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If I could do university again...




With a few of my younger friends (and even friends more within my age range) about to head off to university, I thought it would be a good time to write a post that had been floating about my head for a while, to go along with my decorating a dorm room post and my money matters post I did a while ago. It's been over two years since I graduated and whilst I'm definitely not a regrets person, there's a few things that I would do differently if I could do it all again.

And I'm going to share my wisdom with you all, naturally.

Look at all universities/courses available
In hindsight, seventeen was a young age to move out and I was scared to move too far from home even though my parents had agreed to financially support me if I moved anywhere within Scotland. I love Dundee and it's where I feel most at home, even to this day. However being scared to study anywhere further south wasn't a good reason to not read the prospects from somewhere such as Strathclyde.

Be very very very sure its what you want to study (and know what you want to do with it)
I studied International Management and I still can't really explain why. I only decided upon a business course when I crashed Higher Business Management in sixth year. My opinion now is by 'really sure' you've wanted to study this, or something similar, from around about the time of your Standard Grades. Nothing wrong with taking a year out to work or do a course at college which has slightly less commitment or even do more Highers at college. And there's nothing wrong with not getting a degree at all! Zoe London wrote a great post about this.

I personally don't regret going to university, however in hindsight I should have studied marketing to begin with (and ignored that silly guidance teacher) and taken into consideration league tables and reputation of the university (I'm very passionate about sending kids to state schools and not battling to get into certain ones, but universities are independent and can set their own modules and there can be a big difference between a good university and a bad university etc).

International Management was a very 'open' degree with quite a few career possibilities from it and you'd be surprised how transferable some degrees are (my flatmate is a speech therapist and I was amazed at how many other careers were possible with her degree!). So if you do the wrong degree it might not necessarily be the worst thing, and if you continue to do extra-curricular stuff its possible to build yourself other options alongside your job.

First year is the year to join every society (fourth year isn't)
Maybe it's because my confidence was higher when I was 21 compared to 17, but at my first fresher's fayre I signed up for dance and netball, then left. By the time fourth year came round I was heavily involved in the student body and founded my own society, helped run another, was a member of a sports team and was a class rep. It should have been in reverse. Join everything in first year, then tone it down as you progress and find out where you really belong.

Second year is the best time to start a society (or become the President of one)
After being heavily involved for a year, you now have enough knowledge of the student body to work it. But you're not piled under with coursework quite yet. Not in fourth year like I did....

Fourth year is the time to be in the library
I didn't slack off but I never went above and beyond the average levels of studying that was required. Because I was spending my time running societies and doing freelance work and other stuff that had nothing to do with my degree (kind of says how little my heart was in it) I ended up with a 2:2 which could have been a 2:1 if I had just achieved one more B grade...

Met more people
My first year halls had 144 students living in them, and I think I can name about 20 of them. There were personal reasons during first year as to why I didn't attend every party going, and as my confidence grew entering third year (and I wasn't *cough* part of a *cough* unhealthy relationship *cough*) I did make up for time but I still wonder...

Stayed in contact better
Since leaving university I've kept in contact quite well with my close friends from university. However, I speak to very very few people I went to school with and a lot of it is because I didn't truthfully make the effort. I truthfully didn't like that many people at my school but as I've gotten older I realised most people I didn't like back then have grown into sensible human beings as they've matured themselves (and as I've matured myself as well!).

Worked during the summer between school and first year
The summer between first and second year my parents marched me up to the local golf club to ask if they had any waitressing jobs going, which turned out to not be such a scary experience as I had anticipated. I could have had a lot more money if I had just bit the bullet earlier...

I said at the start, I wouldn't change my past and for me things kind of worked out in the end anyway. However these are little nuggets of though for anyone starting university this year or the next!

Morag x
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4 comments:

  1. I wish I could go back in time and do university again (and not just because I eventually left without a degree) I was such a mess in my late teens and choosing to go to a university in the same city as my parents, while fantastic financially, I think meant I never felt the need in first year to go out and make new friends or push my boundaries. I did eventually but I missed out on some of the big experiences in first year.This is all great advice! Sounds like you had an absolutely amazing university experience xo

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    1. I did overall have a great experience, just a few things I maybe would do differently!

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  2. I missed out on societies all three years for what sounds like the same reason you didn't go to parties in first year, I really regret leaving uni with zero friends because of that (and some other personal reasons that still bother me). I totally agree on the studying more final year thing, I mean, you need to work hard every year after first really but if I'd had spent a little longer studying and a little less time travelling about in my final year I might have got a better grade. You live and you learn!

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  3. There's some really good advice here. I plan on joining a few societies this year because I regret not doing it last year. I'm sorry to hear about that relationship. I was in a similar situation and I didn't get as much out of my first year as I would have liked to because of it. I'm hoping it won't affect me in the years to come either. Thank you for posting this xx

    www.alphabeth.co.uk

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