School teachers often promote uni to such a degree that it is almost as if there is nothing better that we could do with our lives, straight out of high school. I am writing this blog, because as much as I genuinely love and enjoy being at university, there are certainly some things that I wish I had been told beforehand, by my school and by current university students. So that is what I am here for!
Ever since I was a very young girl, a long-term goal of mine was to go to a university and study for a degree. As a child, I just knew that, honestly, I wanted to study a ‘generic’ course that would be widely known for being academic and to ultimately, make a lot of money. As sad as that sounds, I think I often pushed myself towards highly competitive courses such as medicine, optometry and pharmacy because I wanted the people around me to be impressed by my course and to compliment me for my academic successes; but at the end of the day, I wanted to make my family proud. I didn’t realise at the time, that they would, in fact, be prouder of me achieving in a field that I am genuinely passionate about. I chose to go into law quite late in the high school game (which admittedly is also a competitive degree). I found that by studying a degree that is intellectually stimulating to me, I not only made my parents proud, I made myself proud. This would be true even if I went into a career that isn’t academically competitive at all. This was something that I didn’t realise throughout high school. At the end of the day, if you choose a pathway that you are aware will not be fulfilling or enjoyable to you, you are unlikely to continue in that field regardless of how highly you may or may not regard a certain profession. Passion really does stand out above most other things at uni.
The main reason that I am writing this blog is because it is getting to that time of year where 100% of year 13 students start getting extremely bored of high school, and often their hometown too. This was beyond true for me. Pretty much my entire year 13 was my cohort talking constantly about how excited we all were to leave, to move on and to kick start our careers. This was great! To an extent… I bought into this hugely and essentially wasted the year. I still worked equally as hard as I always had but I was wishing away the days, counting them down on a calendar, just waiting to leave. If I were to go back to last year now, I would choose to focus more on spending the last year with my high school friends all together before we split off and go separate ways. University is a lot busier than high school, and many of the friends that have followed through with us in school, we lose contact with.
My school had a “big sister” scheme, where a year 13 was paired up with a year 9 to help them settle in and at about this time last year, I messaged my big sister asking her about uni and the wait to go. I remember her telling me that wishing away the year 13 year is common but also sad, as it’s the last year before we really break into the adult world and stand on our own. That really resonates with me now as it is so true. I didn’t understand whilst I was stuck at school, but I will never be able to go back to being the high school student that I was, so as boring as it is, please try to enjoy the last few months. We all think that we’re mature and adult, but we’re still learning and still young.
Another thing that I have seen very clearly since moving into university accommodation is that once you get to uni, many have already accomplished a goal which was to get to uni at all. Some people that I know have since not known what to do, as for so long they have been building up to coming to university and once they get there it’s confusing, especially if you aren’t 100% sure of which direction you want to take. Many of these people study for 6 months, get lost and end up going home.
One of my closest friends in lectures took a year out to go to the UK for a year and came back with a much wider variety of skills and worldly experience, which he said better prepared him for what university would entail. Of course, taking a gap year is not everyone’s cup of tea, (I didn’t take a year out). However, from what I have seen of some people that come to uni with no real direction, it has been a demoralising 6 months. Of course, uni if often where you really discover what you want to do, but that isn’t always the case, so taking the time to figure things out is often a good idea.
Follow your passions and it will take you places.
Sophie BurnsSophie Burns
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