Group work

The alternative list of things you’ll learn at University

We are all aware that the main goal of going to university is to achieve your degree – and hopefully go on to a happy, rewarding and successful career path. A wealth of knowledge will be obtained from your field of study, but what about the more obscure and comical skills that you acquire? Here’s a list of the alternative things you may learn whilst at university!

1. The pressure essay.

austin powers deadline

Coursework, assignments, essays, deadlines. These are all inescapable elements of university life. However, over the years of your course, one task you may have plenty of opportunity to practice will be that of the pressure essay! Picture the scene:

  • It’s the 26thof November
  • Opening semester modules are drawing to a close
  • Your coursework deadline for one of your modules is the 27thof November.
  • Passing requires a 1500 word critical evaluation essay.
  • You currently have 0 words of this essay.
  • Your pre-essay research involves one ‘mind map’, along with several doodles of grumpy cartoon faces!

So it’s now time to complete the PRESSURE ESSAY! The concentration needs to be intense, you have less than 24 hours to give it your all and get the job done. Now, hopefully, this will not be a regular occurrence, but in case of emergency our survival tips include; a sturdy yet comfy chair, copious amounts of water and energy drinks (hydration is the key!), turning off your phone and quickly developing a decent knowledge of the university’s online library!

2. Student loans can be blown VERY quickly!


That feeling when you look at your bank account the day your student loan comes in is one of pure elation… That feeling you get looking at your bank account 3 weeks later, when you have gone out most nights and got drink down your new wardrobe, is quite the opposite! Money management is a key learning curve, and unfortunately there are many cases of learning the hard way…  Don’t worry, by 3rd year your money management skills will have developed to perfection, * looks at third year students* …right?!

3. The cupboard cookbook.


More often than not, if you move away to university it will be your first time living away from home. This will come with its fair share of challenges, and it is a massive part of a student’s university experience. A key element of this is cooking – and the skills, or indeed lack of, that you may have in this area! The art of making a meal from the depths of your bottom shelf could possibly become second nature by the end of your degree, and a new culinary wizard is born! Anyone for chili and Italian herb, tuna spaghetti, with a spoon of chocolate spread for pudding?

4. Alarm clock roulette.

alarm meme

Let battle commence to reach those lectures on time! Time management is a skill that hones in with much practice, and your course timetable will require you to learn how to split your time between classes, studying, socialising and sleeping! The latter is one that may catch out a lot of students, and the honest truth is that most of you will be late to a class due to oversleeping at least once (or more). So the art of getting as much sleep as possible, without becoming late, is a true university life lesson – and our top tip is to prep the night before. Get your clothes and bag ready before you go out or go to sleep – this will allow you that extra snooze if needed, and also shows excellent organisational skills. Win, win really!

5. Travel shortcuts.


This one is particularly useful if you are terrible at the alarm clock roulette! Whether you commute to campus, or live just a stones throw away in halls or a student house – your early university days will include checking maps, following signs, and just generally getting to grips with the locations you need to be at. But as you journey through your course years, be prepared to become a master at travel shortcuts! The cheeky cut through a housing estate, the underpass by the shops, or the car park that always has a space for you; these are just some of the potential travel hacks that are bound to be in your repertoire by the time you graduate!

6. Takeaway hotspots.

big bang takeaway

Particularly handy for when the cupboard cookbook is completely bare, knowing a great takeaway place is a key food factor for survival! Once you find that favourite food house, it will soon become your reliable friend during difficult study times, or empty cupboard times! Two tips here – try a variety of takeaways early on to help distinguish who takes top spot; and when the champion is chosen get to know the owners/managers by name, which will hopefully get you some cheeky freebies on top of your order!

7. Group work is there to stay!

group work pie chart

*Harsh lesson alert!* One very common grumble amongst students is the amount of times group projects are set during their respective courses. There will always be certain people in groups that end up taking on more work than others and disagreements may occur. Now, although the above picture does make light of the situation, hopefully over your time at university you will appreciate the real lessons that group work teaches us. Co-operating and collaborating with people you haven’t done so with before is common in the workplace. It actually builds team-working skills and shows the strength of your character in successfully working with more ‘difficult’ colleagues. It’s time to embrace the group tasks… ‘Cause they aren’t going anywhere!

So there we have it!

7 quirky lessons learnt during your time at university. They may seem like quite comical things to consider, but each underlies some huge aspects of learning and self-development that you can go through during your degree. If there are any other ‘university life hacks’ you may have, then feel free to share them in our comments section below.