Whilst studying for your degree, you’ll also discover a lot about yourself. We all change as we grow older, and whilst you’re at University you’ll be bombarded with all kinds of experiences, and some feelings or emotions you’ll experience for the first time.
With youth often comes enthusiasm, but if you’re the sort of person who has something to say on everything, be mindful that you’re listening as much as you are talking. It’s not just that people like to talk themselves; it’s also an opportunity to hear another point of view, and perhaps learn something. By contrast, if you’re the kind of person who usually keeps quiet, have a go at speaking up. The more people you speak to, the wider your social circle will become. Don’t limit this to just your age-group, gender or race.
Few people are happy with how they are. Going to University is a good time to experiment with aspects of your personality – to become the kind of person you’d like to be. If you’re a bit loud, try being reserved; if you’re sensible, try being frivolous; if you’re shy, try being bold. Sometimes the kitchens and common rooms in Halls of Residences can look like the set of Big Brother during the first week: everyone is playing the person they want to be, some dials are turned up, some dials are turned down. In Big Brother, as in real life, this is rarely sustained, and you, along with everyone else, will find you – the person in between who you were, and what you initially desired to be. And don’t worry about making mistakes, this is again another great way of leaning.
Embrace Social Situations
If you have the time and you can afford it, embrace all social situations. Don’t sit on your own in your room, spend time with friends, even if you’re studying rather than having fun. Some people make socialising look easy, but if you’re a bit hesitant, you may sometimes have to give yourself a nudge. Again, remember there are all kinds of props, such as a drink, but always remember these are only props.
Keep an Open Mind
If you have any strongly held views, don’t just make friends with people who agree with you – that’s just boring. If you’re politically on the right, make friends with a leftie, or if you have any prejudices still left to iron out, socialise with people who, two years ago, you wouldn’t have socialised with. Just because you have always thought in a certain way doesn’t mean you always will – allow yourself the opportunity to change your mind. If you’re a bit racist, a bit sexist, or a bit homophobic, challenge your opinions. You may be proved right, you may be proved wrong. Find out.
As well as finding yourself, University is also a good place to find others. You might meet your best friend or the man or woman you spend the rest of your life with. Developing emotional and long lasting relationships can be tricky, and sometimes can be a distraction from your studies, but they can also be very enriching and rewarding.