University is a great and life changing experience. Even though I wouldn’t change it for the world (I met my soulmate at University and my life changed for the better) here are five things that I wish I had known before I started!
What I wanted to be when I grew up
When I started to look for universities, I wasn’t in the best position. I had left home half way through my A Levels, so I sort of saw University as the next step. I had no idea what I wanted from life, what career I wanted to take up. Now that I have finished my degree, even though I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved, I still look back and slightly regret that I did not make an informed decision about my future. I literally chose the subject I was achieving the highest grades in at A Level. Now I’m older and wiser, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to pursue the career I want. Ideally, I would like to help others and wish I had done something like Occupational Therapy at University instead. I would love to go back and study again, but now just is not the right time.
How to Budget
I think every student learns this the hard way. As you receive Loan and Maintenance grants once every three months or so, you’re like “Damn, I’m Rich”, but the harsh reality is that once you’ve been shopping, paid three months’ worth of rent, bills and other expenses, there really isn’t much left to play with. I was lucky enough to find a job while I was in my second year, so I lived off my weekly wages once the big things had been taken care of, but the late nights took their toll and I eventually started to miss lectures on a Thursday morning. It’s a catch 22, you have to work to live but studying full time it is near impossible when you have no financial support from family.