Family. Friends. And the difference between 18 & 19.

When reflecting on my time at university I found that I have gained five very important lessons in life that will always stick with me. It’s worth noting however that these are my personal experiences and may not relate to everyone. 

I was extremely close minded when I first got to University. I had my own depiction of the kind of people I wanted to be friends with. This made myself, making friends, and consequently my University life very difficult. When you’re open-minded towards meeting new people you’ll easily be able to make lifelong friends who’ll make your university experience all the more enjoyable. This’ll make you way less judgmental as you become friends with people you would have never got along with at school, making you an altogether happier person.

I know this is something everyone says about University, but it’s true and is one of the first things you’ll experience. Although, it is not necessarily a bad thing. The distance from your hometown friends will reveal the ones who care about you the most by making the effort to contact you in order to find out how you’re doing. You may find that if things aren’t going as planned at uni and you turn to your old school pals for comfort, they may not always be willing to take five minutes out of their busy and exciting new life at university to help you out. But those who put their new friends on hold for their old friends are the ones worth sticking around for and will most likely be there for many years to come. 

Although, as I said before it’s not always a bad thing. It’s okay when you lose contact with someone who clearly doesn’t want to be your friend anymore. It’ll suck, yeah sure it always will. But their life is going in one direction and you need to take yours in another. Perhaps it’s best as you clearly don’t need that person in your life. Surround yourself with the ones willing to make the same effort as you and you’ll waste less of your own time.

Once you realise the importance of family from them being there for you, you’ll begin to appreciate them more than you ever have. You’ll open your eyes to how selfish and neglectful you’ve been in the past (this doesn’t apply to all obviously!) and will come to regret those times. You’ll begin to cherish all the moments you share with them when you return home for the holidays. This can also come from simply living independently for the first time, it doesn’t have to come from a completely shit situation! After a long day of lectures, you’ll get back to your flat only to realise that you still haven’t done the washing up from last night, need to cook yourself a full meal, and still haven’t done the washing which is in dire need of doing seeing as you’re down to your final pair of underwear. Experiencing this will only make you appreciate all your saint mother has done for you in the past, which brought me closer to my mum than I ever had been. 

For those who go straight to University after school, or for those who move out of their parents’ house after finishing school, will learn the difference between being an eighteen-year-old and a nineteen-year-old. Living independently will quickly force you to learn the important aspects of life that didn’t matter yet when you were an innocent eighteen-year-old living with your parents. You learn how to cook for yourself. Pretty basic I know, but still a pretty important life skill some teenagers (and shamefully myself included) never did when living with the rents. You learn how important budgeting your finances are when it comes to paying for your weekly food shop, house bills and rent to make sure you still have enough money left from your loans for the summer. You go through the process of buying/renting a house for the first time and the difficulties that go with it *cough* letting agencies *cough*. You learn to take life on the chin. Living away from home means you won’t always have someone there to hold your hand when things go slightly south, and you quickly learn that as an adult you have to deal with your own problems. 


Through everything that may happen during university, when your friends aren’t there for you, your family always will be. Your family will never judge you, as they love you unconditionally and will always be there to help you. Just think of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme song but imagine your family singing it. You won’t find a more accurate representation than that! 

And there we have it. Five things I learned while at Uni that I will always carry with me throughout life. University honestly isn’t as bad as I’ve made it out to be, it really is one of the best times of your life! You just have to find your own way through it. Find your groove and stick with it and you’ll enjoy every moment!

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Written by Kelsey Rees, 10 months ago