THE SCHOOL OF LIFE
This week marked the end of my three year undergraduate degree at King’s College London. Though I still have essays and a hefty dissertation to write, I never have to attend a Comparative Literature seminar again in my life, and wow, that feels good. If you’ve been reading my blog for longer than a few weeks, you’ll know how much I’ve hated my undergraduate degree, because I haven’t stopped going on about it! It’s been the hardest time in my life, and I’m relieved to put it behind me. While I’ve learned a whole lot about philosophy, semiotics and literary theory, more than anything else, my time at university has taught me valuable life lessons. I’ve learned a lot about not only myself, but others, too. I’ve learned something more about the way the world works and what’s important during our short time on this little blue planet out in the universe somewhere. To celebrate finishing this chapter of my life, I wanted to share some of those life lessons with you today. Here are 5 life lessons I learned at university.
HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS
Expectations follow us around everywhere. What that person will think, what this event will be like, how that exam will go etc. However, during my entire time at university, my expectations have never once been accurate. I like to think I have a crystal ball, so I can always tell how a situation will go, or how people will perceive me, but my time at university has forced me to face up the fact that I can’t predict the future. Freshers’ week was nothing like I expected, my grades aren’t anywhere near what I thought they would be at this point, and I’m leaving university pursuing an entirely different career path to what I originally had in mind. Living life in the shadow of expectations limits us so much, and it’s something I’m leaving behind with this undergraduate degree.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ARE EVERYWHERE
At any point during my degree, I or at least one person I knew were suffering with mental health problems. Whether a fleeting, manageable condition or a severe, long term issue, mental health problems are everywhere, and this is something I only discovered since starting university. Mental health wasn’t even something I was aware of before the age of 18, and I often think back to how I reacted to difficulties my friends were having as teenagers with sadness. I’ve learned that mental health problems are issues of real concern – sometimes more than physical ones – and I will always react with patience and understanding to anybody who chooses to disclose to me that they are struggling in the future.
BEING ALONE IS AWFUL
Due to course changes and living arrangements, making friends is something I found very difficult during my degree, and I’m leaving university with only a very small handful. Where I was used to being surrounded by a huge group of people I loved at college, I have spent most of my undergraduate degree alone. I have struggled immensely with loneliness, and it has made me deeply unhappy. If it weren’t for my boyfriend, I’m not sure how I would have coped. However, it shouldn’t have been that way, so for that reason, I will always make an effort to let somebody who’s feeling lonely know that they have a friend in me, regardless of whether we’ve only just met or we’ve known one another for years. Nobody should have to be alone. So, any takers?
BEING ALONE IS GREAT
Conversely, being alone can be the best thing in the world sometimes. Some of my fondest memories of my first year at university are of long walks through the city at twilight, alone with my thoughts and the wildlife of St. James’s Park. If it hadn’t been for my loneliness, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now, and I certainly wouldn’t be nearing 2000 subscribers on my beloved YouTube channel. Having so much time alone has allowed me to grow creatively and explore new paths in life. Now I’m living with my family again, I sorely miss those evenings when I could write music until the early hours, eating late and letting my imagination run wild without having to take other people into account. A bit of selfishness is something we should all make a bit of time for now and again!
LIFE IS TOO SHORT NOT TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE
After three years of doing so, I can confidently say that living a life you hate is not living at all. A 7th of my time on this planet has been spent pursuing something I wasn’t interested in or inspired by, and I’ve got the resulting mental health problems to show how damaging it’s been. Of course, we all have to do things we don’t like sometimes, but that shouldn’t be a daily reality. Find something you love, and stick with it. Do it whenever you have a spare moment. Make it your reality. When you’re lying on your deathbed, you don’t want your dying thoughts to be: ‘I wish I’d given it a go’. It sounds like a cliche, but I believe in it with all my heart and soul, I really do. Pursue your dreams, or you’ll live a life of regret.
WHAT I’M WEARING
For a post in celebration of my last week at university, I decided on a classic student look. It doesn’t get much more casual than a striped tee, dungarees and Converse. I’ve teamed all that with my khaki utility jacket, which is actually over five years old, but it’s stood the test of time, and I’m really pleased they’re back in this summer season. Finally, I love a good drawstring backpack, and pairing it with geeky oversized glasses was a brave move, but it injects a little bit more personality into an otherwise extremely vanilla look. Add a Starbucks caramel frappuccino for the perfect accessory. Happy studenting!
SHOP THE POST
Did you go to university? What life lessons did you take away from the experience?