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How I Survived University (and How You Can Too)

It's honestly not all bad. But here's eleven pieces of advice, based on my years.

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Are y'all ready for some truth bombs?

First, if you're currently in University, or college, or technical school, or even learning new skills on the daily, then just know that you are literally doing amazing. You are doing something that not many people have the chance of being able to do. Second, the fact that you're even remotely concerned is a good sign! It means you're being reflective and conscious of your current state (just be careful not to be too down on yourself - channel that energy). And third, literally everyone else around you is feeling the same way. Yes even that over-zealous guy who has a 4.0 and seems totally content. He's stressin' too. Also, I'm not the first person in the world to offer advice, so I sure as heck won't be the last, but I hope you'll at least take something away from what I'm about to impart. So you should know that...

"Lady Bosses" ARE the Future!

Here's a little bit of encouragement for my fellow collegiate Nasty Women. According to Stats Canada, 59% of young adults aged 25-34 are women with a university degree! That's pretty incredible. Each and every person has a chance to be a boss of their own life, field of study, sport, WHATEVER, but I think it's really important to support the idea that all women really can be lady bosses. Hit your goals. And follow these words of advice so you can join that percentage of young-slaying females.

1. Move Out

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Move the heck out of your parents home, move out of your city, move out of your comfort zone. Okay, although this sounds super drastic and people totally move at their own paces. LITERALLY AT LEAST HOP ON OUT OF THAT COMFORT ZONE. Settling is so easy. You don't know what experiences are around the corner. Sometimes the scariest things are the things that really push us to greatness. Perks of living on your own? Eating popcorn for dinner. Perks of moving? New perspectives and memories. Perks of leaving the comfort of your own little box? LITERALLY ANYTHING. Moving out of home was something that I just felt ready for in my soul, I craved independence, and it's allowed me to problem solve more and try be something resembling an adult. I know it seems expensive and stressful but honestly it's not that bad, and it's something you're gonna do eventually.

2. Join a Club

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Oh yes, a piece of advice as old as time. But seriously. Do it. It might take awhile but that is super okay. Try on a couple clubs for size. Everyone has a different experience even if they join the same club! It took me until the second semester of my second year to join a club that really "fit" me, while still pushing me to grow (i.e. I HOPPED OUT OF MY DAMN COMFORT ZONE). The first one I joined, I don't think anyone ever remembered my name. The person I was assisting one day actually told me how sciences were more important than business (I'm not knocking faculties) - but needless to say, I left that club. Bye Felicia. So I turned right around, pulled up my pants, and joined a different group. And now I have kick-ass friends, kick-ass memories, and I feel pretty damn kick-ass. It made University more tolerable, and I actually enjoyed going to class. My grades even went up even though I was busier than before!

3. Love Sucks and That's Okay

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Okay, so I'm not technically telling you what to do here or giving you some sense of direction but hear me out. One thing I was told going into University was "dump the boyfriend" and my natural reaction was "OH MY LORD I COULD NEVER WHY WOULD YOU SUGGEST SUCH A THING". Currently I'm your resident single, crazy-cat lady and I've been single throughout my last year of school. Overall, I think this is the year I've grown the most. Now I'm not saying to go and break up with your significant other but at least make sure that they are helping you be the best version of yourself. They should challenge you, and love you, and lift you up. And heck if they aren't, then don't be afraid to be alone. MOVE OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE. I dated my person for literally forever and a day. I have memories, but I also have regrets. Where would I be today if I had left them sooner? Who knows, but hey, everything happens for a reason. Plus dating can be fun -- #freedinner -- BUT ALSO IT'S TOTALLY OKAY NOT TO DATE AT ALL TOO. You do you.

4. Friendships Change...and That's Okay

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Truthfully, this is something I'm still having a hard time with. So bare with me. But friendships are harder to move on from than relationships. Each one of us grows everyday and that's scary. People change and that's okay. If someone isn't being supportive (see supportive not enabling), and you aren't really happy with them then maybe it's time to move on. Remember though that relationships are a two way street. Don't neglect them. But if you feel anxious, and put off plans seeing them, or they are always cancelling on you, it's okay to phase them out. I mean, don't ghost, but it's okay to expect more of your friends. But also, it's totally fine to have low-maintenance friends too! I have some friends I haven't seen or heard from in months, but once we see each other again, it's like we haven't spent a second apart. I guess what I'm trying to say is, that it's okay to not be friends with someone anymore.

5. Embrace Being Completely Stupid

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A brief description of dumb things I've done in my time in University include taking road drink to a final exam and falling into a window, gaining a black eye. And you know what - both of those things are incredibly stupid, and I'm incredibly proud of them. Now out of context, these things make me sound like an alcoholic (LOL like most other University students are labelled), but realistically that's only me like 5% of the time. And that's okay. You're young and need to embrace it. I mean you can probably do these things when your 45 (read: me), but it's definitely less acceptable. As long as your stupidity is not interfering negatively with your life, embrace it. Life is too short to constantly be on your best behaviour. Like don't start taking rails of coke necessarily, but running through the street without pants, or taking too many $4 tequila shots because #starvingstudentproblems is totally chill. Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect.

6. You Won't "Literally Die" From Getting a Bad Grade

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I know that there are definitely people who have programs they are trying to get into. I was there once. And all of my grades came back that year somewhat below average. My last grade though was a dreaded C- ....and you know what? I still got into my program and I never looked back on that. It was what I needed to know that doing poorly didn't define who I was. I realized what learning style didn't work for me, so I avoided classes where possible that were structured like that one. And when I got another C the next year (in my program), I didn't sweat it. I smiled, laughed it off, and moved on. The year after that I got my first A. Attitude is everything. This year I've gotten my best GPA ever (which is probably a combination of all this advice I'm giving), but I really attribute it to just relaxing and remembering why I wanted to be in my program in the first place. Feeling anxious but also feeling like I didn't study enough? Take a breath and watch Netflix. When you're happy and not stressed (or at least less stressed), you'll probably end up retaining more information anyways. So why waste time crying into your notes and contemplating dropping out of school? Cause I did that, and all I got was a C-

7. Make a Bucketlist.

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Do this for you. It's a fun way to round out your experience and really track random things you've done. It also makes you appreciate your campus more (at least it did for me anyways). Drink at your campus bars. Have sex on campus. Go to class drunk (or drink with your professor(s)?). Heck, eat a donair the size of a small child. Do, something fun. Look up other people's lists they've compiled, or ask your friends for pieces of campus, or even their general experience that they've loved. It sounds cheesy, but it's a momentous way to have a send off into adulthood. JK adults aren't real.

8. Who Says Degrees are 4 Years?

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Oh goodness. I want to scream this from every damn rooftop in the world. YOU DON'T NEED TO FINISH YOUR DEGREE IN FOUR YEARS. But it's also cool if you do! It's cool if you finish in five, six, seven, EIGHT years! What matters is that you get the full collegiate experience and really learn something. Seriously 4 years is a blip in your life, but it doesn't have to be a dark and gloomy blip that you couldn't wait to blast through. Stop for a sec, take three classes in a semester and smell the roses. Taking longer doesn't make you any less smart, and you'll probably have more fun. I took five years and I have NO regrets. but...speaking of regrets....

9. DON'T LIVE WITH REGRET

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I have the worst, sinking feeling of absolute regret. I didn't go on a study-abroad program and that haunts me everyday. I hate looking at friend's pictures from their time in Europe or wherever they ended up because all I feel is jealousy. Why didn't I go? Because of my significant other - I was too afraid to just go. It felt wrong to up and leave for 4 months or more, because I felt like we were basically married. So your reasoning might be different for not doing something, but if you really want something, just please do it. Now I'm doing what I want when I want and I'm so happy. It's made my University experience more tolerable and has helped me be less upset about not studying abroad. I mean, I went to a strange city completely alone for a couple days. I skipped class and work. And it was the best decision of my life. So do it. Just. Don't be like me, and have a weighing sense of regret in your life.

10. Embrace Yourself - Weight, Quirks, & All

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You know what's cool about university? Is that you get to be in a space that provides accepting space for who you truly are. I was OBSESSED with my weight when I started school that it made it hard for me to make friendships. People wouldn't want to be my friend cause I was fat...right? Or if people did want to be my friend, maybe it's just so they'd have someone next to them at the bar to make them feel better about themselves...right? I started school weighing 130 pounds. I currently weight somewhere around 170 pounds. And I love my body. If people only talk to you based on weight then CUT THEM OUT. I also really hated so much else about me - like hey maybe I'm lame cause I love Pokemon (queue Pokemon Go a couple years later), or hey maybe no one will accept that I really want to get into powerlifting (I love my shoulders and show them off), or HEY maybe no one like my laugh, or the fact I love conspiracy documentaries, or that I think socks are the devil and life is better barefoot. But you know what? The minute I stopped wasting so much time worrying about what was wrong with me and what potentially other people thought of me, is when I really opened myself up to all University had to offer me. I STEPPED OUTSIDE MY DAMN COMFORT ZONE, JOINED A DAMN CLUB, drank beer at noon on a Tuesday, and started really becoming confident and owning who I was. I got more out of my experience by getting out of my own head and just loving myself. Everyone is so great in their own way, and life (again) is too short to waste time like that.

11. Take Care of Yourself

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Okay, given all my carpe diem advice, don't forget to just take care of yourself. Don't glamourize being exhausted all the time. Eat a salad sometimes, drink some water, maybe go to the gym or at least go for a walk. Sunshine and fresh air is good for you (even in -40 degrees). One thing that I am SO proud of in my degree is never have an all-nighter. Now before y'all start roasting me about me not understanding where you're coming from and how you HAVE to stay up 3 nights in a row to finish and assignment and you HAVE to eat ramen because #broke - stop. I could have stayed up all night many times - but why? Sleep is so beneficial for you. Also, I've been incredibly broke too. And I reached out to people like my parents and friends who fed me. I haven't eaten ramen in like 7 years? Also there's ways to eat cheap and healthy, and ways to fit pieces of exercise into your life. If you need a mental health day - take one! Some of the best parts of my life came about because I took a "me" day. It's so easy to brag about feeling crappy. But it's also so easy to just start taking care of yourself.

*mic drop*

I hope you got something out of my little advice guide to University. I mean yeah yeah yeah go see your professor at office hours, and find a good study method, etc - but University/College/etc is about so much more than the classes. And ultimately it's outside the classroom that you remember the most.

PS. Take a Bunch of RANDOM Classes

Classes I took: Deviance & Social Conformity (wooo cults), various Food Sciences (I WROTE A PAPER ON BLUE CHEESE), a class on Video Games (history of Mario woot woot)....to name a few. 10/10 recommend doing something just cause it sounds fun. Seriously. Have fun.

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