Things nobody tells you about University
As you would expect, I am some one who has "been there done that". However, I have taken longer than expected to complete my degree resulting in me being at both ends of the spectrum: an 18 year getting away from home and going wild and; a mature 20-something who just wants to get it over and done with and move on with life. No matter what it seems like now, the latter WILL happen to you eventually so you should prepare for this accordingly...
The useful parts
1. Nobody makes you go to class - Nobody gets you up in the morning....that is all up to you. Missing a day here and there is okay...but get into a habit of not going in and you're sunk! After all you are paying for the privilege. You don't buy a coffee then don't drink it do you?
2. Join a club or society - It is a great way to get to know people and develop that talent you had no opportunity to develop in your tiny home town.
3. If you don't know many people in the city, move into university halls/dorms. Another way to meet people and its an experience that you will find much more fun and easier the younger you are.
4. Get to know your classmates. Some of them may seem antisocial, some of them may seem too nerdy for you; but i can promise you you aren't perfect either. You can help each other with work and meeting deadlines and yes I am going to repeat myself...getting to know more people is the name of the game.
5. Don't forget about staying healthy - It can be very easy to get into a lazy routine. This may be okay at 18 years old but i can promise you it will catch up on you...and it will not be pretty when it does. At the very least walk to class and back every day (Hopefully that will be at least 2 miles/3KM).
6. Do your work - Assignments and Practicals are easy marks for most courses. It really takes the pressure off for an exam if you know that, worst case scenario, all you need to get is 5 marks out of 60 to pass the module.
7. Don't just aim to pass - Aim to do your best. At least this way you can be proud of what you've done no matter what.
8. Don't drop the head at the first sign of struggling - University is a big step up for everybody. If you are having trouble doing something you can be sure you are not the first and probably not the only one in your class. Ask your lecturers...they are there to help and will not stop to explain something further unless you ask.
The fun parts
1. Don't drink too much - It can be very easy to go completely off the rails once you get away from home for the first time. That extra Jagerbomb at the end of the night? Its not needed. 2 shots of tequila instead of 1? Drink one and if you still want another one in half an hour get it then. The alcohol takes a while to get you drunk after drinking it. So what you have already taken may be enough to get you to that happy confident stage. Just be patient and wait and see.
2. Learn your limits - Everybody has that night where they drink too much and pass out somewhere they shouldn't. However, don't be the guy/girl who does it all the time. There is no need and it just makes your friends hate you. Once you know how much drink it takes to get you happy and confident, don't drink more than that. It helps to document how much you drink and on that night where you had the best night ever? You know exactly what to do to repeat it.
3. Play safe - You're not invincible when you're drunk. You are not immune to disease or infertile no matter how much drink you've had. If you ever think of risking it when you're drunk....just think of the sinking feeling you would have when you realize you have to tell your parents they are going to be grandparents soon.
4. Don't get too caught up when somebody you like doesn't like you back - It happens all the time. To everybody. You will break hearts and you will get your heart broken. Its all a part of life and growing up. It is not the end of the world, because in a few months time you will find somebody new...and wonder what you saw in the other person.
Have you been to University? Did you enjoy it?
If you have the option to, go to University. It is the experience of a lifetime and it would be a shame to miss out. However, if you have other life plans, that is okay too. You will have friends that go to University and you can live some of the experiences through them. Plus, it is not for everybody. There is always travelling and many other ways to experience life. The world is your oyster at 18 after all....
But remember if you go; work hard, party hard.