Things Nobody Tells You About University

Number one: washing machines are so damn expensive it’s probably the main reason I’m broke.


There’s a lot of stuff out there to help you transition into university life, and to give you a general idea of what to expect when you arrive at uni for the first time. You’ll hear about time management, and that it’s okay to not make friends immediately (which is true, of course), and you’ll probably hear about the price of cheese.

But there’s definitely a few things that slip through the net. Like the prices of washing machines. I get that the stereotype of lugging your washing home every weekend has been around for a while, but usually I always saw it in the context of laziness and getting your mum to do it for you. And then I found out my washing machines cost £3 per wash. THREE WHOLE POUNDS. That’s more than a block of cheese!

Here’s some other things that nobody tells you about uni life (or that they never told me, at any rate).

You may be walking into the same shop, but don’t expect the same stock. Even in the same square mile. 

This goes for, in my experiences, Tesco Express in particular. There are three Express stores dotted along my typical route: behind my flat, by the guild half way across campus, and one on the other side of campus. Do they sell the same things? HELL NO. The one behind my flat is great if you want vegetables and cupboard things, maybe a few fresh dinner/dessert things. The one by the guild is great for fast frozen dinners and junk food, and the one across campus is great for everything lunch and snack-related.

Why, you ask? I have a theory. The first is under a load of student flats, the second is pretty central on campus so is great when you’re rushing home late, and the third is by the library – the place where snacks are the only thing that motivate you to finish your coursework.

The further away from the library you live, the more you’re likely to renew your books over and over. Even when you’re done with them.

I wouldn’t call it laziness, per se, more a combination of forgetting to take them with you when you leave the flat, and crumbling at the prospect of lugging 15 500-page textbooks a mile across campus. On the other hand, however…

You’ll probably end up forcing yourself to go to the library at 10pm so you don’t get a late fee.

Some inconsiderate person will have reserved the book you’ve not opened in the last six weeks, and you only remember this as you stare longingly at your bed in the evening, having finally closed your laptop. You’ll be so stingy by this point that you make the trip no matter how hard it’s raining outside. (I actually did this once, and it was raining VERY hard. I may or may not have persuaded a friend to meet me there with chocolate as an incentive for me to go. She’s a good friend.)

Do not underestimate how easy it is to go days (and sometimes weeks) without encountering your flatmates.

All the TV shows may suggest that the people you live with in first year will turn out to be your best buddies. In reality, it could go either way. I could count on two hands the amount of times I’ve run into one of my flatmates, and that’s over a period of almost eight months. I see the others somewhat more often, but… We all study completely different things, have completely different schedules and completely different sleeping patterns. Some flats just don’t click.

 

But, no matter what weirdness, inconvenience, and unwillingness to spend money you may encounter, you’ll miss it every time you leave for the holidays.

Katy x

Like A Dream

Sometimes I feel like as my university life and my home life are so far removed from each other, that whenever I’m at one, the other feels like a dream.

Especially university. At Christmas I thought that if it wasn’t for social media, I’d not quite be able to believe that it was real. I’ve been home for two weeks and I’m slightly more aware of the reality of university this time, but it feels distinctly weird knowing that when I go back, I’ll only have six weeks before I’m home for the summer.

Is that weird? I mean, during the semesters I’ve not actually visited home. My parents have only visited once, back in October. I think it’s hard to conceive of both lives at the same time, because it does feel like two different lives – the one where I’m an independent-living degree student who goes to the gym and has lectures and lives up north… And the one where I’m living at home, feeling a bit aimless, under the watch of my parents.

I wonder if this is a common feeling. I mean, it is a weird thing, having half your possessions in one place and half somewhere hundreds of miles away. Having double the amount of toiletries so that you don’t have to cart them back and forth, you can just have one set there and one here. Having two places of residence with two different social circles and occupations.

Also, it’s true what they say – coming back feels far more weird than leaving ever does. If you don’t visit home all that frequently (or at all, in my case) for three months at a time, you get used to it. To be thrust back into the life you had before, for anywhere between three weeks and three months, is very strange.

That’s partially why I’m quite glad for the work I’ve got to do for uni. It’s like a reminder that I am actually achieving something, and I’m not just aimlessly in the same place I’ve always been. Not to mention that I do honestly enjoy my degree – it may be tough work, but it’s work that I find interesting. For the most part, the assignments I have are ones I like.

Let me know below if you’ve experienced anything similar – if you’re familiar with the feeling of this double life… And, finally, please go follow me on my socials!

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Katy x

All About Uni

At the amusing wish of the university library, today’s post will be about how I’ve found university so far – workload, uni life, what the studying’s like, etc. So without further ado…

My Course

First off, I’ll start by saying what exactly it is that I do. I am a joint honours student on an English and History BA degree course at the University of Liverpool, which lasts three years. I started in September 2016 and will graduate in summer 2019.

Joint honours means that each year, I take half my module credits in the English department and the other half in the History department. There’s a lot of speculation that joint honours students get twice as much work as single honours (one subject), but while I would say that it is more work, it isn’t double. It just means you need to get to grips with time management and developing two skills sets at once.

My Days

In terms of what I spend my days doing, thus far I have only had up to eight hours per week in lectures and seminars – usually four hours in English and three to four in History, so it does work out fairly equally. However, over the next two years of my course I believe my time in lectures will increase, but it’s still far fewer hours in uni than science students etc.

Sunshine and shadows 😍 #blueskydays #spring #sunismyfriend

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The rest of my study time is spent on researching, reading, and writing essays, so there’s a lot of independent study. I personally love the fact that, as joint honours, I get the most flexibility out of my course – I don’t have to do all the compulsory modules that single honours students do, and I can choose the ones that are most interesting to me. I was particularly happy when this meant I could avoid the semester two English language module (not a favourite area of mine haha!).

I’ll give a nod to the library here. It’s basically my second home. I’ve yet to fail to find something in there, so that’s great. Also they just got rid of the late fees if nobody’s reserved the book, so that’s cool too! In all seriousness though, it is probably more than twice the size of my secondary school, which is INSANE. (Just don’t tweet them about the heating. Apparently they don’t control the heating.)

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My Workload

In my experiences so far, I haven’t had to hand in tonnes of essays. In my first semester (twelve weeks), I handed in:

  • One piece of English language coursework
  • One practise and one assessed literature essay
  • Two critical pieces for history
  • One history essay
  • A group presentation

This semester, as I’m doing two literature modules, I’ve had to hand in:

  • One practise literature essay (I missed the other one as it was optional and I had history deadlines – see what I mean about time management?)
  • One assessed literature essay
  • One history essay
  • One critical piece for history

After Easter there will be another group presentation and a group logbook for history, and the other assessed literature essay.

The tricky part about being joint honours is that the deadlines often end up coinciding, so where single honours students may have one deadline in week four, one in week seven, and one in week nine, for example, you might end up with two deadlines for week four and two in week nine.

Up to and including 31st March, I had one deadline per week for five weeks. The first was a Monday, and then it was consecutive Fridays – alternating subjects, too. English – history – English – history – English. As far as I know, my single honours friends haven’t had the joys of experiencing that. It was difficult, but you do get into a rhythm. My weeks tend to alternate between a heavier workload in one subject and then the other anyway, depending on the urgency of the work.

Uni Life

If you’re after a Liverpool life for clubbing and nights out, I’m probably not the person to ask about it – I can’t drink alcohol and prefer to sleep when the stars are up, so I’ll skate over that side of things for now (but you’re unlikely to run out of clubs to visit, that’s for sure).

Dreary days on campus #rain #spring #springequilux

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On campus, there’s plenty of places to get food and drink. Every week there’s a few stands by the Guild which sell things like “exotic burgers” (I think they sell camel…), cake, pancakes, and things like that. There’s a couple of pubs, at least three Subways, a Nero either end of campus, a Costa and a Starbucks. Then there’s the Greggs, the Tesco Expresses… Essentially, you can have a field day when it comes to lunch. There’s just TONNES.

There’s also tonnes of entertainment all within walking distance of campus. Believe me when I say that, because I still haven’t even attempted to figure out the bus system and I pretty much go everywhere on foot. (It helps that I live on campus.) The main shopping area, Liverpool One, is about a twentyish minute walk or so from campus, the Albert Dock is about half an hour away, and Sefton Park is about forty minutes away. Between the museums, galleries, and places outdoors, there’s loads to do when you’re broke and bored.

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I think that about covers the basics. I’ve managed to survive so far, anyway! There’s loads of societies to join, one of which is the Film Society who shows films at the Guild for free every week. There’s also various events throughout the year, like this Enchanted Forest summer formal the history society is planning for after Easter at the moment, and the Give it a Go trips. I went to the Peak District for a day on one of those last semester.

If you want to know anything else, let me know!

Katy x