For many, going to a university is their first step into adulthood. And while we learn the fine details of quantum physics, Da Vinci’s art and trickle-down theory in the classrooms, university life teaches us more than the courses we register for; lessons of friendship, compromise and hardwork.
Three assignments, one paper and five hangout plans with friends; university life is all about making and honouring commitments, and when you are pressed for time - which is usually the case - you have to make choices and prioritize according to your needs and wishes. It might be tough at the beginning but after the first semester, you will master the art of managing your time efficiently and doing what matters the most first.
Living with others
Growing up in your hometown, studying with the people you know and having the same circle of friends since childhood are the comforts you leave behind when you move to a university for higher education. And as overwhelming as it may seem in the first few months, you soon learn to live with new people - new classmates, new locals and new roommates; you learn to invite new people into your life and live with them.
At home, the only thing you had to worry about was getting to the dinner table when the food was ready. You didn’t know (or care) how and when the vegetables, bread and meat arrived in your kitchen. And even if you had a little idea of the concept of grocery shopping, you didn’t know the extent of it; butter or margarine, paper towel or napkins, liquid soap or bar? Well, all of that changes when you start your university life; from knowing the price of 1kg potatoes to the right amount of toilet papers, you learn it all.
The economic system we live in, everything comes with a price tag and while living with your family you take basic necessities for granted, as an independent university student you soon realise that you have to pay for the water that runs in your tap and the electricity that powers your laptop. More importantly, you learn that you have to be punctual with the bills or else you could be making that really important phone call and realise that the connection has been suspended because of unpaid dues.
It is true that no amount of money will ever be enough for humans to say that have as much as they want. But shortage of money is genuine and heartbreaking when you are a student; do you pay the rent or buy the textbook you need for the upcoming exam or you sit and regret why you went out three nights straight. After a few hiccups, you soon learn how to use your money wisely to live, study and graduate.
Socialising and making friends
It is easy to drown yourself in studies and get stuck in the classroom-dorm-library routine but to live a healthy life, you have to have a social circle. Meeting strangers and making friends as an adult can be a daunting task but with a little effort and some trial and error, you teach yourself to attract good company and build healthy relationships.
You may be craving your mom’s famous pasta for dinner but you don’t have the time and ingredients to create that masterpiece. So you make do; you mix what you have in the pantry with a pinch of memories of home and a slice of mama’s love. Wallah! You have got yourself your own recipe which tastes great, is economical and easy to make. Your university life will be filled with such landmark events.
Necessity is the mother of invention and so when you finish your ice cream tub, you immediately know you will make a few holes at the bottom and use the container to plant your avocado seeds in it. Pickle jar as a toothbrush holder, bags made out of newspapers and Amazon boxes for storage under the bed - you learn to recycle and build your own stuff when you live independently on a tight budget.
One of the major realisations when you step into the adult life is that the dishes don’t do themselves and the garbage doesn’t get to the dumpster by magic. From doing laundry, cleaning your room to cooking three meals a day, university life teaches you how to run a household while you also study and work.
Your parents and friends may tolerate (or even accept) your struggle with time but your professors and classmates won’t. Being on time for the 8:30am class, meeting for group assignments on the weekend and sending birthday wishes before it is late are steps towards becoming a more punctual person with each passing semester.
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