10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University


Transitioning from high school to university is a challenge. It’s exciting, intimidating, and very different to the environment taught in high school.

Young people are being pressured as early as Grade 7 to decide their higher education pathway and future careers. Careers that just might be over-crowded, unavailable, outsourced, redundant, or performed by machines by the time they graduate from university. It’s no wonder young people are so anxious and mental illnesses cases are skyrocketing. Anyway – that was a bit of a tangent.

Here are 10 things I wish I knew before starting university:

1.No matter how smart you were in high school – there is always someone smarter.

You may have been top of the class once, but at university you will probably be smack in the middle of the bell curve. Don’t be disheartened, think of it as an opportunity to push yourself.

2. Procrastinating big projects with other work is a serious problem.

Don’t do it, no matter how you may think you have achieved something because you crossed twelve items off your list today. Always do the hard stuff first!

3. Alcohol changes people.

I’d say most learned this lesson in high school – but I wasn’t particularly interested in alcohol or the culture surrounding it until I could legally drink. In short, alcohol encourages people to make poor decisions. Drink responsibly.

4. High school did nothing to prepare you for university.

No matter how often teachers threatened “You won’t get drafts at university.” Or “You won’t have us chasing you up for assignments at university.” – they never actually told us how to prepare for university which was really unhelpful.

5. High school was not as important as people told us.

In the end, if you don’t get the score you want, you can always study something else first and work towards your dream degree. There are always other avenues to reach your goals – it doesn’t all hinge on your results in high school.

6. Study-Life balance is very important.

I know a lot who get burnt out halfway through semester because they do nothing but study for hours every day. And, in the end, their marks reflect their mental and physical fatigue.

7. The Pomodoro Technique is a beautiful thing.

Google it – or read about it HERE. It has saved me while studying for finals.

8. As has the – “Sit down and study for 5 minutes” technique just to get the ball rolling (See Checklist for a Successful Day of Study).

9. Spend a lot of time organizing your timetable.                  

Always have a break for lunch, try to avoid blocks longer than three hours and cut down on the number of days you have to go into university.

10. This is very clique but – University is lots of FUN!

Join clubs, meet people, go out and party. University is challenging, and can drive you a little mental at times – but everyone is in the same boat so embrace the crazy.


Well, that’s really just scratching the surface, but I hope this was helpful. Feel free to comment any further advice you have for high-school leavers, and have a lovely Mother’s Day!


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