September 15, 2020, by Issy
Dealing with the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous parts of uni life – Part 1: The Good
I’m now in my 4th year at university, and it’s only with new students arriving this term, some of whom were born in 2002 (unfathomable to me, a 90s baby!) that I have realised that actually, I have now spent *quite a significant* amount of time at university and in doing so, have had a lot of experiences and in turn, learnt a lot of lessons which some people may benefit from reading about. So, here goes: the good, the bad, and the downright ridiculous of my life at uni so far. Part one: the good parts, which, thankfully, are a common occurrence at uni!
I did pretty well in my dissertation for my BMedSci in 3rd year. However, I wasn’t expecting to, I really wasn’t. My confidence in my academic ability had been shot (see: “the bad”), and I was dreading the day that our results came out and every social media site I looked at was flooded with my coursemates celebrating their results. I’m a real perfectionist, so I knew that this was likely to be a pretty painful few days whatever mark I got. It’s not that I’m not happy for my friends – honestly, I would be and I was, but I can sometimes find imposter syndrome sneaks in around results day.
So, I had to prepare a bit. First off, I decided that I would log off social media if I noticed my brain beating itself up due to comparing myself to… literally everyone else. Even if they were on different courses. Yes, I know. It’s bad. Second, I repeated the mantra I was once told in a CBT session focussed on, you guessed it, perfectionism: ‘You don’t need to be perfect, just good enough’. It really resonates with me, defining ‘good enough’ is open to interpretation as well, so can be applied to a variety of situations where the quality level required varies too.
I digress, this is meant to be how I dealt with the good experience of finding out that I did well. So, the way that was, was to be the person I would have hoped my friends would be had I not done as well as I would have liked – I didn’t shout about it on social media, or force my mark onto everyone for validation, instead, I supported my friends in a constructive manner, so that we could all celebrate together our (admittedly pretty impressive, given the COVID situation) achievement of getting a degree.
A big part of being at uni for most students is being part of societies, and a few also run to be on the committee of their favourite societies. It can be quite competitive, or you can be uncontested for the role you want (the dream!). I was lucky enough to get elected to the committee for a few societies, which was great, and a real self confidence boost. However, there may be someone left disappointed: I found a good way to deal this is to offer to talk to the other candidates (in a non patronising way!) about ideas they had and see if you can work with them to incorporate those ideas into the society in your year in role. It’s also a good idea when considering running for society committee roles to consider if you actually have enough time to do all of them to the standard you want to, alongside academia. I had this issue in my 3rd year, as I took on way too much, and became pretty stressed!
Plus, be an active member of your committee. Keep to your promises on your manifesto, and be open and receptive to constructive criticism. Work with your other committee members: if you are a president, delegate and don’t take on too much yourself, but also don’t give ALL the work to your other committee members – you’re a leader, not the boss! They probably won’t take that too well. Teamwork makes the dream work, and all that jazz..!
Buying a house
Househunting is stressful. However, that relief of actually finding the perfect house (or close enough) is a pretty great feeling. Putting pen to paper, paying the deposit, woah, you feel like a proper adult. But, as you may be noticing with this post, all good things do have a slight caveat (in my world anyway. There’s a line in my favourite song (‘I knew Prufrock before he was famous’ by Frank Turner, in case you’re interested) which goes ‘I know I’m not the one who is habitually optimistic’ which resonates with me well, as, well, it describes me perfectly!).
The main caveat in this case is that it’s really easy to rush into house-hunting, especially as a fresher. I know it may seem like everyone else is doing it, but honestly, it’s likely to be older years in the first term: they sometimes already have pretty well established friendships, or know the exact area they want to live in. As a 1st year especially, I really would wait until the second term to even start thinking about looking for houses. You’re more likely to actually know the people you choose to live with better – I’ve heard many a tale of people rushing into buying houses in October (yes, seriously) with people they met in freshers week and turned out to be… shall we say, not quite compatible as housemates! Plus, don’t worry about all the “good” houses going early – houses are put on the market at random times in most cases, so you actually could get a better one by waiting a touch longer!
But seriously, opening the door to your first student house is a pretty good feeling.
Part 2: The Bad
Part 3: The Downright Ridiculous