July, 26, 2013

10 Things I Wont Miss About University! (And You Wont Either)

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Name: Sophie Bichener
Member of: Student Panellist
Joined: Dec 2010
Sophie's Full Profile

10 THINGS (In no particular order, although I’d say No.1 is definitely the worst!)

1. Drama
I know, it all seems like fun and games (if you’re a boy or about to become a fresher) but at the end of your three years at University the drama that goes on gets a little ridiculous. From who’s ‘doing’ who to who’s dating what, it may seem a laugh at the start but can get vicious! I remember looking forward to finding an unknown male in my kitchen and offering a cuppa the morning after the night before but it’s not all plain sailing! There have been tears, tantrums and trauma in every sense of the word and although I love my girls – it’s been hard.

Drama

Photo by Miguel Pires da Rosa

2. Work Load
So, you’re a fresher about to set out on the biggest adventure of your life so far, a small fish in a big, big pond. You may be thinking “I’m going to party all night long: lectures smectures”, well you’d be correct! First year is a doss. However, it’s taken me and my peers around a month to recover from the month we spent in the library (for some people even more) hunched over a computer desperately trying to type coherent sentences for hours upon hours. I felt unable to go home and have a guilt-free evening away from work the whole time. I don’t miss it!

Workload

Photo by Ali K Williams

3. Silverfish
If you’ve been to uni you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re at uni and you have that one REALLY messy house mate that you want to strangle every time you watch a slug or a mouse chomping away at five week old pizza they left behind the bin, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s probably because you haven’t lived in a student house or IT’S YOU… CLEAN YOUR MESS UP! Messy housemates are the worst and there’s no telling them! I learned to live with it but I know it irritates many people so much!

Mess

Photo by Abbamouse

4. The SU Politics
Although I was President of the Politics Society and enjoy keeping up to date with politics (hence why I did a degree in it…), the politics that went on in the union was ridiculous. From whether or not the library should be open all hours to how many bananas should or shouldn’t be sold in the SU shop there was always an argument to be had.

They THINK they’re doing this:

Politics

Photo by Matt Murphy

When really…

Photo by Tony Gurr

At Leicester, our union execs often stayed at uni long into the night at meetings which were never advertised for the average student to attend and decided upon ‘important’ university matters which apparently ‘benefited us all’. However, you could probably count those that attended on one or two hands. Inclusive and cliquey!

5. Money
Everyone who has been a student understands how, not only hard, but annoying it is to have
an (extremely limited in my case) budget. I was lucky enough to have my parents to support me but whether you have a job or support from home you’ll probably never be able to walk into TopShop and go mad (not even on the sale aisle).

Money

Photo by Stuart Pilbrow

6. Food (…Related to money…)
A familiar sight in the student kitchen is a cupboard lovingly filled with two tins of beans, some tea bags and perhaps the odd overgrown potato which no one knows who it’s owner is. Having no food, with no money to pay for food, is a killer. In the last few weeks of my final year I had crept so far into my overdraft (expecting my card to be declined every time I used it; which wasn’t too often as you could imagine) that I had to make a decision between going out and buying soup or rice. Tough times calls for tough measures (safe to say I chose the going out part…).

7. The Cost of Living (…Still related to money…)
Never mind the food, clothes, products (mainly for girls), the worst part about being a student with limited funds is the course costs! Little do you realise that after your parents have happily sent you off on your way to uni, you will probably be ringing them back up within the week asking (in my case) for;
- £180 for a gym membership (all that pizza has to go somewhere).
- £250 for a bus pass (yes, Leicester is awful)
- £150 for ‘essential’ course texts books, which you’re terrified into buying but really don’t need.
- Plus all the extras for a key deposit, the internet, insurance, student group membership fees. Plus so much more!

8. Leaflets
Whether you’re bending down every time you walk through the door to pick them up (more like kicking them to one side) or pretending to text to avoid the keen student club reps whilst almost running to get to a lecture on time, leaflets are one of the most annoying things about uni. You can’t avoid it. Our postman started throwing them away for us, nice chap. But the ones which insist on blocking your path in order to give you a piece of paper telling you to attend the ‘BEST NIGHT OUT OF THE CENTURY’ are pretty hard to beat. I’m sure after uni most people have mastered the ‘sorry I’m late’, ‘sorry I’m on the phone’/’have no hands free’ or ‘go away’/’no thanks’.

Leaflets

Photo by Karen Eliot

9. Blackboard
It’s been at Leicester for the three years I’d been there. Did my lecturers know how to use it? No. Did they learn? No. Lecturers seem to be desperately clinging on to the dark ages when it comes to Blackboard. Many on my course (It’s History, so many of them probably remember teaching before computers existed) point blank refused to even get along with PowerPoint – we were forced to listen to a long winded presentation with no pictures or words to stare blankly at for the whole time.
…THERE’S EVEN BLACKBOARD FOR DUMMIES FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

BlackBoard

Photo by Bryan Alexander

10. Moving
Early on at Leicester you get used to moving everything you own in and out of halls (most of them are used for conferences during the breaks so you have to completely move out). From that point onward, moving everything you own in and out of various different houses becomes extremely tiring. You collect so much rubbish over the three years that the final move out is the worst. Some people I know hired a van, I just sat on top of two boxes and a duvet in the back of my dad’s car (worst trip ever, extremely hungover/still drunk from summer ball!)

Moving

Photo by Unknown

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  1. Rochelle Elder-Musara

    seems …………………….. interesting

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  2. Jamie Sweeney

    The most worrying things for me are definitely food and money. I reckon I could deal with a messy flatmate with a simple shovel.

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  3. Ruth Newman

    omg this is scary uni sounds interesting although looks like i might be the untidy house mate :/

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  4. Bethany Green

    I will miss the fun I had, and i enjoyed learning new things but I did not enjoy the mess within the student house.
    First year was a breeze, cleaner doing all the work, all we had to do was go out have fun, do a few lectures and attempt a few essays to pass the first year.
    It was like a social experiment in year 1… then the work began in year 2 and 3. Moving into a more expensive rental property, no longer having a cleaner, or the space to escape one another. Work become harder to do and money became harder to find. Luckily i went home over the holidays and worked non stop to build up some cash to last me through the semester!
    Any one can afford to have fun at uni if they get a part time job to tide them over. There is no experience like university, grab it while you’re young and enjoy the freedom!!

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  5. Dora

    Some of the comments were quite upsetting, but as a recent graduate at a London uni I agree with all your points, especially about money. I would also add how much harder it is for EU students like myself, as we can’t apply for maintainance loans… So when someone says “if you can’t afford food, don’t go out”, I know from experience that it just doesn’t work that way, going out and having parties is an essencial part of student life, so if you choose a pint over dinner, don’t feel too guilty about it, it’s worse to have dinner alone knowing all your friends are out…

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  6. Gemma Beech

    Caro,

    You seem like you have completely missed the point of this post! Congratulations to your children on having survived Uni on their own. I don’t know if you yourself have ever been a student, or if you’re actually writing on behalf of your sons rather than simply yourself?! But I think most students would agree that for three years money is extremely tight. My rent was £350 a month let alone money for food and bills on top of that. We were so cold in our house over winter the shampoo and soap in our bathroom would freeze overnight because we didn’t have enough money to have the radiator on for more than an hour or two a day. As for part time jobs, having 20 hours of lectures a week on top of massive piles of wider reading and coursework makes getting a part time job extremely difficult. Most university advisers actually advise not to get a part time job as it will hinder academic progress.

    Sophie’s blog was supposed to be a fun and jokey post which i’m sure many students can relate to – having little money is a well known aspect of being a student.

    My maintenance loan was £3500 a year – that left me just over £250 a month – with my rent being what it was and i’m sure you’re aware of food and electricity prices – you do math.

    Unless you have personal experience of university life or are in fact writing on behalf of opinions your sons held (im sure having to balance work and uni cant have been easy for them either despite what you think!) then I suggest you dont comment.

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  7. Sophie

    Caro,

    this post was essentially a bit tongue in cheek and played on the fact most students are pretty lacking in the financial department throughout their time at university. I’ve drawn on my own experiences and also that of many of my friends and course mates – these struggles are not just my own!

    I think everyone has a different experience when attending university. I saved a lot but sometimes it wouldn’t cut it on minimum loan, a part time job and savings, as I said I was extremely lucky my parents were able to help when times were tough.

    I’d also like to point out I think I had about 4 takeaway pizzas in all three years – it’s just a bit of a well known student joke!

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  8. Caro

    I am a parent of now two student children. My boys managed to live on their resources because they did not eat out on takeaway pizza very often (or other takeaway food unless it was taken away from the supermarket), and because they got PART TIME JOBS like most of their friends. I only once had to sub one son until his student loan arrived and he was mortified to have to ask. My kids learned to cook and had money for a social life as well. You sound very spoiled and childish I am sorry to say.

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  9. Sam

    To Claire and Sam,

    I think both of you may have missed the mark with this post. From what I can interpret, this blog is suppose to be taken in a manner slightly less serious than the stance you have adopted. However, if this is the stance you would like to take then maybe we should evaluate a few of your comments.

    1. The fact you pay/have paid £3,500 a year rent doesn’t give a fair representation of what other students may experience. I know many students who have had to pay over £6,000 a year solely on their accommodation fees – some of these students not out of choice; some were allocated these halls as space can be limited in smaller/cheaper/more popular halls.

    2. The gym – studies have proven that a healthy body reflects a healthy mind. Some universities (and now many employers, which you would clearly know a lot about) provide discounted or free gym membership to their students or employees as they know this increases productivity levels and quality of work. Staying fit and healthy should be a core factor in anyone’s lifestyle.

    3. A little less serious – who in their right mind goes to university and doesn’t have expectations about going out for a drink or two?

    4. When was the pizza a takeaway? You can get those from supermarkets too…

    Sophie, I think your blog posts make for a great read. They provide an easy read which I can personally relate too and I cannot wait for the next installment!

    Keep blogging,

    Sam

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  10. Gabriel

    I dont know if it is just because I went to the same Uni and knew many of the same people, but I liked this blog and agreed with all your points. I didn’t go to the gym as i didn’t prioritise it but i think it is an important part of life for many people (to help both with physical exercise and their general self esteem)..Its all very well prioritising good food over nights out and alcohol but then you are missing out on an integral part of uni life (social life and parties), hence the fact that such a financial prioritisation issue will ‘Not be Missed’.

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  11. Sam

    Have to say, I can’t relate to most of this. And the workload only gets tougher after uni if you make any attempt at being good at your job. Agree with Claire about the money thing. A gym membership is a luxury not a necessity. As is takeaway pizza…

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  12. claire

    Asking your parents for that kind of money for a gym membership is just sad.
    The amount of people I know who get the full £6000-ish loan yet still go crying to their parents is ridiculous. My rent is £3,500 and then there’s bills and various exam fees to pay, but I would be embarrassed to be an adult and ask my parents to give me hand-outs. If you can’t afford to eat then fair enough, but for the gym? Ugh. Oh, and if you can’t afford to eat then don’t go out. If you go out and spend money on drinks then you really have no room to complain about not being able to afford food.

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