1. Self-Motivation Is Essential
Remember in secondary school if you didn’t have your essay on Shakespeare done or didn’t hand in that history report? You may also remember your teachers harassing and hounding you for it until you did the work. That is not the reality here at UL or in any university. If you don’t do the project or don’t sit the exam on your own head be it, no one will come after you and make you work. You have to rely on yourself to get it done.
2. Being Anonymous
In secondary school you were mostly likely a student in a class of about 20 other students or maybe a little less. You knew them and they knew you. This can make for a very comfy environment for students. So it’s a big shocker for freshers when they get to university and suddenly they’re just a lone student in a lecture hall of maybe 150-200 students whom they most likely have never met. This can be overwhelming and a little terrifying. But fear not! In this crowded room are perhaps some of the most wonderful people, who will become your best friends.
3. “Fitting In” Means Something Very Different
I’m not even talking about cliques here although it applies to them too. In secondary school you may have been concerned about how you styled your hair or wore your uniform. Standing out was just not something you did there. Certainly secondary school is not the most ideal setting for self expression but university is! Here in UL there is something for everyone from sports, clubs and societies of which there are many. There is no “fitting in” in the conventional sense because it means something different for every student. So don’t worry if you didn’t “fit in” in secondary school because the same laws do not apply here.
4. The Style Of Learning Changes
Apart from having to rely on yourself to get the work done, the whole way you actually learn the material and the way it is accessed changes too. Depending on which course you’re studying you may find that you have few or no exams. A lot of courses here in UL involve continuous assessment. This means that your overall grade in a particular module will be based on essays or group projects. This is a relief to some and a kick in the head to others.
For a lot of students every night is a night out. Whether it is a few drinks in the campus pub or a bender in the city, your nightlife is bound to change drastically. This is all fine and dandy as long as you don’t let it interfere with your classes too much.
6. Bullying Is Non-Existent
Think about it, a lot of third level students are mature adults in their late twenties or older. Some of them have kids. They don’t have time for calling other people mean names or spreading nasty rumours. UL is a very friendly and supportive place so even if you do experience bullying there are many people you can go to for help.
7. Realising You Love It Here
People often say that school days are the best of your life. I disagree. University years are the years where you make lifelong friends, discover new hobbies and find your place in the world. It can be tough but it is worth it. UL is a great place full of great people and you are one of them.