Niamh Bell – University of Southampton Graduate

I have officially been out of university for a year now (help), so I like to think I know enough to speak on what university does and does not prepare you for in the outside world.

In many ways, going to university does prepare you for the real world. You have to feed yourself without supervision (which involves cake for breakfast at least once), you have to actually make yourself go to your lectures with almost 0 accountability and you have to remember to buy yourself toilet roll. You start meeting hundreds of new people at once, and if you chose the right university, these new people come from a range of backgrounds and you get to actually meet people outside the comfort of your home town (goodbye Catholic girl school).

But, as with school, there are so many things you are not taught at university, and often these things slap you in the face once you start a 9-5 job. For example, you cannot take daily naps at 3:30pm when you’re in an office. Making friends is so much harder than just sitting next to each other in a lecture theatre. Interviews are fucking terrifying. And a lot of people are just casually racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic etc etc. This last one was the weirdest for me. I forgot that I had been in an echo chamber at university. Then I started working and had to explain to people that the rights of trans people are not something that we can just debate over our morning coffee.

So if you are about to leave the comfort of university and you’re wondering what to expect, keep an open mind and prepare to use the phrase ‘GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT’ a lot.

Lauren Bromley – Sheffield Hallam Graduate

You’re likely to hear fellow students say that they will miss university or they’re ‘ready’ to leave university. Whether you’re ready to finish university or not, there are some situations that university prepares you for and some that it does not quite prepare you for.

Free time, socialising, friends…university is the best time of a young adult’s life. The time for flourishment and becoming your own person.  This is all great and becomes part of your routine for 3 years, until it suddenly stops. The majority of students will move home after university to save money, but it fails to recognise that this means the loss of friendships and having to make new friends. Though it is part of life to make new friends, leaving behind friends that you have made for 3 years can feel like a great loss and university fails to prepare you for this. However, it does result it new places to visit friends, various train journeys and new memories.

The biggest thing university does prepare you for is maintaining independence.  Moving out into the big world on your own, living independently and cleaning up your own sick. The freedom to do whatever and whenever, like ordering Chinese at 2am or walking into town. However, it doesn’t prepare you for coming out of university and the sudden change of independence. Though my independence is still there, being at home limits the degree of my independence. Instead of wondering into town, this is dependant by waiting for a bus every hour or limiting the jobs that I can apply for.

‘I’m in my overdraft- pot noodles it is!’ Every student has said this at some point throughout their life at university. As university students that experiences being ‘poor’ in the student sense and having to dip in and out of overdrafts, we would have thought that it prepares us for understanding and managing finance. Though it does to a certain extent, I was not prepared for the transition into employment. Being a university graduate, we assume that we will find something at the snap of our fingers, but it’s not as easy as it’s made out to be.

That being said, university is an experience in itself. I’m a believer of university being the tool towards finding who we are, learning our likes and dislikes, how we approach situations, etc. This by far is the greatest preparation that university has to offer. If we understand ourselves then we can manage all the other situations that university doesn’t quite prepare us for.