19 September 2014

15 Things Graduates Miss Most About Student Life

I'm slowly starting to realise the truth that I am no longer a student - even though my student ID card says otherwise. I am now a graduate. But what does that really mean. I don't feel any different to how I did this time last year. Other than knowing a bit more about certain authors and understanding the real meaning of hard work, I still feel like the same person. Graduate life is supposed to be even more exciting than student life. I don't have to go to lectures or write essays any more, I can read whatever I want and I am about to start my career. But the reality is, for me at least, that I'm in a similar situation to where I was before university, except for now I have a massive student debt as well. The summer was good, taking a break to relax from all my exams (well actually just one exam..), free-time to meet up with all my friends and sort myself out. But now seeing some of my friends going back to university and everyone getting prepared for Freshers', the brutal truth is hard to take. I am not going back. That chapter of my life is over and it's time to start the next one.

Some of my friends have already found great jobs, moved to London and started earning a real salary or they're going to travel the globe and discover their inner self. I'm not quite there yet shall we say - living at home with my mum and two dogs, and working at a local pub. But I believe that everyone's journey is different and if I keep working hard, my time will come (sorry for the cliché). I thought that the best way to get over being a student is to make a list of what I (and hopefully others too) miss about student life, that way I can come up with replacements sooner.

So here is a list of 15 things graduates miss most about student life: 

1. Student loan - I'm pretty sure everyone will be able to relate to this. Having money in the bank when you've done absolutely nothing to deserve it's great. The only problem is when you have to start paying it back.

What are we even doing here?
2. Student nights out with all your friends - When you're a student there's always an opportunity to go out with your friends, have a good time and worry about the money you spent in the morning. The unknown adventures are what make student nights so amazing.

3. Living in a student house - Although a lot of people complain about living in student houses and how dirty they can be, it's actually really nice to have somewhere of your own where you won't be hassled about washing up or shoes left lying around.

4. Sports facilities - I used to complain about spending £200 on a years gym membership but it's actually a fantastic offer, especially when I lived a 5 minute walk away. Now I have to spend £5 per group class and even more for using the gym equipment. I definitely regret not going more when I had the chance.

Freshers' Fair last year
5. University sports teams - Being part of a sports team is the best thing about university, or at least it was for me. You make some really great friends, learn new skills, keep fit and have events organised for you. Again the cost is dramatically less than joining local clubs and most of the other members will be just like you - young students rather than grannies or school kids. This is definitely what I will miss the most.

6. University societies - Similar to number 5. Societies at university are great. There's so much choice, you meet new people and have the opportunity to take on responsibilities which benefit you. Never again will you find so many clubs provided for under one group.

7. Being part of a student community - Living within walking distance of all my friends was something new for me. I absolutely loved it. Walking to the shops, around the supermarket, and to and from university, you are continually bumping into friends. It's certainly hard to feel lonely.

8. Free time - As a student I had a lot of free time (I know that some subjects don't get as much but the majority of us aren't in university from 9-5). I have free time now but I'm expected to be doing something worthwhile. At university you have free time when you're actually allowed to do nothing.

9. Freedom - Some graduates still have the same freedom as they did as a student but quite a lot don't - including me. At university you are completely your own person, able to do whatever you want, pretty much whenever. If you're at living at home with your family like me, you have to continually plan your day around others. Luckily I have my own car, otherwise I'd probably be pulling my own hair out.

Halloween costumes
10. Students themselves - Not only do I miss my friends, whether they're still at university or doing their own thing now, I miss being surrounded my like-minded people.

11. Fancy dress - Wearing the most unusual costumes for nights out is okay because you're a student. You can express your creativity in so many ways and it's legitimate to have spent your whole day creating an amazing outfit. Also, what are you supposed to do now with the collection of fancy dress you've accumulated over the last 3 years?

12. Spending all day in bed under the pretence of reading/studying - Especially studying English, the chance to stay in bed all day and still be productive was the best. Now I have chores, family meals, work or the gym to go to. I definitely can't get away with 'working' in a same way.

Tour 2013
13. Sports tours - Hockey tours were crazy. The saying 'what goes on tour, stays on tour' definitely applies here but if any of us did those things, or saw the same things when we weren't students we'd probably be appalled.

14. The support - I don't think you realise it until you leave but you have so much support around you at university. From lecturers and tutors to help you with your studies, careers advisers, your parents and your friends. But once you leave everyone suddenly expects you to be a grown-up capable of doing everything yourself, and sometimes it's a big step up.

15. Last but not least VARSITY - I cannot stress how much I loved varsity. It's the one day when the whole university comes together in support of one another. It's like a sports extravaganza and my life will not be the same without it.

Hopefully this list didn't come across as entirely negative, and it should prompt some of my friends who are still at university to make the most of student life and the opportunities it brings. Next I'll write about being a graduate and what I'm up to in my search for a position to start my career.

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