Coffee breath, unwashed hair, sleep deprivation and looming deadlines. The only four descriptions that describe a true university experience. But this post will go into a little more detail on what you actually need to know about university other than the hookup culture and party life.
Complete Academic Independence
Do you remember how those teachers would tell you that high school is preparing them for real life? Surprise to no one, that’s a lie.
University is the only educational system that will give you the best taste of adult life while still attending school. This is purely because of the independence that comes with it. Every quiz, assignment and exam needs to be scheduled with your own time management skills. Lecturers and professors have their own things to do and they will never run around, telling you when everything is due.
You might have those occasional nice teachers who will give you a heads up but for the most part, you are wholly responsible for your work. Because the work culture is like this, there will be times where you forget certain assignments. It might not be large assignments but little quizzes here and there. I remember missing a quiz on my first year and getting a panic attack so keep your assignments organized.
Balancing social life and workload
If you’re a full time student who actually wants to get a degree, forget about this. It sounds dramatic but there rings a lot of truth in it so hear me out. Those students who are planning to have this huge, eventful, party-going university lifestyle then that will imply you’re cutting through work time. The same goes the other way around.
The workload in university is no walk in the park. On average, teachers will tell you that you need to work on their particular unit for 40 hours a week in order to finish the weeks’ assigned syllabus.Yes, this is the average working hours of an adult but adults get paid for that work. University students don’t. So it’s not all the same.
Similarly, having a social life isn’t a walk in the park either. Your friends might be in different departments with differing schedules which end in a lot of cancelled plans. Or worse, you actually do hang out and you have to submit your essay two hours late. This is the constant struggle that every university student has felt at least once in their life.
The only way to deal with this is to be honest with yourself. Set out your true intentions on sitting here in university. My goal was to get a degree and start building on my career right afterwards because my career path is under self-employment. So I’m not going to spend those three years fooling around too much for me to end up failing. Your intentions might be different. Maybe you want to do part-time university and part-time work. Maybe you’re a full-time student but you’re not in any rush to go to the work world because your degree allows immediate pathways.
Every university life will differ depending on your intentions. So figure them out so you’re comfortable with how things are going.
Credit Point Management
Always keep track of your credit points. I dove into a stress pool on my final year thinking I would need an extra semester or year just to finish my points. Don’t do what I did. Remember to organize your credit points regularly through your degree.
Every semester or during every semester break, check how far you’ve come in your course and create a future plan so you know how long you’re going to be in school. Universities generally want you to stay for as long as possible because you’re their source of money. So they’ll almost never remind you or tell you anything about your credit points unless you ask them.
Important Note: Always inquire about things. Credit points, unit confusions and anything like that because sometimes guides won’t give you everything.
College is prettier in movies
As more tertiary education options appear, universities have been turning to heavy advertising to promote their facilities. This means showing all the magical, fun-loving, romanticized tidbits on university life like it’s a scene from a movie. Of course it’s fun and you get to learn far more than you ever could in other schools but try not to get pulled by the romanticization of it all.
Be straightforward with what you need to do in your education. The gap between the development of education and the evolution of society is getting wider. We don’t have to be experts to see that. Because of this generational gap, people in this generation can’t go with the flow of traditional school life. The flow doesn’t exist if there’s a canyon in middle of it. Instead, our generation (and future generations) need to learn how to be more honest with themselves on what they actually want.
So I leave you with the final, most important note of all. If university is not for you then don’t do it. You’re not only wasting your own time but taking up space for someone who could’ve been accepted (a lot of universities have limited slots). If university is for you then do whatever you can to keep at it. Don’t give up.
It’s easier said than done but call this a manifestation of sorts. To hope that time comes to a certain point where most of us can do this and feel proud of themselves. Or at least
My college life wasn’t the movie-level eventful but I still enjoyed it more than any school I’ve been to. I got to travel on trains until I knew them by heart, I stayed out late at night for the first time and I went to my first nightclub. I got to travel to these small, secluded places for my film assignments and I got to record songs in professional studios. To top all that off, I’ve now received a full education. It wasn’t glamorous enough to be a Netflix or HBO TV show but I did what I wanted and it was the best decision I’ve made yet. I hope you go through the same too.
Good luck with all your studies and congratulations to those who have graduated!