By Lauren Kelly
- When coming to ‘the end of an era’, some people tend to reminisce, ponder, and just have a good old think about that particular phase of their life.
Admittedly, I am usually one of those people, and the university phase has not been an exception. Neither should it be: the eighteen-year-old that moved into university halls of residence nearly three years ago is not the same one graduating in a couple of months’ time. I can honestly say the change is good, and whether people like to admit it or not, or even realise it, university does change you, and for me personally it’s definitely been for the best. That’s mainly down to the student lifestyle of having to live with not only yourself, but with other people.
It’s probably an obvious choice to go for, but ‘independence’ is by far the most pronounced and the most rewarding change to have occurred. Your parents leave you in this bubble and you simply have to just get on with it and learn as you go along (minus the odd phone call home and frantic Google search). For me being thrown in the deep end was the best method, because what other option was there for me to do other than ‘get on with it’? I have successfully managed to ‘stand on my own two feet’, people actually enjoy my cooking (yes, I can cook for a group of people, without anyone becoming ill), and I can function on my own like any other adult. This is setting me up pretty nicely for the day when I properly move out of my family’s house, a thought which no longer seems that daunting.
Three years of not having people tell you what to do (for the most part), you learn a lot about yourself and about other people, and the interaction between the two teaches you even more. Living with other students has made me far more aware of my own habits and my priorities, and that is mainly because of the contrast to theirs, no matter to what extent. Through living with other people from a variety of backgrounds and upbringings, you realise your own boundaries, standards and the ways in which you want to live. Even if it’s simply just hygiene standards, or how you like the kitchen cleaned.
University is a one big life-lesson. For many students it’s such a drastic change in lifestyle you’d be naive to think you will walk out of your degree as the same person who walked in. You do not just come away with a degree. From my experience, I have come away with far more independence and confidence in my own abilities. Living by myself and with other people are only two of the many elements of university that have changed my life. But, they are definitely two of the most valuable.
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