It’s official! I have finally handed in my very last assessment and have completed my degree at Cardiff University. What a three years it has been, and I can say with my whole heart that it has been the best three years of my life.
It is a strange feeling now that I have finished. I suppose I’m not really a student anymore and it’s the first time in my life that I can actually say that. Although I am finishing at the weirdest time possible and absolutely not the way I imagined it would end – with no graduation to look forward to and no big celebrations to commemorate my achievements – I will still look back at my time in Cardiff with fondness.
Let alone the wealth of knowledge I have gained in my subject of study (Journalism and Communications), university has taught me more than I could have ever imagined; about myself, other people, and the world. Here is just a few of the lessons I have taken away from Cardiff and I hope this can give anyone who is a little worried about the future just some reassurance.
How to say ‘YES’
Starting out, I told myself that I needed to make the most of any opportunities I was afforded with and always say ‘yes’ when I could. Pushing through any doubts and worries, I challenged myself to go into situations that before uni, I would have been scared to go into. By saying ‘yes’ I have managed to make friends for life, go on study abroad to Australia, volunteer in Fiji for a month, undertake numerous internships, complete the Cardiff Award, and become a copy editor for the university magazine Quench.
All these experiences have given me a profound sense of confidence, and memories that I will take with me for life. University has taught me how important it is to throw yourself in, and it is by doing this that you reap the rewards.
Confidence and Independence
I suppose my confidence has grown simultaneously to the sense of new-found independence I first experienced back as a fresher. For the first time in my life I was cooking, cleaning, and making a life for myself in a whole new city (and country!) As well as this, the actual learning style at university level is a whole more independently based than that of school and college. I found myself having to organise plans, structure my learning, and motivate myself all on off my own back, and mastering this skill certainly takes time.
A massive thing I discovered was that university is about so much more than just the degree you get at the end of it. I feel I have gained different kinds of skills to those that my friends back at home who chose not to go to university have. Not only are you thrown in to a whole new living and social scene at the age of 18, but are forced to navigate an entire new city by yourself. Although this is daunting, it has given me the ability not to feel overwhelmed at change, and to take things as and when they happen. This has also helped make me a much more flexible person who is able to easily adapt to new environments.
Things are never as bad as you think they will be
I was mega close to not going to university because the thought of it completely overwhelmed me with anxiety. Even though I knew I had the academic ability, the whole culture of university just scared me. What if I don’t make friends? What if I hate it there? What if I’m not good enough? All these thoughts clouded my mind for a long time, and honestly, it was all for nothing.
Going to university was the best decision I ever made and I have come out of it a completely happier, better and more confident person. The fact my experience in Cardiff turned out to be such a great one has filled me with a sense of optimism that will be with me as I enter the next phase of my life.
It’s going to be okay
There is so much uncertainty whilst growing up. What GCSE’s you will take, what A-Levels you will do, and then before you know it people asking what career you want, whether to go to university, and then what university. And whilst I am sitting here now with absolutely no idea what my future holds, I suppose I know that it will all turn out okay in the end. If university could turn out to be a world apart from anything I thought it would be, then I’m sure that whatever life has in store for me next will not be much different.