44 things it’s taken me three years of being a uni student to realise

25. You will NEVER figure out how to smoothly operate the library doors

Coming to the end of three drama filled years (thanks to a global pandemic, history-making strike action, and Matt Hancock going on I’m a Celeb) it’s been a chaotic whirlwind of absolutely thriving and completely fucking up within seconds of one another. Everyone goes through quite the journey of self discovery and often it takes you until third year to start doing things you realise you should have been doing all along.

Part nostalgia, part things which are just laziness disguised as youth here are the best things I’ve learnt over the last three years:

1. Firehouse is a really good place to go just for drinks

A bottle of their house wine split between two of you is actually not too ££ and you get all the vibes.

2. Group sports are way less traumatic than they were in school

Intra-mural, tennis with your housemate, rounders on the beach – it’s a way to exercise, spend time with friends, and raise some endorphins without having to anywhere near a gym or its fees.

3. Hoover more

It will give you a little satisfaction smile every time you look at your clean floor.

4. Red flags exist in friendships too

And are ignored a lot.

5. Mojitos are really easy to make at home

And thus Mojito Mondays in my house were born (and we haven’t looked back since) x

6. MarketPlace pain au chocolats are weirdly amazing

Providing you get there before 11 am.

7. Wine glasses make drinking shitty wine taste so much better

And can be easily “borrowed” from home…

8. Thinking you can’t pull something off is a mindset

Be the person wearing the stuff you wish you could pull off.

9. Tree hugging does actually make you feel better

Just call me a woman in STEM.

10. Stickers are still exciting as an adult

And if you’re someone who thinks it’s tragic to have them on a laptop – grow up, you’re just jealous.

11. Floss

Not everyday obvs (even my dentist Luis told me he doesn’t floss every day) but every now and then. Your future gums will thank you.

12. You can go to pres and not the full night out

No hang-xiety, and very little FOMO – all round win.

13. Going clubbing sober is actually really easy (if you’re with the right people)

And you don’t even have to tell people you’re not drinking.

14. Dancing in the kitchen improves your mood

Bonus points if your housemates are in the kitchen too but not dancing.

15. Leave campus if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it

No deadline or lecture is worth your anxiety or panic attack. Leaving campus and getting to your safe / quiet space is the best thing you can do, you can always catch up if you need to.

16. Very few people actually batch cook – it’s just leftovers

And you only feel like people are because the ones that do bang on about it.

17. You are never going to be the right temperature walking to uni

You will always start shivering and finish your journey feeling like Mount Vesuvius’ active cousin.

18. Cardboard cut outs will always scare the shit out of you the first few times you walk past it in the dark

Even if it’s Harry Styles.

19. Have your friends over for dinner more

It’s cheap, it’s relaxing, it’s damn wholesome and you need to eat anyway, so you’re not really losing time.

20. Take more pictures and be in them

The memories are stronger than your insecurities (even if it doesn’t feel like it rn).

21. People aren’t morally or intellectually superior for not watching reality TV

Love Island slaps – grow up and admit you enjoy watching it, even if it’s just for the memes.

22. It’s way easier to nap on campus than you think

Trust me, we really did our research…

23. Themed stuff is actually really fun and better when you commit

Feel like a twat, have a good time.

24. No one is reading for pleasure whilst at uni

And if they are, they’re posting about it to let e v e r y o n e know.

25. You will NEVER figure out how to smoothly operate the library doors

Rumour has it that if you haven’t been trapped in the doors at least once, you’re not allowed to graduate.

26. Educate yourself about human rights issues

Whether it’s the ongoing BLM movement, fast fashion impact on the planet and its workers, or the Palestine-Isreali conflict – these issues affect hundreds of peoples’ lives. Saying “you don’t really know enough about it” isn’t good enough – use Instagram pages or scan a news article – there’s accessible information everywhere.

27. Go stargazing

It’s cheap, it makes a change from going out, and it’s weirdly calming and life-affirming.

28. Label your Tupperware

Including the lids (then you can match up your lids with the bases AND not get it confused with your housemates’ identical IKEA Tupperware – double win).

29. You can get drunk food even if you haven’t been out clubbing

Been to the pub? Get a snack for the road.

30. Turn up for friends’ birthdays

They only happen once a year even if it feels like they’re all crammed into two weeks. Organise your time and prioritise them, even if it means missing out on something else that week. You don’t have to drink, spend too much money, or even be there for long – figure a way to resolve whatever the problem is (as much as you can) and turn up.

31. No-one is judging you at open-mic nights, even if you’re bad you’re still bringing the energy

And anyone who is can get in the bin.

32. Efes chips only cost £2.50 ergo they are always worth getting at the end of a night out

Or before tbh.

33. You can go long-distance Christmas tree shopping with your family

FaceTime + Dad striding through the village Christmas tree farm holding up the phone + all your siblings also on FaceTime = job done (even if he waits until you’re back home to decorate it).

34. You can use masking tape as body tape

The things you learn at uni are astounding sometimes (just make sure you cover the nips).

35. Making playlists for friends is one of the biggest displays of love

Especially if it spells out a message with the songs.

36. You can get Pimms in a can

Strawberries, cucumber and good weather not included.

37. Your friendships rarely stay constant

And nothing quite prepares you for how much it hurts when they drift or fall apart.

38. You don’t have to be a part of a society to go to its stuff

If you feel like you’re falling into a rut, look at stuff societies are doing: think seeing a Shakespeare play in Exeter Castle, joining a ceilidh practise, seeing a comedy night, ending up at a Eurovision themed karaoke, going to a live Soul and Jazz night at Phoenix, or crashing a couples yoga class. There are so many opportunities – especially plays and shows – that you can get for under £5. So whether you’re going with friends, in charge of date night, or taking yourself out (slay), utilise the things available to you.

39. Having a bag of bags does not make you old, it makes you savvy

Double points if there’s a whole draw or cupboard dedicated to this. Win.

40. It takes way less time to (deep) clean than you think

And it will bring you an unexpected amount of joy – at least until your messy housemate comes home.

41. Being easily pleased is a good thing

It’s not childish, it’s an attitude of gratitude, duh.

42. You will always time your campus loo trip with when it’s closed for cleaning

No matter what time, which toilets, whatever gender – it’s some kind of cosmic trick I swear.

43. For the love of god, HIDE from club photographers

You will thank me later.

44. No matter how hot it is, it is *always* too cold to go skinny dipping in Exmouth

It’s not the getting in, it’s the getting out and the walk of shame to your towel and clothes. Save it for holiday when you’re four Aperols in.

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37 things I wish I could have told my Exeter fresher self

Avo toast, Batty Bingo, Circuit Laundry: The definitive A-Z of Exeter student life

23 things you can’t help but relate to if you’re mid-dissertation at Exeter