10 things I’ve learnt after 3 years at university

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Whenever somebody tells you that your three years at university will fly by, listen to them – they’re right! My time at university has gone quicker than I could’ve ever imagined. But, despite being there for what feels like a short period of time, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons. Here are 10 things I’ve learnt after 3 years at university.

Be open minded to trying new things

If I never left my comfort zone, I’d have never had some of the amazing experiences I’ve had at Manchester. Whether it’s joining a society, taking a module outside of your discipline, applying for volunteering opportunities or internships – don’t be afraid to try new things! Some of my best experiences came around unexpectedly, so as long as you remain open minded to trying things out then you might just surprise yourself and find a new interest!

Don’t compare yourself to others

It’s so easy to compare yourself to others in the university environment. Whether it’s in terms of grades, happiness, money, social lives, or whatever else you define success as, it’s so easy to get caught up in making comparisons between yourself and others. Take it from me – there is no point at all! Remember, everybody does university life differently – there is no one size fits all. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters!

Overthinking gets you nowhere!

Similar to the above, but I’ve certainly been guilty of overthinking unnecessarily. Over the past three years though, I’ve slowly realised that it gets you nowhere! Try not to worry about things that you can’t control. And remember, if it’s something that is in your control, then all that you can do is your best in everything you do.

Always bring an umbrella

Even if it looks sunny when you set off, put an umbrella in your bag. It doesn’t take up much room, and it could save you from a severe soaking! Manchester’s weather is unpredictable…protect yourself always!

There’s no value in putting things off – get your head down and get it done!

We’ve all been there. There’s a deadline looming for an essay you really don’t want to do. You put it off, the thought of starting it filling you with dread. Throughout university, I’ve learnt that putting things off only makes it worse. Not only do you still have to do it eventually but leaving it until the last minute only brings you added stress. As hard as it is, get your head down and get it done as soon as you can! You’ll feel so much better for it.

You don’t leave university with just a degree

It goes without saying that of course university isn’t just about the degree. In most cases, you’ll leave with friends for life. But strictly from a career/professional point of view, university gives you so much more than a degree, especially if you seize every valuable opportunity that comes your way. For me, university set me off on my career pathway (and it’s a completely different one to what I had in mind a few years ago)! Without saying yes to various experiences or putting myself forward for them, I would never have discovered my current passion and interest.

I should have started going to office hours a lot sooner!

I started making the most of office hours some time in second year. In first year, I didn’t see much point given that ‘first year doesn’t count’ (ignore that. It might not count towards your final grade, but it counts in teaching you valuable lessons). I moved up a full grade since I started using office hours, and I only wish I’d have used them sooner!

Meal deals will become your new best friend (but not your bank account’s)

I’d wake up with good intentions, to make my own lunch and take it onto campus. You know where this is going…it never happened. And if it did, it wasn’t very regularly! Meal deals became my go to, and when I really wanted to treat myself, I’d head to The Market at University Place. When you can, make sure you check it out!

Go with your gut

I’m a big believer in gut instincts! When I decided to live at home in first year and commute to university, I would often worry about fitting in and making friends. Deep down though, it felt like the right thing to do for me, and it was something I was happy with. Moral of that story is to go with your gut. Do whatever feels right for you, and the rest will fall into place.

Manchester really is special!

And last, but never least, my time at university has emphasised just how special Manchester really is. As a girl growing up in Greater Manchester, I always knew this, but being on campus is completely different, and that Manchester spirit and sense of community really hits home again. It’s this that I’ll miss the most about my time at UoM!

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