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Student view: What’s uni like?

Hear what university life is like from the perspective of some current students.
Going to university can be a little bit of a mystery for those who go to school or college. I’m here today to talk to Kira from first year to see what she thought before she came to university. So Kira, what brought you to Reading? I wanted to go to university. I think I decided about a year ago. I wanted to pursue something a little bit more academic, having worked for a couple of years. Yeah. I really enjoy it. It was a bit daunting at first, but I think I’ve settled in.
What were your initial thoughts before coming to university? What were you worried about? I was a bit worried because I’m slightly older. I was a bit concerned about being in amongst people that were a lot younger. But there are people that are, like, just like you. You can find– it takes a while for like friendships to build and like to find your people. So I’m guessing that’s kind of changed now. You/ve got– Yeah. Now I don’t feel that way now. I’m like, this is fine, settled in. And yeah. I guess it’s– Seat? Yeah, sure. So how did you actually prepare yourself before coming to university? I went to open days, things like that.
I read up on what my course– what my course entailed in different universities. Which I think is a good thing to do. What the entry requirements were, what I preferred in terms of a city or a campus uni? And for me it was campus. Yeah. I mean I like that, as well. So convenient, isn’t it? It’s more– yeah. You’re more of a community and it’s easier to meet people. Whereas what I heard about city university is it can be bit isolating because you’re all separate. If you want to go to a society, or get from one place to another, you’re probably going quite a long way. Did you have to prepare yourself socially?
Did you contact all your new flatmates and things? Oh, yeah briefly. But we didn’t speak for as long as they were speaking. I didn’t realise they had a chat. Oh, did you not? No. They had an Instagram chat for a while, which I just wasn’t part of because I didn’t realise that. And then like two days before, I found them and I was like, oh. Before you come to university, you can have the opportunity to meet your fellow flatmates or friends, course mates, for example, by looking on social media or things. A lot of the university organises a lot of things like that, so you can get to know who’s on your course or who are you living with.
And then, for those who are really nervous about talking to people for the first time, it does give you that opportunity to break the ice beforehand.
Would you say your friends from home are completely different to your friends at uni? Yes. Yeah. I would agree. I think– Yes. I think it’s kind of like a regional thing where it depends where you’re from. Yeah. To the things that you and your friends are into, or the things you discuss, or your humour. But that’s good. It’s good to have pe– It’s refreshing. Very refreshing. Yeah. I think it’s really good to have friends that are different and, like, you take on different views. And then it kind of shapes you as an individual. Yeah. Because you’re not just constantly– I feel a lot of people who come to university, it’s their first opportunity away from home.
And they’ve never had the opportunity to meet certain people from certain backgrounds, certain ethnicities, or even like international students. And it gives them the opportunity to learn about other cultures and develop as an individual. It depends who you meet. You can meet people that are 21, 26, who are like really immature. Oh, 100%. And then meet a really old 18-year-old. So it depends. And like I said before, you’ll find your circle. Like I was a bit worried in the start about finding my circle of friends, people I really clicked with. And once I relaxed and just let things happen when they did, that’s when my circle formed.
I do think, in freshers, it’s great to meet new people, it’s great to do all these things. But it is very hard to just settle down. And then after that initial period, you become yourself again. And that’s when you really find your solid friends I would say. Definitely. I agree.
In terms of the academic side, I definitely wanted my course to be really well taught. I was also concerned about how many different optional areas there would be in my course, so I had that expectation, the academic side. And then on the flip side, my expectations for social stuff was that I’d meet lots of different people, and it would be– there was one university I went to where we would live far away. So you had people living near the university and then people that were half an hour away.
And that didn’t work for me because I wanted to make sure that I could have friends in different areas and it would– I do think it’s important to have friends from different friendship groups, for example. Because then there are certain things that you can, you might find you want to talk serious things with some people, but you find some friends are more good at the social stuff so you go and hang out with them. No. I totally agree with you. Yeah.
You came to university after working. Did you find that beneficial? Yeah. I can manage my– I’m much better at budgeting, for sure. Like, where some of my other friends were like spending 60 pounds on food shopping on their first couple of weeks, and to me that’s insane because I can do it for less than 20 every week. Really? Yeah. It depends how often to me. I know some of friends like doing the food shop weekly. I think if I do one, that would last me for a good four weeks. Four weeks? Yeah. But obviously there’s some things I would need to pop to the shop for like salad bits. But my staples will last me for a month.
Do you freeze stuff? Yeah. Do you buy in bulk? I bulk cook. OK. No, because I bulk cook. I cook lots of Indian food. No. I bulk cook, but it lasts me just over a week max. It was a bit difficult because obviously when you’re a student, you have limited space because you’re sharing a flat. So I’ve got limited freezer space and things, but I do quite well. I could literally make a meal out of nothing. Yeah. Do you want to live together next year? I actually need someone to live with.

In the first of our student to student discussions, Puja and Kira discuss their expectations of university, and their experience before and when they started university.

We provide a written transcript of each video in this course which you may find useful. You can find this by clicking ‘view transcript’ found underneath each video or at the bottom of the Step under the heading ‘downloads’.

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