When I was in my third year of university I couldn’t wait for it all to be over -standing at the bus stop in the rain, early morning lectures, endless late nights writing essays, trying to cook for one and living on a minimal budget. Some people loved university and everything that came with it. I spent three years wondering why I decided to go. Don’t get me wrong I loved living in Oxford and exploring the city. I really enjoyed writing and the creative aspects of my course but I just couldn’t fully embrace the student way of living. I liked going out occasionally but wasn’t one for going out every night, all night, and not remembering what happened the next morning. I couldn’t get on board with typical student meals of frozen pizza and pot noodles. Of course, I had the occasional takeaway but I much preferred planning and cooking all my own meals. I think I never fully took to student living because I had worked full-time for a year before university and missed the routine I had at home. I loved living away from home and my new-found independence but I often wished I was working and had just moved out.
It is now eight months since my graduation and I can’t believe how quickly the months are flying by. My graduation was one of the best days of my life so far. I was over the moon to have my degree and to be leaving university life behind. I didn’t think I would ever look back after graduating but there are aspects of university life I am starting to miss and other things I am happy to say have changed.
The main thing I miss about university is my friends and having all of them in one place. There was nothing nicer than being able to come home and walk down the corridor to have a chat with your best friend. We could socialise when we felt like it and I look back fondly on living with my best friends for three years. Getting ready to go out is so much more fun when you’re all together! The Uni friends I didn’t live with were all in the same city so I only had to walk down the road or hop on a bus to see them. Now that we have all graduated everyone is split up and in completely different locations. I can still see them but it takes more planning to factor in when people are available and the travel logistics! Skype is amazing to enable us to keep in touch but sometimes I wish I could just walk around the corner to see them.
Another aspect of university I miss is living in Oxford. There is nothing wrong with my home town but there isn’t much to do for someone in their twenties. Oxford for me was the perfect size and place. It was much bigger and busier than my home town but not as big as London so it didn’t feel too overwhelming when I first moved there. There is so much to do in Oxford. There are endless amounts of bars and restaurants, great nightlife, some lovely museums and cultural places to visit, plenty of shops and beautiful green spaces. It was so much fun exploring all the different parts of the city. Also, it was so easy to get around as the buses came every couple of minutes. It’s a shame Oxford is such an expensive place to live because otherwise I would have loved to have stayed there after university. Maybe one day, years from now, I will have enough money to buy somewhere in Oxfordshire (the dream! haha).
The other thing that I do miss is living by myself. I have recently moved back in with my parents and whilst I am quite happy I do miss having somewhere that felt like my own. Sometimes it feels like I have taken a step back by moving home but I am finding that most of my friends are in the same position.
Those are the things I am missing most post-university but I am happy to say that there are lots of things I am happy have changed. I am finally getting on top of my finances. At university, I was renting and paying for bills so didn’t feel like I could save much. Now I am working and living back at home I am trying to put some money away each month to start saving for a deposit on a house. It will be a long process but worth it in the end. It is also nice to have a little bit of money that I can spend on myself now and again! This leads me on to work-I have just started a new job in the last month and am looking forward to gaining practical experience related to my degree.
I am happy to have a routine in place now I have found a job. My lectures were all over the city and at such random times of the day that it was hard to plan especially as I spent a lot of time on the bus traveling. It was nice being able to have a nap when you felt like it and being a bit lazy but I much prefer having a regular routine. I no longer get ‘I should be studying guilt’. Even if I had been studying all day I felt like I could never fully switch off and enjoy my free time. I always felt like I should be doing a bit more university work. Now I am working I am learning to try to switch off when I am not at the office and not feel like I should be working 24 hours a day.Student life was challenging as I like to have a routine and feel settled. At university, I would get settled in one location and then move again the following year. It feels good to be home and have my own room back which I know is mine until I am ready to move out permanently with my boyfriend.
Did you go to university? If so how did you feel once you had left?