Three Things I Noticed My First Semester at University

It can be hard in the final few years of secondary school, especially with the volume of information that students are bombarded with, to tune out the unimportant stuff and actually think about your future. No, I don’t mean exams, I mean considering tertiary education and how that will ultimately help you gain a step into what is considered the ‘adult life.’ Upon just finishing my first semester in the tertiary education system, here are three things I noticed that I didn’t think I would. They are not supposed to lead to a particular agenda or opinion, but are mere open ended thoughts I have synthesised into words.

A lot of people enjoy university because of the culture, something I discovered is not the case for me (at least so far).
  1. Despite popular belief about “uni life” I had little inclination to immerse myself in the culture and the people.

While I know for sure this isn’t the case for many, my first semester at university saw me making few friends — I didn’t join any clubs either. My university is a very friendly place, full of people willing to hold conversations and get to know you. It’s not like I’m a social recluse either, yet I did not find myself drawn to the idea of joining new social groups. It was almost like a sense of “been there, done that.” During my school years I moved a few times and while then there were no issues making new friends, yet again, upon commencing university, I was content with being a loner. I felt completely comfortable being there, and in the instances during tutorials I was compelled to talk to people, I did, and I enjoyed many conversations. Ultimately however, I have left my first semester with no group of “uni friends.”

2a. The lack of people looking over my shoulder didn’t affect me whatsoever.

Despite always appreciating having good relationships with my high school teachers, it really did surprise me how I felt like I was capable of the same level of work without the all-seeing eye keeping you on track and pulling you into line. Yes, there were many Netflix marathons that amounted to myself doing little if any work, but all my work was completed on time and to decent quality. I left the semester knowing I could have tried harder, but was proud of what I was able to achieve.

2b. I am somewhat self-aware that I miss having the carrot-and-stick approach from school, but it has done little to reduce the quality of my work.

In relation to the above thing I noticed, I became very aware that even though it did not impact my work, I did really miss having a teacher tell me what to do, or even just there to discuss the class content with. Perhaps it’s due to my rampant laziness in the first semester (something that if my google searches for ‘productivity apps’ are anything to go by, will hopefully be rectified this semester). Perhaps it’s due to my rampant arrogance and egotistical ways (joking…or am I?) Who knows. I don’t really care as long as my quality of work is still at a high standard.

Despite missing having the support of my teachers, I have realised it has not been detrimental to my results.

3. University so far feels like a pit-stop

Even though arguably university is more crucial in achieving long-term life success, it irrevocably feels unimportant to me. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I really do and will continue to enjoy learning new ideas and concepts. It’s more so to say that there’s this asterisk next to university, some nagging cynical thought that the outcome is far more important than the process, something which I think (as long as you pass high school) is the opposite in secondary education. I am still very much looking forward to the great struggle of landing long-term employment, being able to buy a home and start a family (despite enjoying smashed avo) as well as seeing where I can take myself in this world. Oh, and when I say looking forward to, I don’t mean I’m excited by the prospects of this woes, just that I’m literally thinking forward, envisioning my future.

The future will reveal to me if this semester is unique, or the start of three years of the same.

As I commence my second semester at university in the coming weeks, it will be interesting for me to see if it feels any different. With subjects containing content completely different to last semester, my first semester may end up being an anomaly. Time will tell.