What I Learned In 4 Years At Uni

4 years. 4 long, but weirdly short and blindingly quick years, all coming to an end in less than a month. When I think about finishing uni, I’m filled with a mixture of dread and relief. I love living in my own house and being able to order pizza at 1 .a.m. without explanation, and I love coming home after a long day of library hell and being excused to literally not say a single word for the rest of the evening. The independence that comes with going to uni is what I love most, and honestly, I’m going to miss my cute little house with a bedroom that is literally double the size of the one that I have at home.

During my 4 years at uni, I’ve developed so much as a person. I’m not the same girl that started her degree in 2012. It’s not particularly glamorous and it’s hardly ground-breaking, but I thought it might be interesting to read for those of you who are also about to leave uni, or who have gone through the same process yourselves. So here it is! What I learned in 4 years at uni….

It may not be all that you hoped
I’ve nearly dusted off 4 years at uni, but I haven’t done an MA. Let me explain: for as long as I had been considering uni, I had always wanted to go to the Uni of Bristol. It ranked way up top in all of the tables, it was highly esteemed, it was associated with being expensive and it was worlds away both for and from me. Mostly, I just wanted to validate that I was good enough to go, and when I got accepted I literally cried. I was so excited – this was going to be the beginning of my bohemian, thousand-friend making, Skins-worthy life.

Ehhhh, not so much. I got placed in a flat next to a girl who had never been on a night out in her life and a couple of other people who definitely wouldn’t be binge watching TOWIE. There was one girl that I really liked and a group of girls in different flats that I became close to, but overall, I just felt like I didn’t fit in. I never wanted to be there, and most of the time I wasn’t. I went to Sheffield as often as I could (I’m talking every week) just to get out of being there, and in the end, after missing so many seminars and hating it so much that I would cry alone in my room when I was there, one of the head supervisors told me that it was okay to quit. “You are obviously good enough,” she told me, “but if you hate it, it’s not worth it. You have to be happy.” It took me months to pluck up the courage to officially withdraw, but eventually I did. I regret that I couldn’t make it work because it’s an amazing university, but withdrawing was the best thing I did in terms of making myself happy when I was at my lowest point.

Not being the party girl is okay
I love drinking. I think being drunk is the perfect mix of hilarious and terrible and I engage in it as much as possible – but I can’t party and work. I get hangovers, and when I’m hungover, I’m not showering, I’m eating cold pizza and I’m laying in my bed pit all day. I have no freakin’ idea how people can get totally shit-faced the night before and then turn up to a 3 hour seminar with book in hand. Kudos to them, but I just can’t do it.

University is made out to be this 24 hour party fest, and realistically, if you’re with the right people and you’ve got it in your locker, then it is. But I definitely learned that not being the party girl doesn’t mean I’m doing uni wrong, it just means that I’m not that girl. I’m epically terrible at making friends anyway, so I would be hard pressed to find a drinking buddy all of the time, which brings me on to my next point….

I’m epically terrible at making friends
I can count my friends on one hand. I’ve been best friends with Jade for going on 13 years, I count my brother as my best friend, there’s usually a boy taking up one of the spots and then there’s the two girls I live with. Does anybody else find themselves saying “I have enough friends”? When it comes to friendship, I’m 0-100. I’m not built for surface friendships where you ‘catch up’ because you haven’t got anything else to do, just to feign interest in each other’s holidays and work dramas before wishing you had just stayed in bed. I choose to spend my time with the people closest to me who I know and love and who know and love me. They’re fucking hilarious.

Uni pushes you into a whole array of different situations where you’re supposed to make life-long friends. If you move into halls, for example; I lived in a flat of 14 people, and of those 13 others, I have spoken to 1 other person that lived there since we all moved out. She just so happens to live in the same house as me and she’s fucking awesome. Then there’s your seminars; I’m sure it’s different depending on your course, but at my uni, despite the groups being mixed up depending on module, you tend to run into the same people time and time again. By year 3 people are pretty freakin’ chummy, but not me. Still don’t know anybody’s name. I am in and out people, in and out.

It’s entirely possible that I’m just a shit person, but after 4 years of uni, I’ve both accepted and embraced that I am terrible at making friends and I have zero issue with that whatsoever.

Having a boyfriend at uni makes a difference, but don’t let people put you off
If you have a boyfriend before you go to uni, everybody will tell you to either break it off or prepare for the pain of long distance. Breaking it off with someone that you love just because you aren’t in the same place seems stupid, especially without even trying. When we were together, Jordan and I managed long distance for two whole years. We were 150-180 miles away from each other, but every other weekend (or more often), somebody was making that journey. Thank fuck for Railcards.

Of course it does make a difference; you’re not part of the mad shagging in freshers and you willingly sacrifice weekends to be with the person that you love because, duh, love. Travel is expensive, you argue and miss each other wildly, but I think it’s totally worth it. Uni doesn’t have to overpower every other aspect of your life, and I’ve learned that basically I’m just one big hopeless romantic who will do anything for a cuddle and some light petting (hahaha sorry).

What are you experiences with uni? Have you just started your journey, or are you dusting it off like me? Leave your stories down below in the comments, or shoot me a message via Twitter or Instagram (@chloeplumstead).

Pyjama Shirt – c/o Mish London
Pyjama Trouser – c/o Mish London

Mish London is a contemporary luxury nightwear and loungewear brand. They offer a premium ‘mix and match’ service which allows you to create your own perfect pair of PJs, from shorts to trousers and camis to shirts. All pieces are made from 100% woven cotton to provide ultimate comfort and style.

P.S. Can you spot the tea stain in the first photo? #studentlife

  • I'm actually starting uni September this year. Although I am really excited to start something new and study what I actually like, I am quite worried that I won't make any friends because I'm literally the most awkward person I know. And I can relate so much to having enough friends because a)i'm shite at making new friends and b)the friends I have are all pretty damn amazing!

    YIGE a blog

  • Im finishing my course next year and I agree with every single freakin' point. You hit the nail on the head! Love it!


  • We have had very similar lives o:

  • I graduated last year and I did really love uni but it wasn't everything I imagined it to be either. I definitely have enough friends and you're right about seeming to run into the same people (who are all in their own cliques) over and over. I think I would do a different course if I did it again and befriend different people – or try because I am epically bad at making friends too – but it did teach me a lot!
    Rebecca | Notes From September

  • I'll be finished with uni by the end of next month too after starting in 2012 (I did a placement year third year) and it's a scary thought. My experience sounds so similar to yours! I'll be leaving with no 'friends for life' but that's fine, I've met some lovely people but I can't see us staying in touch really ya know :/ It wasn't everything I thought and there's lots I'd do differently in hindsight 🙂 But I never wasn't going to go to uni 😀 And I did the whole long distance thing too, we're still together 3 and half years on 🙂 it can be done. Loved reading this, great post!
    Nicole | …What Nikki Did…

  • I loved reading this! I'm on a gap year currently but I'm going to University in September and I'm excited but I'm beginning to feel so nervous, I guess because it's so close now. I find it easy to make friends, I could literally speak to anyone! But, I am still so worried that I will feel lonely and miss home, especially since I'm moving to London! x


  • Really good read!
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who did 4 years as an undergrad! Because I went to uni in Scotland in 2012, I graduate this year and am also mixed with elation and dread!
    I've become a much stronger person and am excited to see where life takes me, even though I'm not going to pursue my degree subject.
    And I get what you mean about friends- I ended up leaving my friendship group this year because I realised that we weren't actually good for each other. It was such a good decision.

    I wish you all the best in post-grad life! 🙂


  • I graduated last summer and felt the same way about friends. Loads of people in my seminars have chummed up into little goups, but I only went to seminars to learn and then evaporated (probably to head out for a few drinks). I love it and really miss it now – I've found it so hard to adjust to 'real life' and I still feel like I'm trying to find my feet

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  • I actually go to university online, which I've debated on whether I regret it or not. My mom certainly is happy that I'm not an on-campus student, for safety reasons and all that. But I do think I've missed out on opportunities and meeting some great people along the way. But I do feel if I were to attend an on campus university I would have such high expectations and be let down. People have changed so much since high school it's hard to find real friends nowadays. But hopefully during your career you'll meet awesome people that stick by your side. I'm hoping for that for myself, anyway! xo

    McKenzie | therosynook.com

  • I am so happy I am not alone in this 'friends-thing'. I always thought you would make friends for life here, but I probably will not have that many. I am terrible at making friends too. I do have a group of friends in my class, but the moment I don't go out with them or they find me not interesting anymore (or something), they seem to ignore me. So I always feel bad. I might be bad at making friends, but Somehow, I can't accept it. I admire people who can just sit in class alone and don't care about it. College is just not what I expected and it bothers me so much. After this, 2 more years to go…

  • I think there's a lot of pressure to find 'your people' at uni, and I certainly didn't straight away. Society life has made my experience of University incredible, and without it, I think my time at UEA would have been very different – mainly because my course isn't what I expected and I suck at academia.

  • Chloe what a great read. I graduated a staggering 20 years ago (Am I to old to read your blog?!!!) and whilst I had what I look back on as a wild time, with some brilliant people I actually left the friends I made there and have never had contact since. Moving back home was the hardest – I totally understand your fear of moving back and that was a hard transition for me at the time, but it will motivate you to move out and get that independence back and once I found my first rented flat it was at that point that the real fun started. I had earned my degree, I got a great job, met some great friends who are still with me today and life really started. Don't fear the future – go grab it.

  • Loved this! I graduated in 2014 and I think the older you get, the less important it is to have 1000 shallow friendships and it teaches who your real friends are. It's pretty disappointing when people you thought would make an effort post-uni don't, but having fewer pals that I know are there through thick and thin definitely sweetens the deal. Good luck with post-uni life! x


  • This was such an interesting read! I went to the Uni of Reading for a year and a half and I just ended up hating it. I was the same as you, everyone was either too much of a party animal or like not enough it seemed and there was nobody like me. In the end I made the decision to leave and it was probably the best for me but right now I would've been finishing uni and it does make me sad knowing I could have a degree. But everyone has different experiences! Having fewer banging friends is always the way anyway and good luck with everything post-uni girly!

    Robyn / Phases Of Robyn

  • Great post! I've nearly done my first year at uni and it really isn't what I expected it to be.
    Not made a big mass amount of friends but have like 3 people i'm close to and I commute so I just go in and get my head down and come home and enjoy life at home. You're right in saying Uni doesn't have to take over every aspect of your life! x

  • Hey Chloe! I love this post – everything you said I can relate to. I love my own company (reading fashion blogs) and I met my best friend seven years ago and she remains just that! But I have met the love of my life here so I can't complain! Love you and your blog x


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