Tuesday, 19 January 2016

10 ways university makes you a better person

As I sat on the train last week, making my way up to Newcastle once more, I realised that this would be one of the last times I would come back to the city as a student. It seems crazy that almost three years have passed since I moved out of my hometown and into student halls; in some ways it feels like 3 seconds, and in others, about 30 years. 

See, I was very different when I started university. Not necessarily in a bad way but I was...sheltered. It was probably for that reason, that I was so ridiculously homesick for the first couple of weeks, and when I say homesick, I mean crying approximately 784 times a day, begging my parents to let me come home and eating a lot of chocolate. Like a lot. Like buying a multi-pack of milky ways, melting them all in the microwave and eating every last piece.

But I didn't quit. I wasn't allowed to quit. And now? Now, I can honestly say that not being allowed to go home was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Here are 10 reasons why university makes you a stronger and better person...

1. Gain independence
Surely one of the greatest gifts is life is pizza independence? To have the ability to live your life the way you want to, isn't something that is necessarily a given but university gives you the key to unlock  so many doors, holding so many opportunities, and the decision to which one you take, is yours. Gaining your independence is scary as hell (and also means you have to do your own laundry, ffs) but it sure is worth it.

2. Become more mature
Okay, so when I say become more mature, its not that you no longer have an immature fibre in your being because c'mon, where is the fun in that? You do become more mature though, in the way you handle situations, whether that be a confrontation with a friend, an important meeting with your tutor or in a job interview that you really, truly want. You learn how to handle yourself.

3. Learnt the art of patience
Can I have a raise of hands for all the people who have at one point or another, found living with other people hard? Yep, okay, that's everyone within a seventeen hundred million mile radius. It can be hard living with other people; we all have different ways of doing things, different ways we want to live and funnily enough, we all think our way is better. If you clean and tidy the house and it's instantly messed up, you let it slip, you're patient. If you go to make a cup of tea and someone's stolen your milk, you go out and buy some more, you're patient. Throughout university, there is a decreasing presence of passive aggressive post it notes lying about in the kitchen because you become more accustomed to the ways in which others live, and Christ, life is too bloody short to be angry over a few dirty pots in the sink, right?

4. Grow in confidence
A huge one. A really big, massive, giant, monumental reason why university makes you a stronger and better person. The confidence you gain at university is something that is at first, invisible to you yet slowly but surely, you are growing and not in the physical sense (a shame for me at 5'3 but whatevs). You are no longer the quiet one in the corner not daring to speak up in a conversation, you stand up for yourself, you form strong opinions, you aren't afraid to look silly. It doesn't mean turning into an egotistical monster but instead, becoming who you are as a person, realising your worth, growing into who you want to be, growing into you.

5. Friendliness
When you first start university, you're basically surrounded by a bunch of strangers and if you don't put yourself out there, making an effort to form friendships, it's going to be a pretty lonely few years. Throw in the dreaded 'group work' and you've got yourself some real effort to be made yet even if you've previously been shy, university makes you become personable and friendly (and hate group work for eternity and beyond, but let's not go there).

6. Become more appreciative 
The majority of people move to university straight from home which can come as quite the reality shock to many. Who knew that the dishes don't magically get washed, that the bin fairies don't take the rubbish out, that what, you actually have to learn how to use the hoover? Let's not lie, we were taken care of pretty damn well, without even properly realising how hard it is to run and maintain a clean and welcoming home. That chore of unloading the dishwasher once a week that you used to moan constantly about, really doesn't seem so bad anymore because once you're going it alone, you become much more appreciative of how much your parents did (and do!) for you.

7. Better at time keeping
You have deadlines, lectures, work, a social life and your own wellbeing to balance throughout university and whilst this perhaps is a breeze compared to what it's like when you enter the dreaded world of work, it's a great learning curve of how to effectively and sensibly manage your own time. (I'm still working on the whole, being punctual and on time thing though...)

8. Open mindedness
At university, you become much more aware of different experiences, situations and lives of other people, many of which, you might never have even imagined before. Meeting new people with different lives to you and learning about a whole range of things happening in and across the world, opens your mind and thoughts and signifies the importance of the phrase, 'never judge a book by its cover.'

9. Become more responsible
From living at home, where the only responsibility was getting to school on time, doing your homework and occasionally attempting to make the bed, university is a tad different, and makes you grow up and become more responsible, fast. You need to budget, set up energy and gas tariffs, make sure you pay the bills, look after the property you rent and a whole lot more. Hello adulthood.

10. Creativity
Forget the cheap nights out and the lie ins, you're at university because you've chosen to study a subject you (hopefully) love. University allows you to let your creative juices run riot, to work on projects, to read about topics that truly interest you, to join groups and clubs that excite you. You have a lot of freedom and time, inside and outside of your degree, to become more creative and do what you want to do, fearlessly. 

One of my favourite quotes that I think really does apply to university, and starting new chapters in general actually is, 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone'. Because what's the point really, if we don't constantly test and better ourselves, to lead the life we want to live.

How do you think university changed you for the better?

Want to chat? Let's get social...


  1. Completely agree with all of your points here. I was looking at photos from before university the other day and I can't believe how much I've changed since then. I've gained so much independence, confidence and most of all - friends!

    I've never heard that quote about comfort zones before but I've written done because I think its so true! Great post Charlotte x


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  3. Great post girl, I found independence the first time I went uni. From there I have achieved great things like buying my own car, going back to study masters years later and much more... However, when you leave university your friendships do change.


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