50 life lessons I learnt while at university

by Feb 13, 2023

You learn a lot of lessons at uni. The coursework, obviously, but also general life lessons.

I recently finished my undergrad studies, and I’m graduating this year. Over the past four years, I’ve learnt a lot of coursework and theory. However, beyond the subject learning objectives and the course outcomes, I’ve also picked up a lot of general life lessons that I’ll carry with me into my future career and life. Some are serious and deep. Others are silly but true. Regardless, in no particular order, here are 50 things I learnt at uni. 

Lessons about studying

1. The only way to finish something is to start it.
2. Sometimes, what you think are your worst assignments will be used as exemplars the next time the class is run.
3. Don’t beat yourself up for leaving your assignments to the last minute. The most important thing is that you get them done.
4. Online learning is draining. Let yourself rest.
5. Don’t try ‘study’ on a beanbag (particularly the colourful ones in the UTS library). You will end up wasting time watching YouTube.
6. Use the apps that block other sites when you’re working and studying. Even if you think you have the willpower to avoid temptation, it’s better not to have it in the first place.
7. Triple-check your references.
8. In group work, sometimes you need to stick to your guns and stand up for yourself, and sometimes you need to let it go for your own mental sake.
9. You won’t win every battle.
10. Be the person that shows up, even when it seems like no one else is. This includes turning your camera on when in an online class.
11. Take notes during class, even if they’re chaotic and even if it’s an online lecture or tutorial.
12. It’s okay to say no to social or work things if uni is crazy. 9/10 people will understand.
13. Stop talking about how much work you have to do and do the work.
14. Not all tasks are created equal. Learn how to prioritise.
15. But also, don’t waste too much time trying to prioritise your to-do list. (Remember life lesson number 1 here)
16. Learning can be fun. Let it.
17. Binge-watching crash course videos doesn’t count as research.

Lessons about food

18. Pack lunch (seriously, buying it adds up.) And remember snacks.
19. Keep cups are your friend.
20. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a snack break. Bonus energy, and a mood boost can fix a lot of problems.
21. If there’s a food you love getting for takeout, learn how to make it at home.
22. Woolworths $3 chicken chips are not a meal.
23. Sometimes, we all just need a good cup of tea and a bit of a vent session with a friend or loved one.

Lessons about work

24. It’s okay to have a part-time job that seems unrelated to your degree. Just know how you can use it to show transferrable skills.
25. Take your next step before you think you’re ready.
26. For every ten cold emails you send, you will get one response.
27. Write a unique cover letter every single time you go for a job.
28. Don’t underestimate the value of your non-work experience when you’re going for a new role.
29. Proofread your emails. And double check you spelt the person’s name right.
30. Be friends with your coworkers. It makes work so much more fun. 
31. Sometimes, not deciding is making the decision.

Lessons about wellbeing

32. It’s okay to have a bit of fun.
33. You can get Spotify premium at half price as a student. Trust me; it’s worth it.
34. Find things that bring you joy, and don’t feel guilty about doing them.
35. Times change so quickly, so be thankful for what you have.
36. Uni isn’t your whole life.
37. Reach out for help earlier rather than later. Even if you think you can cope without it.
38. Go to bed on time (seriously, it does wonders for stress).
39. You’re always your own harshest critic.
40. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
41. Never underestimate the peace that staring at a big body of water can give you.
42. Pay attention to your mental and physical health, and don’t burn yourself out.
43. There is a difference between stress and anxiety, even if they typically go hand in hand. It’s okay to need extra support.

Lessons about everything else

44. An anablep is a four-eyed fish that can see both above and below the water simultaneously.
45. Be an anablep.
46. If something seems too good to be true, it might just be a good deal. Though, you should always use critical thinking regardless. 
47. Nothing is ever black and white. But sometimes, it’s pretty close.
48. Don’t neglect life-admin stuff. If you get a reminder to do something, do it straight away.
49. There’s no such thing as the smartest person in the room, just the one that asks the most questions.

Finally, my final piece of advice:

50. You need to learn your own life lessons for yourself. Getting advice from others and hearing what they’ve learnt can be helpful. But at the end of the day, you must make your own journey.

So, keep these life lessons in mind whether you’re starting uni, partway through, coming back for a post-grad degree, or off in the workforce.
And maybe, ask yourself, what are some of your life lessons? 


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Amelia Bussing

Amelia Bussing

Communications Assistant

Amelia is a Sydney-based writing and communications enthusiast working at UTS Careers as a Communications Assistant. She is a current UTS Student, studying a Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing & Advertising), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. She is passionate about creativity, storytelling, and the art of a well-timed gif, and has a vast collection of crazy socks.