10 things which have taken me three years of being an Exeter University student to realise

4. Being more spontaneous

As a third year Exeter Uni student, I have realised a lot. Through the amount of ups and downs there are to being a student, I have realised how important it is to look after yourself and most importantly, I have realised that I really need to stop saying yes to getting another Venom (it’s never worth it). Your time at the University of Exeter gives you so many valuable memories. There’s the time your friend chunned outside the Unit 1 burger van, or the time you got carried home after a Sketch Friday, or even the time you got kicked out of the Mega Kebab kitchen.

You don’t realise how quickly time flies by at university. Although it may not feel like it sometimes (especially during an 8:30am seminar), time goes fast. So, here are some things it’s taken me three years to realise as an Exeter Uni student.

1. You don’t have to go out every night

When you’re a first year at uni, you feel like you have to go out every single night. Your schedule becomes Logic Monday, Salsa Tuesday, TP Wednesday, Dirty Beats Thursday, Sketch Fridays, Cavern Saturdays and even a Vaults Sunday. You have been told to “make the most out of first year” by becoming a feral club rat and spending all your student loan on cheesy chips and VKs. This doesn’t have to be the case. Just because you get FOMO doesn’t mean you should keep ruining your sleep schedule and break the bank just to make sure you don’t miss out. It’s okay to stay in. It’s okay to go to bed early. It’s okay to swap your vodka lime soda for some water.

2. Schedules

At uni, it becomes very easy to compare your organisation and productivity to other students. The housemate who wakes up at 6am every day, goes on their 5k run, has breakfast and goes to campus all before 10am may be seen as the “put together” friend, but this doesn’t mean their schedule has to be yours. Just because they’re an early bird doesn’t mean you have to be as well. You realise that everyone’s schedules work differently for them and whatever works for you, works for you. So if you’re someone who prefers to have late night library sessions, then do you. Or, if you’re someone whose schedule is constantly full, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

3. Spending time with friends

Over the past three years at uni, I realised that my “spontaneous” nights have always been my favourite. The nights where I say “I’ll just have one” never end up being “just one”. The supposed-to-be “chill” nights can sometimes end up in Vaults karaoke night singing your heart out to Iris by the Goo Goo dolls (this is a true story). For me, being more spontaneous has given me the funniest memories and are usually brought up in those “remember when” conversations. So, say “yes” to more things rather than “no”. You never know what nights can bring you closer to people and provide you memories you will cherish. You are only young once.

5. Pres > clubbing

As a third year student, I have realised that I actually prefer pres to clubbing itself. Yes, clubbing can be fun and yes, clubbing can be weird, but after a while you realise how repetitive clubbing can be. You can’t hear your friends and you always lose someone in TP. For me, pres are my favourite part of the night. I get to gossip with my girlies whilst drinking a bottle of cheap wine and get to take cute pictures. Sometimes I just want to stay at pres rather than go back outside and rush for my 9:30pm club entry. The vibes are always better at pres.

6. Prioritising yourself

Uni can be quite overwhelming at times, and it is very easy to get burnt out if you don’t look after yourself. Over the past three years, I have realised how important it is to prioritise myself and sometimes take a day away from studying. It’s actually better for you to give yourself some self-care days: Whether that’s having a pamper night-in or deep cleaning your bedroom. Whatever makes you feel re-energised, make sure to keep your well-being in check.

7. Using office hours

If there is one thing that has taken me three years to realise as an Exeter uni student is to use those office hours! I don’t know why, but when I first came to uni I was too shy to ask my lecturers for help, even if I really had no clue what was going on. It’s okay to reach out and ask for a one-to-one appointment. They are so much more helpful than you realise. Remember, your lecturers are there to help you, not judge you for not knowing how to reference.

8. Friendship groups

Before uni, you believe that you will develop your friendship group from the very first day. This is not the case. If there is anything I have realised over the past three years, it’s that having a solid friendship group takes time. You realise that not everyone has your best interests at heart and that not everyone you meet is going to be your kind of person. That’s okay. Friends come and friends go and sometimes it’s for better than worse.

It’s taken me three years to realise who my true friends are and no, it’s not the first person I met at uni. It is better to be surrounded by people who support you and not people who constantly tear you down. Also, don’t feel the need to be friends with everybody. That just won’t happen.

9. The little things

Over the past three years, I realised that I have started to cherish the little things in life. Even if that is going for a walk, laughing with my friends in the kitchen or simply treating myself to a Pret coffee. The little things in life make you appreciate the big things in life. Make sure you are more present in the moment because time flies and before you know it, you’re in third year wishing you spent more time catching up with your friends or taking yourself out on dates.

10. The love of your life is NOT in Fever room two