Hello! In less than a month I will graduate from the University of West London with a 2:1 (hooray!) and I thought I’d take some time to reflect upon my time at university and some of the things I learnt!

University has been a journey of definite ups and downs and sometimes I do wonder whether it was worth going. My time at university differed from my  high expectations. I went to uni expecting a thriving social life, making many lifelong friends along the way. Isn’t that what they say about university? That it’s the best time of your life where you will make some great friends and have the best experience of your life? It’s not hard to see why that may be the case. Most likely, you’ll be living away from home for the first time in a place that is unfamiliar to you and living with a bunch of strangers in halls of residence (if you follow this route). It’s both exciting and daunting at the same time but it will always be a journey, whether it’s a good or bad one. Anyway, here are some of the things that I learnt.

To Visit The Place You’ll Study for Open Day

This is quite obvious but I didn’t quite do this. I had finished college and originally decided to take a gap year and do creative writing at the University of Winchester the following year. Creative writing was what I originally wanted to do but after reading that creative writing was a useless course that wouldn’t lead to employment, I doubted my decision. I wanted to be an author and apparently, creative writing wasn’t something that would particularly help that dream. Going to university is a big decision to make because it’s 3 years of your life that you’re dedicating to that path. Let’s not forget the amount of money that you are realistically paying for university. Fees are 9 grand a year(!) and then there’s the student loans you are paid for your three years at uni.

I really wanted to go to university to experience that ‘uni life’. I was getting on at 22 years of age and it was a case of ‘now or never’. I think it was because of this that I didn’t attend an open day for the university’s I had applied for. I was working in retail where I was required to work every weekend and open days often fall on a weekend. I didn’t bother with it and just applied for my choices. This was a mistake. Don’t do that. Let me remind you, this is THREE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE! It’s not something to take lightly.

After I was accepted into the University of West London, I went to Experience Day, a day offered by those who were already accepted onto their course. I went with my auntie to the university, excited about what to expect and I remember being disappointed. I came in late due to a delay on the train. I sat there in an empty seat in the classroom and I walked around with the lecturer as he showed us around. I didn’t talk to anyone. I wasn’t sold on the university. It just didn’t feel right and I knew it wasn’t for me. I don’t know what it was. I don’t think it was the course that I wasn’t fond of but it was the atmosphere. It was an atmosphere that made me feel like this wasn’t the right place for me. Looking back, I was right and I would recommend to have a look at ALL the places that you are interested in before applying.

To Learn More About Your Course

In the end I chose to do Music Technology and Radio Broadcasting. The question that runs through my mind now is why. Why did I choose to do this course? I know in my heart what I really want to do with my life but once the doubt began to run a train through me things changed.

My dream is to write for a living but that is an uncertain career. It would be nice to think that I could be the next J.K Rowling or write the next big thing, write a story or 2, find an agent, publish my novels and begin a dream career. Unfortunately things don’t work like that. Life isn’t a bunch of roses goddammit. Writing is more difficult than it seems and it is an isolating career. When thinking of something I could possibly do whilst writing on the side, I thought perhaps that I could work behind the scenes of radio. This wasn’t my true passion but I’d been volunteering for an online radio station as a radio presenter and it was something that I really enjoyed doing so I thought, maybe I could do that for a living. My mind is clearly warped because radio is one of the more difficult careers to get into. Radio also requires a passion and in depth knowledge of music, something which I don’t have. I thought it was something I could just waltz into but radio is much more difficult than that (again. Why do I always choose the tricky careers?).

With Music Technology, I had been making tracks at home for fun using Reason software. I thought because I knew how to use music software that music technology and radio broadcasting was an ideal course for me. I really did. The university’s website had a detailed description of the course and the assignments I would be undertaking and this got me all excited. Still, it wasn’t my passion and in the end, I should have followed my heart. Just go with your heart and you can’t go wrong (most likely, I think. I’m hopeful).

To Research The University’s Societies

One thing that disappointed me about my university experience was the societies. When you look at a university like the University of Nottingham or Nottingham Trent University, you can see how they have hundreds of societies, catering to all kinds of people. Let’s take the University of Nottingham for example. They have a blogging society, a breakdance, creative writing, game, hip hop and Japan society for example. These are alls societies that I would have been interested in and a great opportunity to meet people that are like me, sharing the same interests as me. I would have loved the opportunity to really integrate myself into societies and unfortunately my university didn’t really have societies that would interest me. The ones that did interest me ended up not even taking place which was unfortunate, so there wasn’t any opportunity to make any friends on that front. As someone who struggled to meet people during Fresher’s and with such a small amount of people on my course, having a great society that I was interested in would have helped me to fit in.

To Try and Get Out Whenever You Can

Looking back, this is probably one of my biggest regrets. In my three years at university, I spent the majority of my time inside, in my room being unsociable. Being surrounded by legit and talented musicians, it was difficult for me to get involve myself with others because what could I talk about? Music is life for the people I was around and I was a fraudster. I didn’t know how to play an instrument and I didn’t have a talent for singing. I felt isolated. It was quite a disadvantage for me to be surrounded by musicians, rather than people from different courses, which I wish was the case. It is understandable why things were set up that way. Musicians can be quite loud with their music and people who didn’t study music would not necessarily want to live with people who were going to be playing music or singing at the top of their lungs all day! I felt like there was little opportunity to socialise and get out with people because people didn’t quite make the effort to do so but that doesn’t mean there is not opportunities to get out! At the end of the day, you are at university and you must get out of the house, even if it’s on your own to explore what your surroundings have to offer! There are always opportunities to volunteer, days out that the student union runs, societies (even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s still a way to meet people) and you can choose to work. I worked in my second year of university and I met a lot of young people studying at college and university. I certainly felt happier being around these people. It made uni better to have that extra thing to do outside of uni and my university experience a little better.

So, that’s just some of the big things to learn from university! Make sure you check back for more and as always, thanks for reading! 🙂