Quite simply, I believe that there isn’t one. There is no such thing is a ‘typical university experience’.
Whether you are about to start university in September or are just curious about what a university experience may be like this post is for you!
I know I haven’t posted much this summer, I’ve been so busy going on holiday with my family, attending weddings, working and seeing friends. As summer continues to fly by it will not be long until myself along with a load of fresh-faced freshers head off to university. I’m going into my final year and I cannot believe how quickly my time at uni has gone by! Before starting uni, I remember feeling excited, anxious and not knowing quite what to expect, in fact my friend’s older sister told me to “expect nothing”.
For many people my age and younger, our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook news feeds are full of students posting pictures of their crazy nights out, falling asleep in lecturers and fooling about in the library. In the months before I started uni I heard many stories and saw all of these pictures. I thought about whether I would go out as much, if I’d make loads of amazing friends and share a house with people I’d and hang out with all of the time but the reality is quite different.
Think about the number of ‘my university experience’ videos there are on YouTube. There are hundreds! I watched loads before heading off to uni. Whilst there are similarities it goes to show that everyone’s university experience is unique in some way.
Okay so I did go out, dressed up a few times and have got to know a lot of people. Yeah I’ve also taken snapchats of my friends falling asleep in lecturers but in all honesty I did things I never thought I would at university, I had some great experiences but I also learnt a lot about people. I’m still making friends, some are doing a year abroad, some changed as individuals and some transferred unis. Sometimes I don’t really know who my friends are but there are other times I really do. A lot of university is about adapting and adjusting. Getting to know different people, making friends and maybe losing friends and living in a new place.
University can be tough, you’re away from home, surrounded by lots of people with very different personalities, got a lot of studying to do and also want the social life! Going out is something which I believe is really overrated at uni. People post pictures of their wild nights and talk about how it was one of the best nights ever but a lot of it is sometimes just for show. They want others to believe that they are having the time of their lives but in reality their night out was just like any other and not all that amazing. Besides, going out all of the time can get boring, the same thing, the same music and all the getting ready. It’s tiring. I didn’t go out as much in my second year because of this but does that mean I didn’t have a typical university experience? Instead, a spent a lot more time going to pubs, cafes and for dessert!
A lot of people think that their housemates have to be their best friends, I’ve got lots of friends outside of my house and I am so glad. I know some people that I can only term ‘housemate goals’, they do everything together but it’s not the same for everyone. I personally find that sticking to a small group can limit you and meeting different people can open up opportunities for example you could do group study sessions or have a pizza night or both at the same time!
I think it’s important to go to uni with an open mind, don’t expect to have the same experience your friends or relatives had. I admit that I am quite hard working and I do spend a lot of time studying. Does that mean I’m not a typical lazy student? I’ve also got friends that hand their essays 5 minutes before the deadline. Everyone is different and does things in their own way. I agree with my friend’s sister, expect nothing because you really don’t know what opportunities and challenges lie ahead but take them and learn from them.
My university experience was about finding a good balance between work and study, learning a lot about others and focusing on my career. I worked really hard, attended a lot of careers events and tried to do whatever I could from becoming a student ambassador, writing for the university magazine and joining different societies.
Don’t feel pressure to live up to other people’s expectations. Always be yourself! You shape a lot of your university experience so make it your own!