Outside The Classroom: What University Has Taught Me.

Hi guys and happy Friday. I thought I would do a slightly different post for you today to mark the end of my exams and thus the end of my time as a University student (the use of the word ‘thus’ shows it’s not out of my system just yet). I decided to look back over my 3 years at University and share with you guys a few things that I have learnt along the way. Fear not, this isn’t going to be me reciting all the Kings and Queens of England or taking you through the chronology of the Cold War. Oh no, this is going to be about the things I have learnt outside of the lecture halls. So buckle in guys and let’s get started. It’s been emotional… 

 

‘The best thing since sliced bread…’

I didn’t really need to spend £27,000 to learn this, I already knew really, but when you drunkenly call your Mum at 3am on a school night to cry down the phone to her and she answers, it really does hit home what an incredible person she is. My University experience has had its ups and downs and my Mum has stood by my side through every single moment of it. She’s helped me rationalise my drunken mistakes, get through stressful exam periods and generally reminded me every single day that there is nothing that cannot be fixed. I adore this women more than anything in the whole world and I can never thank you enough for everything she has done for me over the past 3 years, never mind the past 21!

From first year to final year… Apparently I turned into a unicorn and got better at contouring.

‘You’re not big and you’re not all that clever…’

You may have got into University Jamie but, trust me, you have proven many times over the past 3 years that you are not *that* clever. It might seem like a good idea to show off your non-existent drinking skills to your new found friends by ‘taking one for the team’ in every single game of ring of fire, but it’s really not… Luckily after a few embarrassing nights out and one fall in the middle of Tesco I did learn my lesson.

Turning 19 Vs Turning 20 Vs Turning 21

‘Actually, I don’t even like nights out…’

In first year I went out ALL the time. And by all the time, I literally do mean ALL the time. I’d say we hit a nightclub 5 times a week most weeks. Turns out, I don’t really like going out. I like a few cocktails with the girls, but a night club? Nah, not for me. It took me about a year of going out 5 times a week, spending money I didn’t have and pushing my liver to it’s very limits but, after a horrendous event over the summer of my first year, I learnt it wasn’t for me. This leads me on to my next lesson…

 

My first history ball and my last…

Maybe ‘never have a fringe’ should have been something I learnt?

‘You’re perfect. Just the way you are.’ 

At the risk of sounding all Bridget Jones on you, I really did learn that everyone is perfect just the way they are. In second year my mental health was in pieces. I had had the most difficult summer of my life and I no longer wanted to be the girl I was in first year. I couldn’t be her anymore and it took me a long time to realise that that was okay. It’s fine to like different things to people, it’s fine to not ‘fit in’. I learnt that when you have the confidence to be ‘you’ you never have to pretend to people. Since learning this I have met friends that are like me and that support me in everything I do. Turns out Colin Firth was right. Who could have ever doubted Mr Darcy? 

‘If you need help, just ask.’ 

With regards to my mental health, as mentioned, second year was really tough. I had been to counselling prior for a few session and at the end of first year was feeling really good, but by second year I really didn’t think I was going to make it through the year. I really did need help and this experience taught me that there is no shame in that. I went back to the counsellor and I went to see my Doctor. In asking for help I had thrown myself a life line and, instead of feeling like I was drowning, I kind of felt that I was treading water – it was tough but I was doing it and somehow keeping afloat.

Cosmopolitan Self Made Summit Transformation

‘It’s never too late to start over.’ 

By third year, I had changed a lot. I was no longer the girl desperate to fit in and chucking back every last shot going just to avoid been dubbed the ‘boring one’. I was being me. This was all well and good but I went into final year pretty much completely alone. I had been lucky enough to get a room back on campus (very last minute) but I knew no one and the way I saw it, no one wanted to know me either. Turns out this could not have been further from the truth. This year has been the best year of my whole University experience. I have made some incredible friends and experienced things I never thought I would have been capable of. I trained as a personal trainer and got my physical and mental health back on track. I got an internship in my dream company and I bagged myself another for next year working with my favourite magazine going – Cosmopolitan. It really is never to late to start over. I was totally on my own. 9 months on and I am the happiest I have ever been. If you’re not happy with something, don’t let fear stop you from changing it.

 

I like to think I have also learnt how to take better selfies… 

‘Things really do get better.’ 

If I take one thing away from my University experience it will be this – things really do get better. It doesn’t happen over night, it can take a really bloody long time, but it happens. When I look back at the person I was a year ago today I would have never thought I could be where I am now. I know that sounds cliched but I honestly couldn’t – I was at a point at which I genuinely did not believe I was ever going to recover. But I did. I’ve never been as happy as I am right now and no matter how hard things get I will always remember the journey I have been on to get to where I am now and it will always serve as a reminder to me that things really do get better.

diss

Dissertation deadline day! Cheers to that. 

University really has taught me a lot. From trivial things like the fact I actually really like coffee, to hugely profound and life changing revelations that have changed me as a person (not that finding out I like coffee hasn’t been life changing because, let’s be honest, where would my Instagram be without a pumpkin spiced latte?). I will take the lessons I have learnt over the past few years with me on my next journey, and I have no doubt I will learn a lot more along the way… 

Jamie x 

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