It feels like it was yesterday. I flew over from Prague, was picked up by bus with some of the incoming international students by the University and that was it. I was standing with just one suitcase in my new room at University’s halls and I finally realized this all was not a dream.
I am now completing my placement year at the University and have come to a conclusion: University life has changed my life significantly.
Looking back, I realize how much I have grown as a person and in a couple of years’ time, when I graduate, I will leave the Worcester cathedral not just with a degree in my hand, but also with fantastic experiences and valuable skills – a better and stronger person.
Talking about change, here are some things that I’ve experienced at University:
You’ll learn a lot of things at University – not only the theory and practice in your specific degree, but also important life lessons. Certainly, your first year will be all about experiencing and trying. If something doesn’t work out the first time, try it again. You will eventually come to the desired outcome, sooner or later.
Work experience is crucial while at the University. You only have lectures a few times a week, so you have enough free time to work as long as you manage your time effectively. Make sure you balance your study life with work life and social life and I can assure you, you’re making the most of your student life.
Getting working experience will help you once you finish university as every extra thing you do can be added to your CV and boost your employability.
Independency, here I am!
You can say that being at university is like being in a bubble, it’s quite a special environment. And many students believe that the real life after graduation is what makes them truly independent and mature.
I think independence comes with moving to university – you’re doing your laundry, you live on your own, no help from your parent anymore – these are valuable lessons that they can’t prepare us for, unless we leave the nest.
I personally learnt a lot from moving away from my parents’ home – yes, I know how to do my laundry – (that woolen sweater should not go in the dryer!), how to cook a proper meal (frozen pizza thrown in the oven is not a proper meal!), how to do chores (ok, that random sock wasn’t supposed to be on the floor for the past 3 weeks, but you know…I was busy with assignments!)
I’ve learnt all of that, but also how to organize my time, how to make decisions, how to have initiative, how to lead a team, etc. I bet all this is important and useful in the adult life…
People I can count on
They say you will find the life long friends while at the university. I am grateful for the people that I have met – in my lectures, on campus or when working.
Everyone is so nice here, which makes it extremely easy to make friends, socialize and be a part of a group.
Undoubtedly, taking part in activities organized either by the students or the University increases your chances to find amazing company and friends.
There is honestly nothing better than to have “a partner in crime” when it comes to writing that annoying assignment. I’ve spent loads of hours in Peirson with my friends trying to motivate each other to finish and submit our projects.
Your friendships get stronger, the bonds get deeper when you go through difficult times together.
So find reliable, trustworthy and nice friends that you can have a laugh with, but also share problems with!
And in the end, just a piece of advice from someone who has experienced University in multiple ways – as a student, as an Erasmus student and as a work-placement student:
Work hard, but also enjoy the University to the maximum, since this is a unique experience, which you will remember forever.
These quick, one-time-only exercises can teach us about ourselves and what we want—and how we can tell our story. The bonus? You might just end up with a book...
By Leigh Newman
What to write: Try to summarize your life in two or three sentences. Take your time. Think about your past. "But mostly think about who you are today and how you got that way," says Roberta Temes, PhD, psychologist and author of How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days. "Maybe you want to focus on a certain relationship, maybe a certain theme...or maybe a feeling that has persisted for years."
Consider these examples before putting pen to paper:
Loving mom who worked all the time, no dad. Never really got over lonely childhood.
Love my life, love my dog, love my kids. No room for a guy.
Finally sober. Exhausting journey. Many regrets.
Beautiful, close family. And then the accident.
Fears and phobias finally overcome, thanks to husband. Still not sure if I deserve him.
Why it helps: First off, if you want to write a memoir, this three-sentence description will form the structure of your book. In effect, it's a supershort story of your life—a beginning, a middle and the now, if you will. Even if you have zero impulse to write another word, however, the exercise can show you how you view yourself, your past and your present, all of which can inform your future. Unless, of course, you change the narrative—a privilege granted to any writer.
What to write: Choose one or more of the sentences below and write a page or two that begins with that particular sentence. Don't worry about bringing up material that you are afraid might be too painful to explore, says Temes. "Please don't bother with grammar or spelling or punctuation issues. "Just write for yourself and for your clarity of mind."
Sentence 1: I was just a kid, but...
Sentence 2: I tried my best and...
Sentence 3: In that moment everything changed.
Sentence 4: It was shocking to find out that...
Sentence 5: It was the proudest day of my life. I couldn't stop smiling when...
Why it helps: Sometimes we avoid the most obvious—and complicated—events that have happened to us, events that inform our whole life story. Let's say your three-sentence exercise was Loving mom who worked all the time, no dad. Never really got over lonely childhood. Maybe you could try, "I was just a kid but..." or "I tried my best but..." Was there something else that happened that prevented you from getting over your lonely childhood? Did it happen when you were a child—or later? Did it involve parents? You don't have to know the answers to these questions. Let the pre-written prompts guide you. "Don't think and write," says Temes. "Just write."
What to write: Take a minute to think about the previous two exercises. Then, please finish this sentence; I'd like to really understand everything that led me to _______________.
Here are some examples (it's okay to add an additional sentence or two):
I'd like to really understand everything that led me to marry Blake. He was so wrong for me and I don't want to make another mistake.
I'd like to really understand everything that led me to choose architecture as my life's work. Did it have to do with the way we lived when I was growing up?
I'd like to really understand everything that led me to become such a good mom, considering I had no role model.
I'd like to really understand everything that led me to never get along with my step-mother. Now that she's gone I realize what a good person she was and how she tried to have a relationship with me.
Why it helps: There's no need to do the actual examination and investigation now. Instead, just focus on identifying what it is you might delve into someday—in a memoir or in the pages of a journal or just in your mind. What truth is important for you to get at? You have a structure (your three sentences), you have a crucial event (that may have caused or contributed to that life story) and now you have a purpose—a reason for writing that will let you learn, enjoy and even be surprised by the story you've been waiting to tell yourself and—maybe, just maybe, the world, as well.
Roberta Temes, PhD, is the author of How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days, which includes other exercises like these.
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