Uni is a completely different ballgame to high school. Like me, you’ve probably spent the last thirteen years being force-fed your education and now… it’s uni, where everyone assumes you’re ready to take responsibility into your own hands. Strap yourself in folks, because the experience can be a little overwhelming to start with. But if you prepare yourself in advance, the transition can be much smoother.

1. Uni can be isolating but friendship can be better

When you head to uni, it’s like starting Year 7 all over again. You’re fresh, a little bit lost and probably overwhelmed, so it can be hard to find people who get you. Lectures have hundreds of students and even if you find someone to sit next to on the first day, you’re just as likely to lose them in the crowd less than 2 seconds later. Tutorials are your best bet for finding friends, and having a friend in the same class means you’ll have someone to talk to about how you haven’t started the upcoming essay and someone to support you in the whole independent learning thing. It also means they’re actually interested in the same weird nerdy niche thing you are, which makes friendship easy peasy.

2. Balancing a job and study is hard but valuable

High school timetables are pretty cut and dry so it’s not too hard to fit in assessments and weekend shifts at work. When you start uni you figure out that you’re going to need more than your usual shifts to cover all your new costs and you’ll definitely need more than one night to smash out a 3000-word essay and reference list. Your work and uni timetables might seem to be all consuming and you’ll find it hard to slot in study, lectures, classes and work, let alone maintaining a social life. This is where you have to knuckle down and organise yourself, figuring out when you have free time and using it to get shit done (or catch up on Netflix’s latest releases). It’s a skill you’ll need to exercise for the rest of your life.

3. You’re going to be really tired

Even with all the time management in the world, chances are you’re going to be running on less sleep than you did in high school. Uni days can be long and there’s a constant backlog of readings and assessments. If you’re managing to squeeze a job, hobbies, study, friends and family into your schedule you’re probably going to have more early mornings and late nights than you did throughout school. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be able to get everything done in one big hit at the end of the day. Once you get home all you’re going to be doing is crawling into bed and trawling through the Instagram posts you missed during the day.

4. You will be broke but so will everyone else

If the transition to uni wasn’t already hard enough, it’s going to cost you a fair bit. Student amenity fees, textbooks, printing, parking passes and travel card top ups get chucked on top of your regular expenses of petrol, phone plan, Netflix account and Maccas feeds. The image of a broke uni student is a sad reality with most degrees, especially those requiring an internship or work placement to gain real world experience in your industry. This hands-on experience is going to help you get a job once you’ve graduated, but you’re going to be running pretty low on funds for a while. Take this time to really appreciate the value of family dinners that cost you nothing and places that have student discounts.

5. It’s going to be some of your best years

Despite all of this, uni is probably going to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You’ll bond with people who make it feel like you’ve known each other since kindy and talk to people who have lives radically different to yours. You’ll start to question the how and why behind things you took for granted in the past.

Yeah, there’s going to be late nights, lack of sleep and a hectic schedule, but it’s outweighed by the fact that uni gives you the chance to look at the world with fresh eyes. No doubt, when you graduate and look back at the years you spent chipping away at your degree, you’re going to be a little sad that it’s all over.

Emma Kocbek
photo crew: disposablealice

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