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University: Expectations versus Reality

blogger, university, advice, motivation, inspiration, freshers week, style

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BAKER STREET, LONDON

I spent two years waiting patiently for university. From the day I turned 17 and could see university at sight – it was one of the only things on my mind. There was so much that I couldn’t wait for – more so than anything, I couldn’t wait for the the freedom. Not just in the sense of being free from authority, but feeling free in my surroundings. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone, but suddenly I knew I’d be somewhere in central London meeting new people, doing new things, and going to new places everyday. It’s funny, because I feel like I waited for so long, and just like that it was done and over in a flash. This summer, it’ll be two years since I graduated – two years! I’ve done an expectations versus reality post for post-uni life, but thought I would shift it back a few years and do the same for university itself. Let’s just say, it didn’t quite match my expectations…

 

blogger, university, advice, motivation, inspiration, freshers week, style

blogger, university, advice, motivation, inspiration, freshers week, style

I expected to be handed a plate of eligible bachelors… but the plate I got was empty
When I came to university I literally expected a plate – I repeat, a plate – of eligible bachelors to be on the table. I grew up and went to school in the boarder of greater London where it really wasn’t very diverse or varied, and all the guys I knew were pretty immature; now I was on my way to a world class university in the heart of a diverse central London, I thought I would even have too much choice. That said, I ended my first year of university single as a pringle, all I had on my resume was a 3 short months of seeing someone who wasn’t even very nice, and actually went to university miles away from London (I know, how did I manage to do that?) I learned that it really wasn’t as easy to meet someone as I thought it would be. For one, physical attraction plays a part, and away from physical attraction comes a whole load of other characteristics to look out for – are they smart? Are they driven? Are they friendly? And perhaps most importantly – do we even, genuinely “click”?

I came back into my second year of university and this time I came in with a plan B – LSE hadn’t worked out, so I added UCL and Imperial onto my list of applicable candidates (the short list of top-uni-only boys is another story on it’s own – don’t worry guys, I’m way more open minded now). Heck, I even found myself at a King’s College uni’s “Take Me Out” themed night hoping someone would do just that for me! Eventually I got over the whole obsession of meeting someone ASAP and just left life do its thing. What’s meant to be will be after all, and in the end, I met Levi in late 2014.

 

I thought I would be the dumbest person in all my classes… but turns out I’m smarter than I thought
I’ll never forget sitting in an introductory lecture for my course, and the lecturer implying that we shouldn’t quite expect to be “top of the class” anymore. I sort of questioned whether I could handle university at all (and you’d think that would have motivated me not to revise last minute in my 1st year, well…)

During school I did pretty well, and typically I’d be competing for one of the top spots in my year across subjects, but I figured that was likely the case for most people at my uni, and I wondered if I was surrounded by a bunch of folks that were all genuinely smarter than me when it came to academics (As and A*s definitely aren’t so impressive when it turns out that’s the same story for everyone else at your uni). The truth was – university was very hard, in fact some of the modules I took fall into being some of the hardest things I’ve ever done (e.g. Finance also know as The Devil). But I managed, and on a whole, I managed pretty well. Turns out I wasn’t a complete idiot – albeit I was surrounded my a sea of geniuses.

blogger, university, advice, motivation, inspiration, freshers week, style

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I thought I would have the time of my life
Actually, I did that.

Perhaps this is the one area where university actually lived up to expectations – it honestly was one of the best experiences of my life (so far). I speak to people sometimes who have a few regrets around their university experience and just wish they had spent it doing more and having more fun, but I was so aware that the 3 years would be gone in a flash and hence I was lazer focused on making the most of it. I attended societies, I joined the committee of societies, I was an editor for my university’s newspaper and an ambassador for The Economist, I met lots of fab people and made lots of fab friends, I traveled to other universities to visit my home friends, I lived walking distance from Covent Garden for three years, I learnt, I grew and I went out a f*ck loads (especially in my first year). Because of that, I’ve rarely had university regrets and I’ve especially never had the classic regret of wishing I had enjoyed myself more because I honestly had the time of my life.

 

I thought getting a job would be super easy, but that sh*t’s hard!
I sort of thought, with a good uni on your resume and some good grades to hand – getting a job would be easy peasy. Personally, I was very lucky when it came to getting my job. The first internship I applied to – I got it (but let’s keep in mind that the others I had applied to around the same time, where I was rejected from all but one). After that internship, the firm fast tracked me to their assessment centre for a longer term internship, and a few days after I interviewed for that, I happened to get fast tracked by SEO very last minute to an assessment centre for another longer term internship at the firm I work at now (I think someone else had dropped out). Turns out, I got rejected from the first application (and was devastated), but managed to secure the second (with some other places I had applied to never getting back to me at all). With work and getting a job, it’s all about starting early (getting in the experience as soon as you can), and volume is also important (just, apply). I can honestly say that even now, I do not understand how the general recruitment process works at all, but what I can say is that none of it seems very logical, and a lot of it seems like it’s just… luck. It’s really not as simple as experience + grades + personality = job. And at times recruiters can get it very wrong. It’s more reason just to never really get discouraged – there’s little to no logic in it, so you might as well just keep going – what’s meant to be, will be.

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I had so much time to achieve and do so much! … But I spent most of it in bed
I blog more, do more and am more organised now than I ever was in university. And I work 12 hours a day now! During uni, I could barely even get out of bed to make it on time to a 9am lecture, and going to the gym more than once or twice a week was a true struggle, and because of this, I was truly terrified about how I would cope when I started work. But it was easier to adjust than I thought, and in the space of just over a year, work has actually given me some really great qualities. For one, I am organised AF – I wake up early, I work efficiently, and I go to the gym now 5 times a week. I prioritise my health and fitness versus random stints of starvation in the week leading up to a beach holiday. I also spend a lot more time developing other projects – I blog more regularly now, I focus on quality, I’ve grown my social media platforms, and I work on other side hustles alongside this which I speak about a lot less. To top it all off, work has made me super hardworking, a quality I only previously had during exam period. That all said, I no longer have all the time in the world, I have actually a true lack of this – so I guess when life calls for you to get your sh*t together, you just do.

Did your university experience live up to expectations?

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One Response to "University: Expectations versus Reality"

Definitely going through the job search now and it is SO hard?! Noone told me haha. I’m exactly the same I thought if you go to a good uni, have good grades and some work experience how will I not get a job …. oh how wrong I have been!
http://www.susanetc.co.uk

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February 19, 2018 at 09:59 Susan


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