work and we deserve it just as much as anyone else. Without making this sound like a job application, my volunteering and time working part time, it's been nice to see people appreciate the work I do and it's confirmed in me that, sometimes, I need to be a little less harsh on myself. I should be proud of what I've accomplished so far even if it's only small things so far. 

A lot of people are in the same boat.

Whether it be family issues, friendship dramas or personal feelings I've realised how alike I am to a lot of people. It's a tired phrase but "you are not alone" springs to mind and is definitely fitting here. There's always someone who can relate to a problem you're having and vice versa. It's nice to know that we are all having similar struggles and that, from this, you can be there to support each other.

So these are just a few of the little life lessons that my first two years at uni have taught me and there's definitely more where this came from (potentially enough for a part 2?).
Do you go to university? Any life lessons you want to share I'd love to read!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 

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