How does university prepare you for life beyond the lecture theatre? Here's what you'll learn as you move from first to third year.
While the student life usually involves lots of partying and having a great time with your mates, it also teaches you a lot of things about becoming a ‘real adult’. While you’re technically an adult from the age of 18, very few of us have the life experience to call ourselves real adults by then.
Here are some of the lessons that university teaches you:
1. A good home-cooked meal can make your day
When you live with your parents, you probably rely on your mum or dad to cook for you. If you’re lucky, one of them might have let you cook dinner for the family a few times before uni to make sure you had the basic skills down. No parent wants their child living on super noodles the whole time.
If you go to uni not knowing anything about cooking, your first few meals will be pretty bland. But, when you’re missing home, it’s nice to have some home-cooked food, and even the most basic meal can make you feel better. Trust us, it’s worth the effort. You’ll also appreciate your parents’ cooking a whole lot more when you go back home to visit.
2. Bills are a real thing
You probably won’t have to worry about this in first year if you’re in halls, but once you’re living off-campus this suddenly becomes very real.
If you love saving money, set up all your bills separately to get the best deals. While this can save you enough for an extra drink or two each month, it’s also hard to keep up with. Sometimes it’s easier to go with a company that does it all for you, like Split the Bills, although this tends to be more expensive.
3. Everything costs money
First year eases you into the world of adulthood, with most universities providing a lot of support for Freshers. But when you start looking for a house for your second year, things start to get a bit more real; paying a £400-plus deposit on a house that isn’t even very nice is a big wake up call.
Things as simple as going for a drink can end up costing a fortune, and you can feel like you’re turning into your parents for not buying that meal deal because you already have food at home. Being a student in lockdown should have taught you how to have fun for less money if you do it from home.
4. Your first taste of independence
One of the best things about university is that it’s your first chance to be truly independent. You’re old enough to do everything now, and your parents aren’t there to judge you if you stumble in at 3am or set off the fire alarm when making toast at midnight.
You don’t have someone nagging you to keep your room tidy but you do it anyway, because your parents were right; it does make you feel better. Independence is great. That’s until you forget to put the bins out and have to run outside in your PJs at 7am.
5. The work-life balance is a struggle
When you’re a Fresher, it might be possible to go out four nights a week and still make that 9am lecture, but by second year it’s a different story. The increased workload means you’ll be tired a lot of the time and won’t want to go out if you have a lecture the next morning.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of not going out at all, or to go out and miss lectures, but both are slippery slopes. Not socialising enough can be detrimental to your mental health; even just meeting up with a friend for a coffee once a week can make a big difference. On the other hand, going out too much gets you into bad habits which you’ll want to kick before you get to the business end of third year.
University may teach you life lessons that help you blossom into a fully-fledged adult, but that doesn’t mean you need to totally grow up just yet. Trust us, there’s plenty of time for some serious adulting when you leave uni.
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