Life lessons university will teach you

A student at the university cafe

Student life beckons...are you ready?

You're going to university – there's going to be a lot of learning going on. Some of it will even be about your course.

But...uni life is just as much about mastering life hacks and learning from the mistakes you'll make along the way.

To give you a glimpse into your future, we've picked out some of the ways uni is going to school you, and asked members of The Student Room to have their say as well. Good luck out there...

That last shot is never a good idea

This is a mistake you will make EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. If your head's saying you have a 9am lecture tomorrow but your mates are chanting ‘SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!’, you’ll pick the shots time and time again… until one hangover too many turns you into your parents and you end up going home for a pint of water and two slices of toast at a very reasonable 10pm.

“I broke my arm in a nightclub, but didn't notice it was broken so just went back to dancing. Was a wild night.”


Going out every night of the week is less fun than you’d imagine

During Freshers Week, you’ll probably think that university life couldn’t possibly get any better. You’ve just got your student loan, lectures don’t start until next week and you’re making loads of new friends.

But you’ll quickly realise how exhausting all that partying can get, and you’ll find yourself turning down mad nights out in favour of binge-watching a new series on Netflix.

You’ll come to love visiting home

Lots of students can’t wait to get away from nagging parents, eat whatever they want for dinner and experiment with styles that would raise eyebrows in their hometowns.

But, when you make your first visit home, you’ll find that mum’s lasagne and dad’s stupid football commentary are actually quite endearing. Don't be surprised to find your relationship with your family improves once you’re not living on top of each other anymore.

“I tend to go home every other week purely for washing my clothes and bringing back to halls with me some home-cooked food.”


Surviving off a diet of white carbs is, shockingly, not great for you

It’s so easy to fall into the student trap of eating nothing but pesto pasta, oven chips or whatever you can sneak out of your flatmate’s cupboard on toast. And it may also shock you to discover that it might just be related to why you always feel so run down.

One day you’ll snaffle a handful of someone’s grapes from the fridge and… actually enjoy them? It may be hard to believe now, but by second year, you’ll be cooking up a storm (ish) when you realise that scurvy just isn’t sexy.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a good thing

Going to Freshers Fair and signing up for 43 societies just to get the freebies is a rite of passage (though how many tote bags do you really need?).

And sure, maybe you’ll find that the nice people on the Embroidery Society stand sliiiiightly oversold it… but equally, maybe you’ll discover a natural flair for street dance, a surprisingly refined palate or a love of South East Asian cinema.

You just won’t know until you try.

Cheap box hair dye is NOT the answer to a breakup

So Harry from the corridor above ghosted you two weeks after your drunken fumble, and last night you saw him getting up close and personal with that girl from the history of art department.

You’ll try to show him what he’s missing by dyeing your hair bleach blonde from a box you pick up in Superdrug. Your hair will end up orange. It just will.

Cue a month spent wearing increasingly bizarre hats and headscarves until your next loan comes in so you can get it fixed. Just don’t bother.

“I was terrified when I had my hair dyed! I'd get it done professionally because it would be your first time and let's just say....if you do get it wrong, you'll probably regret it.”


Washing clothes isn’t as easy as it looks

If you’ve endured years of listening to mum complaining about the amount of washing she does, you’ve probably wondered what all the fuss is about… until the first time you do it yourself in your cramped, boiling-hot halls launderette, leave a red sock in with all your whites and spend the rest of the year rocking baby pink everything.


The work/life balance is HARD

Yep, sorry, this one really doesn’t change. Juggling essays, revision, a part-time job, maintaining a clean home, going out, friendships and relationships is really, REALLY hard work.

But the good news is that uni is the perfect place to practise for life as a real adult. You won’t always get it right, but you can guarantee you’ll have a blast figuring it all out.

The great thing about uni is that you’ll learn so much more than just the subject you’ve signed up to study: whether it’s some deep dark truth about yourself or simply the fact that ketchup really is a disgusting substitute for pasta sauce. Now it's just time to get started...

Our partnership with the University of East Anglia

The Student Room is proud to work with UEA, a UK top-25 university (Complete University Guide 2024) and UK top-30 university (The Times/Sunday Times 2024), as the official partner of our student life section.

Located on the edge of Norwich, a lively city full of secret gems just waiting to be discovered.

Visit their profile page to learn more or join the conversation on The Student Room's UEA forum.

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