University Advice

What I Did Wrong At University – Aaron’s Experience

Aaron tells of his experience of university life. Picture by: Richie Hancox

Having previously shared what I did right at university, it’s time for me to share what I did wrong during my time in higher education. My journey is not over just yet, but this will give you an idea of what I could have done better.

Taking my time to open up my social horizon

Yes, I previously said that opening up my social horizon was something I did right during my time at university. However, it took a lot longer than it should have.

Don’t get me wrong, I always had friends as I had pretty much formed great bonds almost instantly, particularly with the wonderful core team here at Mental Magazine. But apart from that, I had a very stand-off approach when it came to meeting new people.

This is something that plagued the majority of my first year, as I never really went out a lot as I was keener on going home and sitting comfortably in my room. But I am glad I was able to finally open up my social horizon.

It’s not like I was ever anti-social during my childhood and teenage years, I would really pin it on the fact that I was not exactly a reasonable person to be around.

While it took a while, eventually I opened up but looking back on it now, I believe that it took me far too long.

Money and spending it too quickly…

Ah yes, the first year when I received student finance. Let’s just say I was someone who could not help myself!

My first piece of advice to a prospective university student is that if you do go to university, make sure you do your best to find a part-time job if you can! It will help you massively and it will provide you with a financial safety net, as student living can be difficult, of course.

Looking back now, I wish I was more careful with my finances, especially during my first year. It took me a long time to realise how important it was that I looked after the money I had, as I was often under the illusion that I couldn’t possibly spend it all! Spoiler: I did more often than not.

So if you are starting university in September, please please look after your money and spend it carefully!

Overwhelming nerves and anxiety

The 19-year-old version of me was a nervous wreck. I would not even say hello to people in passing out of fear of looking ridiculous. Yes, it was that bad and I literally painted everything negatively.

Despite having so many wonderful opportunities presented to me, I would always go with one foot in and not two, simply because I had very little faith in myself. While I can’t say my anxiety was causing me real issues, it was lurking and providing some barriers.

Of course, being nervous in life is normal. But as time has gone on, I believe that we have to take life with both hands and create whatever we want from it. We are the architects of our futures, no one else.

You might think you don’t know what you’re doing but trust me, you will learn, and ultimately you will know what you have to do and what you are destined for. Wake up every morning and tell yourself you’re ready, nothing will or can stop you!

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