Friday, 6 February 2015

Life Lessons: Advice of a Graduate (pt. 2)

Last year I offered five nuggets of advice from a recent graduate to current and future University students, and I promised five more. I thought it was about time I shared these final five with you!

As someone who adored their University experience - and I mean all of it, including the academic life, not just social stuff - I'd love to offer some more advice to those of you who have it all ahead of you. Going to university was the best decision of my life so far. I found that it was hard, challenging, and the experience of a lifetime, and I learnt much more than my module content. I left as a completely different person, and I wouldn't have changed a thing - even the tough times.

As you'll be able to tell, I adored my subject, and have a natural passion for education and academia - I know not everyone is the same, but I hope this will help anyone studying any course, at any stage.

So, here are my final five pieces of advice for you all - I hope you find them useful and possibly even inspiring!

6. Love your degree

By the time you graduate, you will (hopefully) understand what a privilege it is to be able to learn. It may seem that everybody has a degree - but that's not the case. As a young woman, I often found myself thinking about the restrictions placed on women within education many decades ago, and I now realise how lucky I was to have the opportunity to fall in love with my subject. Get stuck in, use the resources available to you, think creatively and challenge your mind, especially if you're studying a creative or humanities subject. Explore. Make learning enjoyable.

I worked at my best when I went out into the world to do my research; once I spent the whole day in some film archives in London, poring over old scripts, finding evidence and writing about what interested me - which led to my best ever grade. You will even miss those deadlines and lectures within a year of graduating - so make the most of it, as strange as it sounds! 

Degrees are limitless. Go to lectures outside of your timetable, explore museum and library resources, take up that innovative module or that optional language. One of my biggest academic regrets is not even considering taking a year abroad or continuing my Spanish studies. You may hate it at the time, and you may struggle, but if you're going to spend most of your waking hours working, you may as well make it enjoyable for yourself! More often than not, your grades will reflect your ambition. Appreciate your abilities - you should be proud to simply be there.

Some people aren't academic by nature - and it's ok not to be passionate, and eagerly await your graduation day from the very beginning. But uni is the best time to really love learning, and if you're that way inclined, embrace it!

7. This too shall pass

It may seem that assignments are never ending; that housemate conflicts will always be there, and that the stress of your society committee position will never stop. That's not true. One day the things which are getting you down won't exist any more. You'll never see half of the people you meet again. That mark you're feeling let down by for your module? You'll have forgotten about it within a few months. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the bad things. The stress may seem never ending, but it's important to have perspective. It will get you through the hard times. Enjoy the good things, and cherish them, and know that the negative moments will not last forever.

8. Friends for life

Many people say that the friends you make at university are the friends you have for life, and I completely agree. I made so many life-long friends as a student, and although I don't speak to a lot of people who I used to see on a daily basis, there are a few who I speak to regularly and remain very close to. Watch out for these people and cherish them. These people will become confidants, maids-of-honour, colleagues, godfathers and seasoned cocktail partners when life gets tough.

9. Enjoy your weekdays

Seriously - you will really, really miss being able to go Christmas shopping or do your weekly trip to Asda outside of peak time. Of course, the flexibility of your time depends on your chosen subject and your timetable...but most of the time, you can afford to have the occasional lie-in or enjoy the gym at its quietest. When you start working nine-to-five, you'll be shopping and travelling with the masses, and you won't be able to enjoy a quiet coffee and cake with a friend in the middle of the afternoon. Make the most of it!

10. Enjoy it

This is the most important one of all. Everyone's university experience is different. Although I like to think my advice here could be useful to someone, it's all down to the person you are, the people you meet, and how you choose to spend your time as a student. Remember to just enjoy it, cherish it, grab all opportunities with both hands and take time to work things out for yourself. If you've chosen this path, make the most of it, and mould it to be another brilliant chapter in the story of your life.

To all of you studying at university - good luck, and ultimately... have a wonderful time! I hope you have the same amazing experience that I had.

1 comment:

  1. Music to our ears and a lovely summary of your feelings and experiences. And it doesn't have to end there..... xx