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Friday, 15 July 2016

Things University Taught Me

Hello hello, now graduation is over, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a blog post about things university taught me. I honestly didn't think I'd get through the long four years at university, I had so many positive experiences, some negative but mainly, positive. University is a huge life-step, it changed me as a person, I met life-changing people and because of it, I had life changing experiences. You're told to go to university and to be honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I applied, I just knew I wanted to go. Final year was the hardest struggle of all, but I somehow, am now a graduate from The University Of Leeds and will forever feel proud that I stuck with it, even with family difficulties and whilst juggling two full time businesses. Before I start, I'd just like to say, The University Of Leeds is phenomenal, incredibly supportive and the campus will always feel like home to me. I am so happy I chose to go to Leeds. It was tough and there were times I honestly thought I'd need to drop out, but eventually, I did it, whilst juggling everything and almost breaking down a few times. If I can do it with everything that was going on, you definitely can! So, let's talk about a few things university taught me! Whether you're applying for university, about to go, or have graduated, hopefully you'll like this post and can relate.

It wont be what you expected - No-one can get you ready for University. Colleges/6th forms/schools can give you as many leaflets and booklets as they like but it isn't something you can really prepare for, you get put in a house full of strangers and no longer have someone holding your hand. That first night, alone, in a random bed away from home with strangers? You've just got to get on with it! It's daunting but it's worth it, trust me, it'll make you so independent! Since, I've travelled parts of the world by myself - something I honestly couldn't even imagine doing before university, but somehow, it gave me the confidence. 

You’ll learn to be independent - More on the independence side, nothing made me more independent than university. I absolutely love my home but moving away and living by myself/with friends is way better. My biggest piece of advice is to move out when going to university, for me, it made the experience so much better and really helped me to grow as a person. As most of you know, I lived in Canada for a year, that was the most insane year of my life. Getting on a plane by myself and travelling alone for the first time. Now, I fly by myself to different countries on a monthly basis. The girl who stood in Manchester airport that day, teddy in one hand, crying her eyes out, leaving her loved ones behind - that was me! I did it and I've built my confidence skills so much by pushing myself into the deep end. You can read more about that here. 

University is so much more than just 'the degree' - University really isn't just about the subject/degree, it's about the life skills and people skills you get from it. Obviously the degree matters, so work hard for it but still, you'll learn so much along the way which isn't just things you learn from studying, e.g., how to cook and how to handle so many different types of people. You'll also learn how to fend for yourself. 

It is what you make of it - I've written many blog posts about university, you can read them here - 10 things I wish someone told me before starting university, here - top university tips and here - choosing which university to go to. If you remember these posts, you'll know I had quite a bad starting time in my first year because I was basically in the worst accommodation, it wasn't the worst in terms of aesthetics, it was beautiful but unfortunately it was just really unsociable. I will forever feel like I missed out on making my own little friendship group because I was stuck with no girls and a few guys. My biggest piece of advice: join societies, get involved. Don't keep your head down like I did. I was so busy trying to blog in my first year of university that I didn't focus on friendship. 

Home will feel so luxurious - No matter how nice your accommodation is, home will always feel amazing when you do go back to it! Toilet paper? Sunday roasts? Yes please! There's something about Mums cooking that just cannot be beaten! 

You’ll meet at least one incredible person - I learnt that actually, whilst I have't walked away with 100 friends, I have walked away with a few quality friends for life and that's what really matters (you may remember this if you read my blog post about friendships).  I also, met my boyfriend at university, if I didn't go, that would never have happened, or, if I dropped out, we may never have fallen for each other. We were best friends for a long time and met in first year and then finally in our final year, got together and I am so happy about this. They say you're meant to meet your 'soul mate' at university which is pretty pressurising, but, some of my friends did meet their boyfriends and best friends via societies and even on apps, there are so many discovery apps which can help you to meet likeminded people due to location settings, one of my friends has a long term boyfriend and is now engaged after meeting her boyfriend through an app and it turned out he was in the same halls as us. The location flagged up on the app and before we knew it, they were dating. How crazy is that. Funnily enough, it wasn't Tinder though, it was Badoo! They say you're supposed to meet your soul mate at University and there are so many people at the same University, you've just got to get stuck in! If you are a single pringle and wanting to play around, Badoo has anti-catfishing technology with the introduction of a selfie request function, hilarious but pretty smart. One thing that struck me at my graduation is just how many people I didn't meet whilst at university. Obviously, you can't meet everyone and I'm a big believer in fate, but how do I know that my future husband wasn't sat across from me one day on campus and I never even said hi!? Haha, my point is, I just wish I made a bit more effort to get to know people more, so definitely don't disregard the social aspect of university. 

You'll lose friends and gain friends - Much like you'll meet people, you'll realise certain people aren't for you. You can't force friendships. I don't speak to some people I thought were friends for life in my first year. Equally, don't judge people. People at university don't necessarily have to be like your friends from home, I came to university and actually made friends whom in high school I probably wouldn't have been friends with but I'm open minded and if someone is nice to me and we get on, I'll probably end up being friends with them! I learnt a lot about friends and what really matters whilst at university, you can read my blog post about the importance of good friends here.

You'll definitely pick up new hobbies! - It sounds crazy, but things like loving cooking and working out more, I became a complete domestic goddess when I went to university and actually, because everyone is so active at university, it also helped nurture my love for working out! I went to The Edge gym at Leeds University and it is incredible, I went for almost three years and worked out pretty much four times a week there. I've never found such incredible classes, it became my second home. Spinning is my favourite! So if you are going to Leeds, please do me a favour and go to the spin classes there to carry on my legacy as top spinner haha! 

You can juggle anything and everything - University definitely taught me that you can be resilient, you can get through anything! Whether that's break ups, arguments with friends or, going to a 9am lecture on two hours sleep. It's all part of it!

Dress - online here (you can get it in loads of different colours here too) / Shoes - online here and here / Hair - Lee at Sassoon Leeds / Make Up - Chloe at Space NK Leeds / Brows - Benefit / Nails by Nails Inc / - a full blog post about my graduation day is coming really soon!

Thank you for reading!

I hope you liked this quick little post about university. I'd love to know about your experiences? Have you been to university? Do you want to go? Talk to me! 

*I worked with Badoo on this post but as always, 100% my honest opinion. 

Lots of love, Em x

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