University was a strange time for me. It took me a while to do that thing people call “finding your groove” – I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I told you that it wasn’t really until final year when I finally found this mysterious “groove”.
That was the sound of my university certificate falling through the mail slot in the front door this morning. You know, that cream-coloured piece of paper you get in return for x years of blood, sweat and tears. Though mine were mostly sweat and tears, there might have been considerably more blood had I been a nursing student – not my own, I should add.
There’s a reason I did pharmacy, you know.
Nevertheless, I did find my groove eventually, despite fumbling my way through the first year in a far from graceful fashion. Trust me, I have some rather embarrassing marks to show for it – just take a peek at my academic transcript. But university was a period of immense growth for me. Like most young adults, it was the first time I was able to take on a certain degree of independence – and responsibility. I made some wonderful memories, and met some wonderful people along the way.
I apologise for sounding like a university brochure, but it’s true. Believe it or not, a lot of the aforementioned blood, sweat and tears contributed to my most treasured uni memories. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m in a rather reflective mood today. Here are some of my favourite things about my time at university.
Friends, food and drink.
I think this applies to me in general – a lot of my best memories revolve around good food and drink. Whether it’s Dominos and a Disney film with my partner, or brunch with the girls, food has always been there for me. Uni was no different. After the annual OSCE (the big clinical practical exam at the end of every academic year that fills everyone with dread), the celebration afterwards was always the best part. I remember getting McDonald’s with a close friend and talking about the strange patient scenarios they had thrown at us – over the biggest sharing box of chicken nuggets. The following year, it was sharing jugs of cocktails between at least eight of us whilst we were all convinced we had failed (we all passed).
The hot cup of tea in 9am lectures.
There’s no better feeling than when the caffeine hits just in time for a particularly gruelling 9am lecture. I was told time and time again that university would turn me into a coffee addict. This just didn’t happen for me – there were people around me who spent most of their student loans at Costa and Starbucks, or used a coffee subscription service. The coffee habit never quite took off for me.
But tea – that’s my kryptonite.
A good study group can do wonders. It is truly magical when everyone gets together to learn and contribute in equal measure – though there was always the odd one who only ever took everything and gave nothing. Don’t be that person.
My time spent in study groups was always valuable and I loved learning from my friends. They might have spotted something that I hadn’t, or approached a case study in a way I would never have thought of. Pharmacy is a stressful degree with regular information overload – there are no two ways about it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is most likely oblivious or neck-deep in denial. The pressure and anxiety around exams was beta-blocker worthy.
P.S. I do NOT endorse self-medicating with beta blockers.
I was never much of a fitness nut. I am still nowhere near what you might consider a fitness nut. But university was when I finally started to give the whole exercise thing a proper go. And it felt AMAZING.
It started with weekly Pilates sessions, which eventually turned into full body workouts and taking up running. I personally didn’t see the need to join a gym, but that can be a wise choice for some when it comes to consistency and the social aspect of things. Exercise gave me a healthy outlet to blow off some steam when I just needed to step back from it all for a minute. It also did wonders for my general confidence and wellbeing. Top tip: youtube videos for solo workouts! They’re free, too.
University was a steep learning curve, but it was worth every step of the way. Here’s to making more great memories.
Disclaimer: All images used in this post were obtained from and edited on Canva for thenellybean.