University is a passage of rites from childhood to adulthood, the point at which the young fledgeling flies the nest and leaves behind the safety net of home. It cannot be understated how big a step university is because, while it is still education, it is not as you know it.
Lecturers are not the same as teachers, they will not chase you up on work or why you missed a session. As far as they are concerned, you can miss every lecture – it’s your time and money you are wasting, not theirs. At school, you live by a set weekly schedule of lessons in a six-hour day whereas, at university, you may have only a single lecture in the day and find yourself with lots of so-called ‘free time’.
To succeed at university, you have to be highly dedicated in various different aspects of life. You cannot slack on your studies – whatever you have heard about never-ending parties simply isn’t true, at least for those that do succeed. Away from university, you also have to earn your own way in life – that means landing and holding down a job around your studies.
Students, as a consequence of little to no experience, must be willing to accept entry-level jobs at best. That means be willing to work jobs that possibly aren’t the most glamorous, not being afraid to get your hands dirty, and be more than willing to serve customers instead of partying with friends on a Friday and Saturday night. After all, now you have bills and actual responsibilities that aren’t going to take care of themselves.
Coming of Age
Heading to university truly is a coming of age, which is why it is important that you select the right one for you and what you hope to achieve. If you are currently in the middle of deciding which university you would like to go to and wondering how to pick, our advice is simple – go with your heart and not your friends.
Many students make the fatal decision of following their friends, only to later discover that university life is so much more than school life. You will meet new people and make new friends with similar interests. You don’t want to be the one who followed a friend, only to be left behind in a strange city playing catch-up, do you?
Instead, aim for the university that is best suited to you – perhaps that could even mean acceptance into Oxbridge or another prestigious university. If that is a realistic target, then make sure to study hard and chase your dreams, rather than follow someone else’s.
You are standing on your own two feet at university; there is no running back home to mummy and daddy. The first few weeks will be hard as you adjust to life without the safety net that, up until now, had been there to catch you when you fall. It gets easier and you will be mixing with other people in the same boat as you.
From living at home with your family, you will likely find yourself sharing living space with complete strangers that, over time, will become your new adopted family. It is important to make an effort with your new roommates; otherwise you may find university a lonely place to be. Be thoughtful and be as sociable as possible without hampering your studies – it’s very easy to get the balance wrong.
Moving out and heading to university will be one of the hardest and challenging things you will do, but it is equally the most rewarding. You will make lifelong friends and will grow more in the years you spend at university than you ever did at school or college. Be prepared to find things hard, but always know that loved ones are never more than a phone call away.