So I wanted to use this opportunity to reach out to a special group of people – those that are starting uni to this year. Listen, it is hard to believe that I am out of uni., I mean, it seems like just yesterday when I was about to start.
I’ll give you guys just a little bit of my story before I continue. So, in September of 2013 at the age of 17, I started my life as a university student at the University of Buckingham. I was so excited. I mean, this is what I had been looking forward to.
I was excited to live my life. I was going to study Journalism and I was going to meet boys and I was going to party like there was no tomorrow and I would have friends – amazing friends. For the first couple of months, I had all of that. I had met a guy the week before I was about to start. He wasn’t in my uni but he wasn’t too far away so we could see each other often. I had a nice group of friends, Journalism seemed to be going pretty good and I was having a lot of fun.
Those first months were really wonderful for me. I enjoyed myself. Then in February of 2014, things changed. I got my heart broken and I also got betrayed by a friend (I have written about this already so, I won’t speak too much about it) and it basically triggered a different path in my University life.
My focus on school never really changed; I mean, I wasn’t an A-student or nothing but I did make sure to always turn in my course works on time and basically did whatever school stuff I had to do. However, my social life took a deep dive. At first, it wasn’t as bad because I had a really good friend who took me out of that space whenever we talked. She knew me before all the heart break and betrayal had happened and she was just there for me but then she left and I felt all alone.
I was scared to get close to someone else. I could not open myself up to anyone who might betray me again and so, to me, it was better to just be low-key and avoid drama.It’s not like I was completely isolated — I mean i still had people that I talked to and I hung out with every now and then, it’s just that I didn’t want to open myself up like that. While that worked for me and I don’t completely regret being a low-key person, I just wished I was able to allow myself get close to some people.
That all changed when I got into my Masters’. I met some amazing people who just accepted me for who I am. They did not mind that I was weird or always emotional or talked too much, they just took me for who I was without ever judging me. It was nice. I think my Master’s year was definitely one of the most amazing times I ever had at uni and I was still low-key but without feeling lonely.
However, I wished that I was able to come to a place like that sooner but I like to believe that all the things I went through led me to those amazing people.
Anyway, I wanted to tell you a bit about my story before I give any advice so let me tell you all I think you need to know.
- Focus on School: This is the most important thing you need to do. Uni is going to be full of so many different things because not only are you learning school stuff but you are also going to be learning a lot about yourself and about life. I’m not going to act like you need to go to ALL your classes because honestly, I didn’t. There are days you will wake up and you will feel tired, upset, irritated maybe even hungover or just not in the mood but make sure you do your best to go to most of them. Always do your course works and meet deadlines. If you have a presentation, prepare and show up. Life will some times get in the way but do not let it affect your education. With all the messed up stuff that happened to me when I was at uni, I was so proud to have graduated with a good result because I tried my best to not let life or partying or stuff like that, get in the way. So, work around your school schedule. Try your best not to miss too many classes. If you can go to ALL, kudos to you. If you don’t, just make sure you go to MOST of them.
- Join a Club: Listen, I know this may sound a little corny but I think it adds to the University experience. Due to the fact that I was studying Journalism, I was automatically in the News Group. We gathered stories and filmed each week and even though, it was mostly for school, it made me feel like I was part of something. When I graduated from my undergrad, I was glad that I got to experience that. Towards the end of 2014, I also joined the Nigerian Society at my uni as a press officer and even though, it was stressful and interrupted my low-key life for a bit, it helped me to meet people and participate in events that I would have otherwise not gone for if I wasn’t in the group. I was only in it for like a term but it was great. You may or may not like it but you won’t know until you try.
- Enjoy Yourself: Have lots and lots of fun. Get a group of friends that you vibe with and have fun. Go to parties and dance. Have a drink, laugh and just really enjoy yourself. Get friends that you can have fun with and who can also encourage you to study when need you need to. When I think of my amazing friends during my Masters’ year, they were just such an incredible balance for me. We went out to watch movies and drink and party and then we also encouraged each other to study and do school work. You don’t even have to go out all the time, you can chill at home and just have a good time together but just make sure you have a way to unwind from all the stress because uni is going to be stressful.
- Be safe!: I cannot stress this enough. Please, be safe. Crazy things are happening in the world today and you need to be able to take care of yourself when you are outside. Don’t be out with people you can not trust. If you are out and you get drunk, can you trust that that friend that you’re out with will help you get home safe? Can you trust that that person will not bring you any harm? Can you trust that you’re safe around them? Ask yourself all these questions. Ladies, please when you buy your drink at the club or anywhere, keep your eyes on it. Hold on to it. All these date rape drugs are real. I’m not trying to scare you but you just need to be careful.
- Stay out of Drama: Drama can be really stressful sometimes and can put a damper on your life. Uni is already stressful enough to be around drama or people that bring about drama. So, if you can avoid it, please do. It is absolutely not needed in your life.
- Learn from your mistakes: Mistakes will be made a lot of times. We are human and so we aren’t perfect. When you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself too hard, just learn from it and grow from it. That is all you can do.
- Get a job: If you can, get a job. Not only does it give you a sense of responsibility but you can also earn some extra cash while you’re at. I didn’t learn this lesson until later on in my uni life and I wish I had started on it early. Again, make sure it does not affect your school work. There are temp agencies that you can work for that are very flexible and will only give you work when you are available so those ones are cool to do. You can also get a part-time job that will fit into your schedule as well.
- Budget: Please, learn how to budget your money. I cannot mention how many times I went broke in uni. Even now, I still get broke but I’m learning people, I’m learning. Try and save when you can. You never know when you might need it. If you tithe, remember to give back to God. Put money aside for groceries and any other thing that you might need. Just make sure you budget your money properly so that you would not find yourself in financial strain.
Hope this helps. This is all I can think of for now. If I remember, any more, I’ll add them. Listen, I’m not perfect. All the stuff I am advising you on here is stuff that I wish I had listened to earlier on but honestly, in a way, I am glad I went through what I went through because it has made me who I am. (Remember what I said about mistakes?)
At the end of the day, it is your life and your uni experience will be your uni experience. The bottom line is for you to focus on school and enjoy yourself. It is important that you do so.
In any case, I hope this helps and if you have any questions at all, you can always ask. For those that are already in uni or are done from it, you can leave any advice that you have below in the comments.