My Love-Hate Relationship with University

I am currently in the middle of revising for my January exams, which has me stuck in my house sitting at a computer for hours on end, contemplating why I’m doing this. I have a lot of different thoughts on University and it wasn’t until now that I really thought about it. I was thinking about all the work and revision I have yet to do for my upcoming exams, when I realised that they are such a tiny part of my life, and even though they may help my future, I don’t need to slave away trying to nail every exam that I don’t have much interest in.

Everyone has their own opinion, so here’s mine.

Love, Chloe

  1. First Year Should Be Free (I know it’s probably not logical as universities would lose so much money, but it’s just an opinion).
  • One day, I was walking home from Uni and my friend Joe said to me ‘If the first year of university was free, do you think more people would drop out?’. My first instinct was yes they would, and then I started to think about it and it made so much sense. In Wales, we have been lucky enough to pay only £3,000 per year instead of £9,000 per year in England (this has now changed), however, it’s still a lot of money.
  • Firstly, in most universities, your grades in your first year don’t count towards your degree and the main purpose is to brush up on your knowledge and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  •  A lot of people carry on their course into the next year because they are afraid to drop out due to fear of having spent a lot of money ‘for nothing’. Not only do you have the cost of the course, you also have accommodation costs etc to worry about.
  • Lecturers always say that the first year is about finding your feet, getting used to the university and making new friends, and less about the course itself. So many people either change courses within the first year or want to drop out in general. If the first year was free, people would feel less restricted and would be able to explore more and really get a feel to see if going to university is for them.
  • Making the first year of university free might also encourage people to go. So many people each year don’t want to spend the money on going to University when they’re not sure if it’s for them. If the first year was free, it might give more people the chance to try it out and explore their options by experiencing it first hand, then deciding for themselves if it’s what they want to do or not.
  1. Exams
  • I don’t think exams should be abolished completely because they’re a good way to challenge yourself and really see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. However, the amount of exams (in my course anyway) and the state of the timetable is awful. At the end of each semester, I have approximately 5 exams, with a total of 10-12 each year. This is ONTOP of coursework, laboratory work, and tutorial essays. All 5 exams occur within the space of two weeks, and more often than not they are days after each other, giving no space to really breathe after your last exam.
  • In the first year, I understand the number of exams as we needed to have a variety of modules so that we could find our topics of interest. But, being in the second year now and still having the same number of exams with almost double the content is not pleasant. My brain can only fit so much knowledge in and I often find it difficult to learn and concentrate on multiple modules at once. This causes me to revise just the exam I’m doing in the next few days, then when that’s over, move on to the next exam. With 3 exams in the space of 3 days this year, this is not an efficient way to bring out the best of my knowledge.
  • A lot of the time I wish I could go back and change my course, but I have no idea what course I would do instead.
  1. Social
  • My favourite part of going to university has been meeting my friends and getting to spend time with them. I am fortunate enough to have a group of people on my course who I get along with, as well as others from different courses who I’ve met through friends etc. I’ve made some friends that I will keep forever and I can’t believe that we are already halfway through our university journey.
  • I’ve never been a big ‘clubbing’ person, I’m more of a cocktails and tapas kind of girl. However, I’ve found myself going out more than usual over my Uni years. Whether this is just going to the pub for a few drinks, having movie nights or going to Rock City on Saturday (best place to go out in Nottingham).
  1. Independence
  • I think this is probably what I am most thankful for. Obviously, it’s not university alone that gives you independence but this is how I gained mine.
  • Learning to live on your own is a process, but once you get used to it, you’ll be thankful for everything you’ve learned. It’s not just things like learning to cook my own meals and do my own grocery shopping but I feel like I have matured in the process.
  • Moving into my second-year house has brought the most out in me. From sorting out our own bills and broadband to making sure we keep up with buying new toilet paper. I’ve found myself better at budgeting money and cleaning after myself which makes me really appreciate all that my parents had to do and put up with when I was living at home.

Conclusions – I’m extremely happy that I have had the opportunity to go to University when so many in the world don’t. My Universtiy offers a huge range of courses to suit anyone’s wants, many international programs and endless amounts of societies. My emotions towards it are very mixed, but I’ll always be grateful for the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met along the way. I’ve still got a year and a half yet to go so my opinions may change completely. We shall see!


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