10 Things I learnt about myself at university

July 15, 2016
University isn't for everyone, but I loved it - and I learnt a lot about myself. In this post, I share a few things I learnt (and not just how to use Schrodinger's equation).

I know that uni isn’t an experience that everyone enjoys, but it’s one that I’m sad to be saying goodbye to.

I tried to make the most out of my final year of uni. I didn’t go out too much in first year because I didn’t think it was my sort of thing, and I went home a lot to visit my boyfriend at the time. I also worked on my third novel which was published in Summer ’14. In second year, I struggled with my studies a bit, and had a novella published, but tried to get more involved with things: societies and going out with friends.

Then I got my shit back together and it was third year. I worked my ass off for exams, studying hard throughout the entire year. I stayed involved with one society I really enjoyed and went to more events with Physics Society (whoop go PhySoc, #bleed550nm!). I made a really solid friendship group.

I’ve lived with more or less the same group of people since first year. We have a house of eight and it’s been great. My housemates were brilliant and it’s so bizarre to think that next year I won’t be living with them, but I hope we’ll stay in touch.

I know I’ll stay in touch with my friendship group. Three aren’t graduating this summer, so I’ll be going to visit them next year. I’ve warned them I won’t let them go.

And, on the physics side of things, I might not be so hot on electromagnetism, but I had a blast in labs and loved particle and astrophysics. I may not remember the trig identities we’ve had to use, but you can bet your ass I can handle Schrodinger’s equation. (Er, yay?)

When I decided to write a post about things I’ve learnt about myself at uni, it turned out to be easier said than done. I embraced who I was back when I was seventeen: before I got my book deal, I’d moved away from a group of more toxic people and found friends that I could be myself around. 

Then I got my book deal, which was a huge confidence boost.

But, anyway. Here are ten things I’ve learnt about myself at university.

  1. I’m not actually all that great at baking. My mum doesn’t bake, so in my household, I’m practically Mary Berry. At university, half the cakes I made burned or were just not that great. Edible, but not mouth-watering. Except my apple crumble. Cinammon apple crumble. I’m calling it my signature dish.
  2. However, I’m a good cook, and I like a lot of flavour. Garlic, lemon and thyme, chilli… I’m not big on plain food. I’ll bulk cook, and beef (lol) things out with veg. I cooked Christmas dinner for ten people two years in a row, including desserts. It was amazeballs.
  3. I’m clean, but not necessarily always tidy. My mum can vouch for this, too. I hoovered and cleaned my room regularly, but it was rarely tidy. I like ornaments and clutter. It’s homey.
  4. I probably drink too much tea. Honestly, I worked out that during exam time, I was on about eight cups of tea a day. On average. Oops?
  5. I love early mornings, but I hate getting out of bed. Hear me out: so if I’m up early, and dressed, and get on with my day, I feel super productive. But (probably like most students) I find it very hard to actually get out of bed. Like, I love my days in London, where I’m up at six and not home until nine or ten at night.
  6. Dress to impress yourself is a rule to live by. Oh, sure, I could write a book in my pyjamas, under my duvet, having not left my bed in three hours except to make another cup of tea and get some biscuits from the other side of the room. But if I’m dressed (and in like, jeans and a cute top, not leggings and a tank top) and I’ve done my hair and put on some jewellery and makeup – I feel ready for anything. And I feel ready to WORK.
  7. Also, make your bed. This is less something I’ve learnt about myself, I know, than just some advice to pass on, but even so. Similar to the point I’ve made above: if I’ve made my bed, I already feel productive, and ready to get on with my day.
  8. I buy too much shit I don’t need. I am a hoarder. And in this same point, I’m too much of a sucker for free things. Do you know how many branded pens I own? How many branded post-it notes? I’ve just picked up so many freebies from campus (career) fairs and stuck them in a drawer, it’s ridiculous. And do you think I can go into Tiger without wanting to buy a bunch of cute stuff I’ll probably never need? (When I moved back home for the summer, I had to gut my room of things and either recycle, bin, or charity-shop almost half of my things, just to be able to put away all the stuff I’d taken to uni and accumulated. (It was mostly notebooks and pens from careers fairs. Oops. But hey, at least I won’t have to buy new stationary for the next thirty years!)
  9. I think uni has turned me into a Responsible Adult, dare I say it. I always have some cold medicine and tissues, I have decaf coffee for when people visit (despite never drinking it myself), and I can fix broken coats and holes in clothes and hems.
  10. like being independent. I’ve moved back home now: I’ll be working in Cardiff from September so the commute is easy, and I can save a ton of money by staying home for a year or two. But God, I’m going to miss the independence. THE FREEDOM.

In all honesty, I don’t know where the past three years have gone. Right now, it’s Swan Song Time: it’s graduation week, and my last few days in Exeter.

I’ll be sad to say goodbye, but Exeter: Thanks. It’s been totally awesome.

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