I was always perplexed by ‘forever students’ — those who continued to study well into their 20s and 30s. Clinging to the safety of lecture halls and shielding themselves from the ‘real’ world behind bookshelves. Happy to suckle from the teat of welfare as their shrinking bank accounts slowly grew their brains. But then I signed up for university as a mature age student and, as I come to the end of my degree, I’ve realised that actually, uni life is pretty bloody great.

The thought of going into the world without the safety of training wheels is scary but, as someone who has been in both worlds, I’ve learned a few things along the way. If you pay attention to what happens at university, you’ll see that it can teach you a lot about life. So here are some things that uni taught me. By the way, that’s me pictured above on the left.


The dreaded ghouls that have kept generations of students up at night with the guilt of choosing to watch hours of House of Cards instead of doing that major research essay. Or to those students who have a little more self-control, the unrelenting focus that consumes you until your task is done. But as a result, you miss many coffee dates, late drunken nights and parties because you were so focused on that deadline. Congratulations on your dedication to your study but as John Lennon once said, ‘life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’.

When you come to the end of your tertiary education. you will remember the times you did the wrong thing more than the times you did the right thing. I’m not saying that university should be one big party (although, first year students would suggest otherwise), but I think balancing your work and your fun is a must. Otherwise you might miss out on all of the things that uni life offers: the societies, the cheap beers, the taco nights and the friends who will remember you for who you were, before you became somebody.

It’s all about Yin and Yang at university, as it is in l


You can also learn how to deal with egotistical nut-cases by standing up for yourself at university. Just because you are a student it does not mean that you cannot question authority, respectfully. It is important to always question because if you don’t those in power will not be held accountable for their actions.


Ah yes, the gut wrenching decision over whether to spend your last few Centre link dollars on an over-priced coffee or use it to pay off your library fines. Caffeine will help you study but if you don’t pay your fine the library will withhold your assessment results until you cough up the dollars.

It is all about priorities.


Do not stand or squat on top of public toilet seats as you may fall and injure yourself and end up in the Ministry of Magic.

Always walk to the left of the stairs otherwise you may end up with someone’s extra hot, tall, skim, caramel latte down your front.

Do not tweet/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat during a class, this is rude and it becomes a habit. Because chances are, if you do this sort of thing in a work meeting your boss won’t be happy about it.

Be aware of not using politically incorrect phrases in front of people who have a vendetta against such things. You have been warned.


Don’t half do your outfit. For example, if you choose to wear active clothes to class, even if the only active thing that day will be your brain, then always wear a g-string. This is to hide the fact that elastic and butt-flesh don’t go well together and will make your derriere resemble a camel (humps). I’ve embarrassed myself too many times and I never learn.


With the recent popularity of adult colouring in books it seems that zen is just a magenta shade away. But mindfulness can be achieved in your everyday interactions and activities. Take note of the little everyday blessings and be grateful for them, like not being attacked by a duck during lunch.

Never wish anything away because it is all transient but being truly present in the moment will allow you to tap into something that will stay with you always.


Often the best way to learn is to do, so don’t be afraid to jump into new territory and make mistakes because as a student you get a lot of lee-way. The more you put yourself out of your comfort zone the more it will reward you later when you can proudly declare, “hey, I know how to do that!”


Don’t take relationships and friendships at university for granted. The people that you choose to spend time with during this time of growth have important lessons to teach you. Like, not putting your own selfish desires over another persons, especially if you know it may hurt them and valuing the people in your life. Before you know it the people you see everyday will go off on their own paths and you’ll realise that they were more than just uni mates.

Also, if want to get to know someone* better, take a leaf out of my book and maybe don’t ignore them because you’re too shy to say hello. Time is a precious thing and chances will pass you by if you let them.

And finally…

The biggest thing that university taught me was that in life you do not get a rehearsal, the real thing is happening right now. So take chances, question things and do not be afraid to plunge headfirst into life, because you just might learn something along the way.

*Hot URAC guy, I’m talking to you. Wanna get a peppermint tea sometime?