Not everyone will agree on these and obviously it depends what you studied. I studied an extremely creative subject; it was fun, rewarding and I learnt a lot however there are definite things that I feel university didn’t teach me and has somewhat hindered me when it comes to ‘real life’.
1. How to get a job
You know that old saying? Get a degree, get a job? Well it doesn’t seem to work that way anymore. Especially if you did something creative like me. You spend three or four years having the time of your life. Creating special things; doing what you love every day with almost no thought to what comes after. You assume things will fall into place even though none of your lectures are even remotely focused on what comes after. As a creative person it’s almost certain that you will not being doing something you love after you graduate at least not for a while. Perhaps if university had prepared us for normal jobs, helped us with career seminars and our tutors took the time to give us advice on future decisions we wouldn’t have felt so ‘Rabbit in the headlights’. Obviously we don’t expect this to be handed to us, life is ours to control but university should prepare you in some way for jobs outside of your subject especially if you’re going into the creative industries.
2. How to manage money.
Oh student loans, how I loved you, I thought we would be friends forever but alas it was not meant to be. I used to think being a poor student was the worst but thinking back it was great. You get money transferred into your account three times a year without having to work. At the time it is glorious. So glorious in fact that you forget that after university you will no longer be getting those glorious payment. I spent most of September this year forgetting and then remembering the fact that I was not in fact receiving a payment.
University does absolutely nothing to instill sensibility with money into you. Even if you work part time and during your summers you still know that the next loan is due soon and so you automatically don’t even think about saving. Not to mention interest free student overdrafts. Let’s not even go there. Since leaving University I have learnt about tax brackets, tax forms and rebates, the pros and cons of different Isa accounts and the best credit cards in order to get a perfect credit score. Money becomes real. Student loans become real. SHIT GETS REAL.
3. How to think (about anything important)
I don’t know if anyone can relate to this but since I left university I have found myself thinking about stuff on a much deeper level: Life, politics, religion, travel, food. You name it. I feel like at university I was conditioned to have a one track mind. ‘My subject, THE subject, the only subject that matters is YOUR subject’ everything is focused towards that. It was like I forgot I even had the capabilities to think about anything else but my subject. On some level I do believe this is a form of brainwashing. Not quite but you might know what I mean. I loved my degree but I have realized since leaving that there is more to life and more to me and my brain than just that.
4. How to be on your own
If there is one thing that university is memorable for it’s the people. The people that shape you as you progress through your course. They’re with you at your best and at your very worst. They love you and hate you. There is love and drama. Some of them you leave with knowing your friendship will survive and others it may be time to leave at university, the fond and not so fond memories still intact. These people are always around: your housemates, your course mates, the people you only see on nights out and not to mention all the other hundreds of students surrounding you every day all having this shared experience.
When I left I realized very quickly that in normal life there aren’t going to be people around all the time. I had to get used to being on my own again and for a while it sucked. Obviously you still see friends, you still have people but the absence of people milling around all the time is felt. A lot more effort is needed to see people; you can no longer walk round the corner or even to the next room to see someone and everyone is so much busier now.
5. How to be an adult. On reading this back I realized that maybe I have begun to finally become an adult. The words ‘Politics, tax & savings’ have indeed been mentioned. I genuinely think about these things now. Sometimes. Ew. This is most certainly not a result of university but as a result of being flung into the real world at high speed. Although it’s hard, it is kind of great. Things are in your control now and although university didn’t do much to help you in the real word it was bloody good fun and hopefully someday soon you will get to use those skills you learnt at university to change the world or at least make a dent in it.
Stay Strong xoxoxo