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10 things I wish I knew and did while I was at University | strength with substance

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10 things I wish I knew and did while I was at University

May 21, 2018

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Message from Timi:-

Some of the things covered by Abi in this blog post might be obvious to some but not to others and, this is exactly why I think it’s good to allow others to share their story, especially if there’s something to be gained from it. I enjoyed reading this post and I think you will too. I can definitely relate to #6-9. 

Prologue

Naturally, a survey asking past university students about their experiences at university will generate different answers and, the same can be said of mine.

As we all know, there are numerous external factors that impact our experiences while at university. The obvious ones include our social circle, the activities and events we participated in as well as our general attitude towards university itself. That is, how open we are to the idea of fully engaging with the whole ‘university experience’.

For me personally, I have mixed feelings about my time at university.

I don’t think I’ll be ever satisfied with my time at university. 

I have to admit: academia was my first priority and everything else took a back seat. Even girls were not on my radar at all. (Most of you will think man’s gay lol). Looking back yeah, I would do things differently.

Okay so, granted, I am very happy with my academic achievements but felt like I didn’t fully explore the social side of university as much as I could have. It feels as though I deprived myself of huge experience. If I had the opportunity to start all over again, this will be one of the things I would change. 

Anyway, that’s enough of that. This is a list of some of the things I wish I knew or did while I was studying in university:

1. Explore the city more

My university was in Sheffield (England) and, was my home for the four years. I should have taken the opportunity to explore the city more, find those hidden gems, or even take weekend trips to inner areas to learn about the history, culture and what the people from there are like rather than just exploring the city centre and surrounding area and the peak district.

2. KEPT IN TOUCH WITH MY OLDER FRIENDS

My OG friends from home have been my friends for many years. Staying out of touch with them while I was making new friends was probably not the best thing to do. I had some solid relationships with some great people and, I allowed distance to get in the way.

3. LEARN TO LIVE ON A BUDGET

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you need to learn how to live within your means! As a student, I wish I budgeted my finances a little bit better which would have helped my student loan last longer.  Utilising budgeting tools would have come in handy.

4. GET INVOLVED WITH MORE SOCIAL EVENTS

I wish I had committed to fun societies or even pick up a sport to have a balanced life.  This would have been great to offset some of the stress attached to my degree.

5. Get a part-time job

I reckon that I’m capable of juggling a part-time job while I was studying. Worst case scenario, I could have even applied for and worked summer jobs during the long summer holidays. The extra income would have been a great support especially, to make sure that I didn’t live in some dead accommodation because that’s all I could afford. I’m lowkey salty.

Bro tip: no employer wants to employ a graduate with little to no work experience (the entire education system is a catch 22!) therefore, building your CV while studying isn’t a bad shout. And, if you can get (summer) internships relating to your profession, that’s even better!

6. FIGURE OUT WHAT AREA OF MY COURSE I ENJOY THE MOST

Knowing this would allow me to invest more time learning and doing more projects in this area to expand my understanding. This makes it easier to gain the technical and practical skills I will need for my career and also help develop a more tailored career plan for the future. Also, it will help me to be able to choose a more focused final year project or any university project that I can talk about during interviews.

7. NETWORKING

I’ve come to learn that in this life, you will fast-track your way into an opportunity based on who you know.

Someone that was once on your course could help you land your dream job in the future. Also, one of the many thousand students you went to university with could be the next Steve Jobs and they could bring you in to work on the next billion pounds project or idea. So make sure you attend university events and networking events happening around you and develop those links.

8. Have some money saved for post-graduate life

I should have had at least £3,000 saved up to help with post-graduate life.

The job market is/was brutal and can be soul crushing. It’s even worse if one is broke during this time. Now, I don’t like asking people for money, not even my parent because I feel like I’m being a burden on them. So, having my own savings will help my transition into the working life. For example, some of the money can cover the cost associated with securing a job that requires me to move away from my home. I can use it to pay for the first month of rent, deposit on a flat or room, food, buying a car and finances that comes with that, upgrading your work wardrobe etc

9. INVEST MONEY WHILE STUDYING

Two words: compound investment!

Let’s say you are entitled to a university grant from the government. Saving all of that and some of your money from your part-time job should give a decent amount to invest into something that yields at least 5% in return. At the end of my university course, I would have had enough to put down a deposit on a property after I graduated had I done this.

10. JUST HAVE FUN

Above all else, you should strive to optimise your time at university and just enjoy your experience. Figure out what you like, and what matters to you then, do that.

These are the things that I wished I knew and did and it’s a matter of perspective. These may not necessarily appeal to you hence why you need to figure out what’s important to you.

I hope you have gained some new knowledge and different insight.  I hope you get to say that you find your university experience to be a fantastic part of your life.

Stay woke and, let us continues to build something great! 

Feel free to share your university experience with me in the comments below.

As always, don’t forget where you found this article. Remember to like, comment and share it! #BeSafeTho

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Abiodun Osho

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Abiodun Osho

Contributor/writer at Strengthwithsubstance.com