Life as a student is awesome, let’s face it. The joke goes that ‘you’re unemployed, but your parents are still proud of you.’
Just kidding – it’s just a life experience that I would never change for the world. The life lessons are indispensable, ones that you will only ever learn at university and are some of the most important you will ever have.
Alongside that, you’ll get an insight into academic work that will be rewarding, even if you tear your hair out at the time. You’ll meet so many people along the way and probably forget a million names at the same time.
I’m rather lucky, it must be said. I’m three years in, yet I still have one to go. At first I thought this might be a bit of a tricky piece to write, seeing as I will have to wait to experience what it’s like to come to the end of a university degree.
So I employed a bit of help to get through it… Specifically, my lovely girlfriend Bethany, who just finished a Bachelor’s Degree in History at the University of Lincoln. After much contemplating and thinking, we came up with a list of the ten things you’ll miss at university once you become a graduate.Warning: might cause you to feel sad for the future. Proceed with caution.
- You’ll never feel so independent and free again – Your sense of freedom and being your own boss headed the top of our list of things to miss. Gone will be the days of sitting at home and watching a box set of your favourite TV programme, simply because you didn’t have uni that day. That washing up? Sadly it can’t wait two weeks this time.
Chances are you’ll be back home with your parents once you graduate – only takes 15 minutes and Mum and Dad are giving you a long list of things to do.
- You’ll miss your university friends… a lot – Your housemates have likely been there with you every day for the last three years, so it’s going to take a bit of getting used to, not having them about. Bethany says it’s like losing your left arm.
These people have stuck by you for three years, with crazy experiences to boot – things you’ll probably have to leave behind in the world of work.
- You’ll have to pay full price for everything again – 10%? 15%? How about a free cheeseburger at MacDonalds with a meal? What kept you going all day is going to have to leave you now, as you won’t be able to claim your student discount in a variety of stores, restaurants and outlets up and down the nation. The mere flash of your card will no longer work, as it sadly expired when you graduated. Better get used to one trip to New Look a month and your own packed lunches from now on.
- Student nights are a thing of the past – You’re not a student any more, so the Student Union’s cheap night out is off the cards. What you once used to relieve a bit of stress now and again during your painful assignment writing days is now restricted to early nights and a mug of hot chocolate on the sofa. That 9am start isn’t a lecture any more, it’s a sodding commute to work that ends at 5pm. Since when did we EVER do that at uni? Terrific.
- You’ll have to share your house with people you didn’t choose to – By that, I happen to mean your parents. If you’re unfortunate enough to have to go back to living with your parents, you’ll be back under their roof and therefore their rules. For the past three years, it’s been your rules. I think you can see where this is going. A curfew now exists (probably) and you’ll actually have to wash up on the same day you cooked.
Also, it won’t be free, most likely. That place you once called home for free will now charge you lodgings.
- You actually have to think about your future plans now – Thinking about the future at university normally extended to thinking about the student loan pay day. Now, however, you have to think about a job and career and getting somewhere to live – especially if you have point number 5. You know, all that adult stuff… well, it’s now at the front of your mind and a painful reality.
- You’ve lost that university ‘buzz’ – Everyone was in the same boat as you, all feeling the same pressures and enjoying life at the same time. You were at the top of your education, living this dream that you’d been thinking about as you fought through education. And now you’re at the bottom of the working ladder, the young one who has to forge a career for themselves. Your best friend will be the photocopier and the office buzz is somewhat different – that buzz being “people talking about their children and their cats.” Bethany’s words, not mine.
- The ‘experiences’ you only get as a student will fade away – Thankfully the memories of that time you were found hugging your kebab in bed will remain with you for years to come… but I suspect that actually doing that will be a thing of the past. All of those strange, bizarre and downright amusing things you got up to as a student are going to have to take a back seat. A more sensible approach to life will have to be taken in the future. So keep those photos of that night you tried to hug a swan, because those memories are something that you might have to hang on to for a bit.
- You’ll miss those text messages from student loans – You’re out of the overdraft and into the black. You’re the richest person in the world, even if it’s only for a day or two. Yes, it’s student loan pay day and it’s the most delightful thing in the world.
OK, so you’ll have a job and will receive some money coming in, but nothing compares to the joy of that text message the day before, that rare joy of it arriving a day early… and the feeling of not having to actually do anything to get paid £1,000. It’s bliss, but it’ll come to the end.
- You’ll have to actually eat properly – The majority of students eat rather well at university, but every once in a while you’ll have loved chicken nuggets, chips and the occasional kebab. However, with the stresses of working life, you’re going to have to ditch the tin opener and manage a dietary regime that ensures you’re effective in your 9-5 job.
This isn’t meant to make you students depressed, miserable or otherwise dreading the end of your degree. You’ll be able to look back on your experiences with happiness and nostalgia after a while. However, don’t say Bethany and I didn’t warn you!
Bethany has just graduated – she tells me she’s experiencing all of these! If you’re feeling any of these or others, please do let us know!