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Valuable Life Lessons You Learn By Accident At Uni

Think you do all your learning in the lecture halls or library during uni? Think again. The trials and tribulations of housemates, deadlines, one-to-one chats, nights out, being skint and starting afresh in a brand new city teach us all a huge amount of important life lessons at uni. Here are the most obvious of the pack and how they can benefit you in your 20’s and beyond. 

Independence Is Everything 

Before you went to uni, if someone challenged you to travel across the country on public transport, on a bank holiday, with a suitcase, two bags and a Tesco meal deal – you’d have said no thanks. But now, pah! You can navigate train timetables, organise all your washing and download a podcast to listen to while nabbing the last window seat and remembering to download your rail card. Same goes for budgeting for food and fun stuff. Independence is everything. 

Financial Freedom is Key 

Speaking of budgeting, this may be the most valuable life lesson you learn at uni. Having battled through first year and experiencing the student loan countdown, you fully understand that financial freedom is worth its weight in gold. Learning to budget and being thrifty when you need to, both help to free up cash for the gigs, dates, drinks, trips, clothes and making memories. In all fairness, not everyone gets the hang of this one in first year, or second year, but keep trying. It’s so worth it.

Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

No One Has It All Figured Out

A survey by The New College of Humanities found that, in 2014, only half of all graduates were working in their degree field, with 96% switching career before they turned 24. Seriously, no one knows what they’re doing. Well, maybe the med students but that’s not a career, that’s a vocation. So don’t feel any pressure when it comes to having it all worked out. Have fun, show up, make lasting memories and enjoy the ride. 

Don’t Take Stuff Personally 

Lecturers don’t hate you. Your study group doesn’t think you’re bossy, the girl down the hall isn’t looking at you funny and the maintenance guy isn’t bothered you lost your key again, he gets paid by the call-out anyway. Seriously, do yourself a favour and accept that everyone is so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t have the time to concentrate on you and your stuff. It’s not personal. This one translates into the world of work too. 

You Get Out What You Put In

Hangovers, degree results, relationships, friendships, physical health, mental health. It may be easier to bounce back from the three-day benders at uni but, come third year, you may slowly realise that it’s perfectly acceptable to set a limit and wake up feeling human the following day. Fresh air and sunlight, good food, fun times, enough rest and relaxation and keeping stress to a minimum. You are technically a house plant and, if you’ve read this far, you’ll know these minimum standards result in a fine Japanese Peace Lily at the very least. Look after yourself, set minimum standards and, wherever possible, get into natural light. 

Read next: Planning your gap year and where to begin

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Kate is a Journalism and creative writing lecturer and sports journalist. From the BBC red carpet to Premier League PR via creative copy for Greggs, she is a modern April O’Neil with a passion for all things Comic Con.