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What Life at The University of Westminster Taught Me

For those who decide not to go to university, doing a degree can seem like nothing more than an expensive, wishy-washy way of avoiding the “real world”, during which you may or may not acquire some knowledge that will hopefully come in handy for your career and not just for when you’re watching Pointless.

Although there are some lessons you can expect to learn as a student at pretty much any university, such as how many units of alcohol you can drink before a tactical chunder is absolutely necessary, or how many days into term it takes before you can acceptably start rolling into lectures in your Primark onesie, there are others that are a little bit more specific.

For me, here are just some of the sacred words of wisdom I learned during my time as a University of Westminster student.

Living a five minute walk away from your place of work should always be a #LifeGoal.

To the halls of residence sitting snuggly on the Harrow Campus, not ten metres from The Forum in first year, this is my love letter to you. When it comes to your housing in second and third year, find the closest house physically possible. No need to worry about functioning plumbing, good heating (you can’t afford that), or whether there is mould growing on the walls. Make it a 5 minute walk from the uni’s main entrance and you’ll be sold. Overslept? No worries. Need a quick nap in that hour break between a lecture and seminar? Go ahead! I only wish this ease could translate into graduate life, but alas forty-minute commute, you are not the one.

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Clean spaces really do improve productivity.

Dissertation season will creep up on you far too quickly, and when it does there’s nothing (other than copious amounts of chocolate and alcohol) that can make you feel better, right? Wrong. A top quality, not to mention Instagram-worthy, library can also do the trick. Although I bid adieu before the glorious second floor makeover (pink stairs, I repeat pink stairs!), I did benefit from the wonders of snug shell-like seating and the glass booths of the silent floor. Honestly, a part of me regrets not adding this all0important acknowledgement in my dissertation, because I owe that beautiful pink/mint library a lot after what felt like a near-death third year experience.

Gloomy day, bright library 💡 // photo by: @lunaleah

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Freshers’ Week might be more exciting than Christmas.

Okay, this could be a slight exaggeration. BUT Santa Claus doesn’t bring free Nando’s or Domino’s Pizza vouchers, just saying. Freshers’ fairs were filled with freebies and signing up to societies you’d never hear the end of after. But mostly freebies. There’s nothing I miss more than getting my hands on ten free lanyards, 2 water bottles, and dinner sorted for the next fortnight at the start of every term. That, and the myth that Freshers’ Week didn’t actually spread well into two and that most lectures during that time are a blur to us all.

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There’s nothing more inspiring than being surrounded by other creative minds.

While studying towards a Journalism degree, a good 99% of my degree took place on the University of Westminster’s beautiful Harrow Campus. Music, art, and other media students were in an abundance, and with room to collaborate on fun projects, there was no end to that creative flow. That, or students found themselves lounging on the beanbags surrounded by incredible artwork tapestries, taking a stroll in the London Gallery West, or watching musical performances taking place right in the heart of The Forum or Area 51. The University of Westminster is a hub for likeminded people who just get you.

London is the most majestic city of them all.

If you don’t fall hard for London after living in the capital for three years, it’s clearly not for you. Filled with a buzzing energy and B-E-A-utiful views everywhere you turn, the University of Westminster made me a victim to the London lovebug. Also, news flash! London puts the capital E in Expensive. You can say farewell to any chance of living there after graduation. Living in London as a student ­- and not completely slumming it – is about the only time you can. With the angels from above that is Student Finance pumping money into you every three months, our capital city is your oyster. Spend now, worry later. That’s what adulting is for, right?

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And, in a surprising turn of events, self-growth was a thing that happened.

All these uni life lessons go to show that that 27 grand investment truly was worth it, not to mention the heavy London maintenance loan on top.

All jokes aside, my time as a university student taught me a lot, both about myself and about my chosen field. Turns out I can cook, mostly pasta and cereal. The friends you make at university are for life. You can do anything you put your mind to when a deadline is fast approaching. 12,000 words? Definitely not enough words when you realise you like the sound of your own voice. And a tactical chunder is always necessary when drinking vodka and wine in the same breath.

University of Westminster, thanks a bunch!

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