Going to university is for many, the first major decision people make in their lives these days. Of course, university isn’t the sole road to success and no-one should feel like they have to go. However, the experience has too many benefits to name and is a time where you really do (cliché imminent) find yourself and grow as a person. Saying this, there are also many differences between school and college to uni, and in this post, I hope to point to some of them.
Uni is one of the first times that you truly experience independent living. Away from mum and dad and for most, in a whole new city, it can be challenging at first but after a few dodgy dinners and clothes shrinkages from the wash, you will get the hang of it and start to feel like a real adult.
- Free time
Tying in with the independence, many courses are not 9-5 which means that you will probably have a lot of spare time on your hands. However, this is crucial for doing your independent work and assessments. On top of this, you can also consider undertaking an internship or getting a part time job alongside your studies. This is something I did last semester which brings huge benefits and a little bit extra money!
- Lecturers can be like friends
Unlike school, your lecturers won’t be treating you like a child. Lecturers and seminar leaders are there to help you and sometimes can also help after you graduate by putting you in touch with their vast network of contacts. It definitely doesn’t hurt to get to know your lecturers. They do say it’s not what you know it’s who you know.
University is a whole lot of fun. I’m not saying that school and college isn’t but for me personally, university definitely tops it and I can certainly say that I am currently living the best years of my life so far.
- Better facilities
Universities can be huge however, this means that there is room for great facilities and libraries. Cardiff also has great departments such as health and wellbeing, global opportunities and job shop to name a few which are hugely beneficial to your uni experience.
- Easier to find likeminded people
As you probably know, being a teenager, let alone being at school is a tough time where people can be judgemental and unaccepting. Not at uni. You can be anyone you want to be here and you are pretty much guaranteed to find your people whether that is on the first day, month, year or even in your second and third year.
University has a great sense of community which is most distinctly evident in the annual Varsity competition against Swansea where everyone can be seen sporting Cardiff merch and cheering on all our sports teams. I am proud to be a student at Cardiff and here will always be a second home to me.
- Sports and Societies
One way easy way to make friends is through the hundreds of sports and societies on offer at Cardiff which can definitely not be found to this extent at school or college.
- The work is harder
Yep. You guessed it. Although uni can be all fun and games you do have to remember that you’re paying £9,000 a year to do a degree and with that comes a ton of hard work. However, after, you will be rewarded with a huge sense of achievement and better employment prospects!
- Longer holidays
Uni students don’t strictly get half terms (although many courses do get reading weeks) which means that our Christmas, Easter and summer holidays are longer than school ones. Summer holidays can be just under 4 months long which seems ridiculous but is a crucial time to gain work experience, volunteer and relax. I have written a separate blog post all about this so check it out here: http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/insiders/2018/04/03/7-ways-to-spend-your-uni-holidays/
So overall, I have to say that since coming to university my life has definitely changed for the better. I have a ton of new friends for life, had made incredible memories and am doing a course that I love. So in relation to School/College vs University… uni definitely wins this one.