Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks


Friday 27 September 2019

University Regrets - How To Get The Most Out Of University

university of Leeds graduation

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Whether you’re starting University, going back to University or like me, you’re done with University *sob* (low key thought about applying to do a masters in New York recently purely so I can move there but that’s another story for another day HA). I’ve done a few of these University posts over the years including the motivation for deadlines/essays at University, how to get the most out of University and my most recent, everything about the University experience and even a video called the things they don’t tell you about University but hopefully this reflective post about my time at University, after graduating will help you get the most out of your time at University or maybe it’ll just bring back memories of your time there. I feel like every time Facebook gives me Timehop reminders of my time at Uni I come up with more regrets or happy memories of University so hopefully this blog post will help you. This year for the first time ever I genuinely feel emotional about it all being over.
Toronto blue jaysMake Friends In Your Halls Of Residence - I clicked the geo-tag on Instagram to see what was going on at my Halls Of Residence the other week and I saw lots of mini me’s running around, doing their freshers weeks, just like I would have been doing a few years ago during this time period. Firstly, we didn’t even have geo-tagging when I was at University, this was only a few years ago but even Instagram was barely a thing. It made me sad but also happy that I made such good memories, as my Mum always says, it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. I bring this up quite a lot but for my first few weeks of University I had a boyfriend from back home and it massively held me back in terms of making friends, I was also running my blog alongside that and I was so driven with it so I guess I probably just had a little bit too much on my plate and actually should have ditched the boyfriend immediately (I got there in the end ha) and put the blog down for a while whilst I focused on bonding with my flatmates. I actually ended up making best friends with the guys in my flat and whilst we don't speak anymore (another sob) they definitely made my first year. The hardest thing for me is that everyone in my halls seemed to know someone from school and I didn’t, it got very clicky very quickly but now I meet people in my industry who were also in my halls of residence and also had the same experience of me, proving that I should have put myself out there more and tried to make friends with these people. I guess going back now as a 25 year old I’d be more confident!

First Year Is Your Best Year - Not to put a downer on it but honestly, first year is so much fun, I just went out, ate McDonalds, made friends, had a laugh. It really was fun. It was my first ever time living away from home and everything was such a novelty. I felt so mature but looking back I was so young. I still worked pretty hard during first year as I wanted to do a year abroad (my boyfriend at the time pushed me to do it and I am eternally grateful to him for this because there’s no way I’d have had the balls without him). But soak first year up, because you only get it once! It depends what University you’re at but at the University Of Leeds grades don’t count in first year as they realise it’s more about finding your feet and settling in.

Try Not To Be Intimidated - I found the University of Leeds in particular quite intimidating as there were SO many people from such incredible backgrounds around me, who already had their ready made group of friends from boarding school and didn't even want to look at me. I just sat by myself, quietly in lectures wanting the ground to swallow me up. I really wish I’d have just been a little more confident and made friends with people and realised we are all on a level playing field and no-one is better than anyone. It was so intimidating hence why I probably ended up making besties with the guys in my halls instead.

Make Use Of Student Discount - As I sit here this very moment Topshop have 25% student discount and as I sit here, I’ve blown £650 on said website. Oh how I miss my student discount! I guess when I was at University I was not blowing £650 on clothes (which is weird because I was probably better off at Uni, living off beans in a gorgeous but affordable Leeds apartment in comparison to blowing thousands on a London apartment ha) but seriously, I sit and look at the student discount and realise it genuinely makes a big difference so if you’re lucky to have it, use it and enjoy it ha! Some of my friends at Uni loved fashion and would blow all their student loans on Reiss every month, I was so boring and organised, my Mum had separate accounts for my loan that I couldn’t see and I worked two part time jobs so I had the money to socialise. I was the only person who did a part time job pretty much in my halls so the FOMO was real when I had to go to work but it definitely stood me in good stead for the future. If you’re shopping, check out my dreamy best Autumn high street wardrobe pieces. 


Do A Year Abroad (or year in industry) - Yes you might be scared but honestly it’s the only year of your life really, ever, where you’re going to be completely care free and just live your life (unless you do a gap YAAAR of course, or just take a year off life entirely to travel). For me it was definitely the only year of my life where I could just move abroad, meet new people and finally feel fulfilled University wise. I met best friends for life and had the added bonus of a boyfriend on a year abroad too, meaning I got to visit different places with him too. Even though we are not together anymore, I hold this year of my life so close to my heart, it really does ache my heart thinking about how care free and happy I was. It was the only year of my life where I could be completely care free and just soak up life. I made memories for life and I’d say my year abroad was way better than my time at actual University. Going back to University for final year after my year abroad was horrendous and it all came crashing down after that haha, that's the only downside, you have to go back to reality after and I've definitely spent some time grieving the year I wont ever get back but I try to remain positive about how special it was. You can read my blog post with all the details about doing a study abroad year at University if you missed that.

Stay In Touch With Your Friends After - I always get a pang of sadness when I see photos from my freshers week and realise I honestly do no speak to a single person from that part of my life anymore. I never had any major fall outs with any of them, I guess time just moves on but I am so sad not to speak to those people and one thing I’d say is when real life starts after University, try make a conscious effort to see those people you had such amazing memories with. I’d love to rekindle with some of those friends I shared my first year of University with because that was such a fun year.

university of leeds

Keep Your Fitness Up - In my first year I worked out, but not half as much as my second year, I really ramped it up then. I realised I couldn’t live on McDonalds and vodka every day so I started spinning at The Edge at the University Of Leeds, honestly keeping my fitness up was the best thing because University massively takes it’s toll on your body. Generally you’re eating badly, having late nights, early mornings, you’re stressed (when second year comes it’s like WOW THIS IS HARD WORK) so honestly going to the gym kept my mind and body sane. It's all about finding a routine and schedule that works for you. Spin was quick and easy to get done but really sweaty too which is a bonus. For the rest of my time at University I got a gym membership at David Lloyd Leeds which is officially one of the best gyms I’ve been to, they do the most amazing classes and I’d just drive over in my free periods. I wish they did their Blaze classes when I was at University, they only launched about a year ago and you have to check them out if you're lucky enough to have a David Lloyd near you, the best classes, ever! 

Say Yes To Things - I found myself saying no to a lot of things, invites, parties, events as my time at University went on. I was settled in my friendship group, settled with my boyfriend, focused on dividing my time between them, running a business, spending free time in London running said business and trying to pass my degree. I really think it’s important to say yes to opportunities and things, in hindsight, I wish I grabbed all the social opportunities and other opportunities because then I would have probably come out with even more friends for life and memories. I’m forever walking past people or meeting people who said they went to Leeds Uni and I’m forever thinking ‘ah we could have been best friends’ but we never even spoke because I was too busy doing other stuff. If I could go back to University I’d have got stuck in a lot more, particularly with societies as that’s how so many people made friends outside of their halls of residences. At least I said yes to my year abroad! That’s one good thing I did haha. 

university advice

Balance Is Key - I talk about balance a lot but balance really is key when it comes to University, whether you’re balancing out seeing your boyfriend and seeing your friends or balancing out work and play. I could have put everything into getting a first class degree but I was busy trying to run a business and lead a good relationship with my boyfriend at the time, I was also going through turmoil at home, it was a really tough experience and actually, I’m so proud of myself for even getting through my degree because I almost dropped out on two occasions from sheer upset of what was going on at home. I think it's so important that you play hard but work hard too but equally, don't kill yourself to get 100% on every module because it's better to come out with a good, solid degree and life skills too. University is about more than just the actual degree. 

mount royal montreal

It Goes So Quickly - University flies by, it's a chapter of your life and before you know it, you're done, no longer speaking to the people you made such amazing memories with, living in different countries, doing your own jobs. Soak it up whilst you're there and make the most of it!

Talk To Someone - University can be really lonely some days, I’d have moments where I’d just cry in first year (vodka doesn’t help FYI, it actually always made me cry, stick to gin or tequila!) as I just felt alone and also, I was going through so much in first year with my family. I stupidly didn’t really talk to anyone about it, it even took me a long time to open up to my ex boyfriend about what I was going through because I felt so ashamed. I remember being sat in my kitchen sobbing and all my friends got home from their lectures and I didn’t have the heart to tell them what was going on as I thought they would all judge me for having such a f***d up home life. Whilst first year was so much fun, I was shouldering a lot of pain and it’s only really now, years on that I’m facing into what I was going through.

My poor boyfriend at the time would wake up with me crying next to him (I bet he is so glad I’m gone now, what a nightmare) and I didn’t even have the explanation for why I was so sad, but I was just going through some terrible things.

My main piece of advice is please talk to someone, if someone judges you it says more about them, than you. It can be hard at University when everyone around you seems as if they have perfect lives but if someone is going to be a true friend to you, they will help you through it! I remember one of my flatmates sleeping next to me in bed and cuddling me to sleep when (same boyfriend) broke up with me at the start of our relationship. I’ve never felt pain like it and I am so grateful to her for literally hugging me to sleep when I couldn’t sleep. Moral of the story: a problem shared is a problem halved! If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend, I know Leeds Uni had some great counselling opportunities and whilst I didn’t go, I did speak to some trusted adults within my school (institute of communications) and I just broke down telling them everything I was going through, but they really helped and gave me extended deadlines, so if you are struggling, there are people who will and can help you. 

So there we have it, some of my regrets about my time at University and ways to get the most out of University. I hope this University advice blog post may help you! Did you go to University? Are you there right now? 

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Lots of love, Em x

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