Life Lessons Learned During University
By Sophie Anderson on August 27th, 2021
This week’s blog is written by Downing Student Ambassador Ciéra Cree, who is currently studying at Anglia Ruskin and lives at The Railyard in Cambridge. If you’re interested in becoming a student ambassador, get in touch via Instagram
The decision to begin a degree is a big one and, as with many big decisions made in life, we learn a bunch of lessons along the way. Here are seven lessons that embarking on my university journey has taught me so far.
It sounds cliché but it’s true. Think about it. You had the bravery to step into a new challenge and potentially move away to a different city or part of the world. After doing this you did your best to master new knowledge, ponder the acceptance of opportunities and extracurriculars, and explore yourself as a person. If I told my younger self that I was here at university today doing what I’ve been doing, she never would have believed it.
University life comes with various additional things to consider. From societies and guest speaker events to internships and competitions, there’s a sea of different ways to use your free time. It’s great to take on extras that both fulfil you as well as make your CV shine, but taking on everything will exhaust you and only hinder your productivity. I like to think that this can be applied to life as a whole in many ways. Make room for what serves you, without overextending yourself.
If your sole reason for working hard is recognition, this may sound disheartening. However, if you work hard, your efforts won’t be in vain. You may not end up winning university awards or competitions, even though you likely deserve the honour, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t awesome. Your hard work will pay off in the future and be seen by those who appreciate you, so keep hustling.
I know many people who have blown their student loan on all sorts of endeavours. By all means, enjoy your time at university, but being sensible goes a long way. If you have the time and want to gain some experience, why not consider taking on a flexible part-time job? There are many student-friendly ones out there that function smoothly alongside a degree.
I come from a small village with so little to do that even going to the shops in my new city alone was out of character. To be away studying for a degree with two part-time jobs and other goings-on makes me feel so proud. Independence can be a lot at first but after spreading your wings it truly feels liberating to fly.
There have been times in life where I’ve wondered if I was different to others and where “my people” were. University is beautiful in the way that it’s diverse in both its people as well as interests. You can join societies based on your faith or interests, and there’s always an interesting event going on which you could attend. My advice to anyone feeling like this is to go to events when time permits, even if you’re shy. You never know who you may meet there. I also recommend bumping into your flatmates as soon as you can as opposed to nervously hiding behind your door. The longer you wait, the shyer you will feel. At the end of the day, people are likely as nervous to meet you as you are to meet them.
Sayings such as these weren’t something that I used to believe in. However, now that I’m older and more independent, I’ve come to realise that they hold true. If I want to go skydiving, then I could do it. If I wanted to leave with a first-class degree, then I can work hard to make my chances the best that they can be. If I want to learn a new skill then I can dedicate my time to it. I find it intriguing how, if we put our mind to it, we can accomplish and experience so much. University has assisted in highlighting this to me, and for that, I will always remain grateful.
There are way more lessons in university than those found among your course specifications. If you open your eyes and mind, new knowledge and tips can be found everywhere.
This week’s blog is written by Downing Student Ambassador Ciéra Cree, if you’re interested in becoming a student ambassador, get in touch via Instagram