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#983109 - Wed May 08 2013 05:30 PM What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3927
Loc: Norwich England UK            
In England and many other countries university (college) is traditionally regarded as an important experience in the lives of those who go there. So, for those who went to university (college), what were the 'lessons for life' that you learned (as distinct from the academic and scientific lessons)? What made it a memorable experience and what did you take on board for life?

This time I'd prefer not to start the thread by talking about my own experience.

Apologies from the outset to those who did not go to college/university.

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#983118 - Wed May 08 2013 05:56 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12038
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
I suppose independence was the main thing, self reliance, taking care of myself in rooms. I had a doting Mum and Gran who did everything for me, and had literally never made a cup of tea or washed an item of clothing.When I got my place in University, my Mum applied for a job abroad, my Gran had died, and so I was in at the deep end, even to getting myself up in the mornings! It was hard; no clean underwear unless I washed it myself etc. Somehow or other I met the challenges and it certainly taught me to take care of myself. Managing money was another thing. This was a bit easier as my Mum had given me a monthly allowance for all expenses, including clothes, lunches and entertainment for some years before I left home. But College still made the juggling of money difficult. I survived!
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#983136 - Wed May 08 2013 08:33 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 7074
Loc: Kingsbury London UK           
Related to my personal route, being kicked out and spending a few months in the real world taught me to try again and not give up at any cost, which I did at the end of the year and returned to do a subject they recommended based on the original year, and stuck to it throughout. In the second year one tutor questioned if I was really degree material, and then made it my mission to show I was. I also learnt you could either treat it as a social club, which made me fail the first year, or work, which it was, and spent the remainder of the time hiding upstairs away from the student union for the majority of my time since.

Once I'd finished I then used all my collected knowledge learnt by direct experience to teach others to save them learning the hard way but prevent them from going astray in advance. No one ever taught me how to revise, and only a few about exam technique, I made it a standard part of the school year and hopefully saved people finding out after getting it wrong the first time. I admire people who can have a whale of a time, make loads of new friends and still get their degrees, but for me although I always had a small group of friends I always made sure I got the work done every week first before joining them, it was the only way I could stay on the case.
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#983585 - Sun May 12 2013 07:41 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3927
Loc: Norwich England UK            
My years at university were relatively peaceful for me.

As for being organized and relatively independent, I'd already achieved a lot of that at school (high school). As we had a heavy workload at university, personal organization was essential and had to be developed further. In fact, I often felt the whole thing was mainly a test of personal efficiency. However, none of that was new.

I did have to learn to deal with assorted smart Alecs and clever Dicks who thought they were just oh-so-clever and treated the rest of us as woefully and mind-bogglingly stupid. That kind of thing had not been tolerated - especially not by the peer group - at school, but at uni some students managed to get away with it. I noticed that they generally didn't do particularly well in published results. smile

However, all this is rather unexciting.

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#983723 - Mon May 13 2013 08:11 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18626
Loc: California USA
I began very young as they allowed us to take courses at the local two year college. I think I was sixteen and still in high school. I was able to get 'paid gigs' in the music field while going and working a number of other small jobs. I was a saxophone player.
I think I learned a lot about working while going to school the entire time. It wasn't easy but I did it. Later on, I began to study more seriously.
In the UK, I went to a big university as a post grad and had no idea of how students there did things. I went to a bookshop and purchased, 'How to Study' and did the revising like the Brits do. It worked apparently. I felt rather isolated there as I didn't fit into a neat category. I translated a book by an artist into English from the French so learned a lot about that!

Back in the States, I went to grad school again as I wanted to go further and once again, had to relearn how things were done there. Comprehensive exams just about killed me off. The most important thing I learned there was how to manage grad school with a small child in tow when you're the only one around with a small child in tow. I also used public transport yet lived way out in the suburbs so was taking it three hours a day with a kid on my hip. No reading on the train for me. My third year I became a real anomaly...the only one working outside the university (teaching French) with a small child, and the place I taught was about twenty five miles from the university by train and bus. My firstborn is very competent at traveling and I often wonder if it isn't because of all that bonding on the transport system. When I taught younger students I was so bored at hearing their typical drunken ranting about partying etc. I prefer teaching in larger state schools with a variety of ages and students from different backgrounds to smaller places.

I went back to teaching college to finish a credential about six years ago. Most of my classmates weren't born when I'd been studying beneath the trees the first time around. Learned how to get along with people of all ages! I worked on the weekends as a tutor.

Besides the European university in Scotland, I have never attended a college without working as well as studying.

As to scholastic learning, I'm thinking none of my French came from classes.

Edited to add that when I did my 'revisions' I later saw Mr Bean's exam sketch and laughed so hard as that's a bit like what it was like for me.


Edited by Bruyere (Mon May 13 2013 08:12 PM)
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#983848 - Tue May 14 2013 06:04 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: Bruyere]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3927
Loc: Norwich England UK            
Being a mother, a student and working - all at the same time - is extremely demanding.

One of my postgraduate supervisors told me that when she became a mother in 1946 it was taken for granted that she would resign her university post, but she managed to hold on. There was nothing in the (written) rules that required a woman to resign on giving birth to a child, but obviously it was very tough indeed ... She went on to becoming a scholar of international standing and led a fairly active life till her death a few weeks ago!

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#985131 - Wed May 22 2013 12:16 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
ClaraSue Offline
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Registered: Sun May 18 2003
Posts: 7837
Loc: Arizona USA
hmmmm...life lessong #1 - Nutrition. Without Mom around to feed me healthy meals, I found that left alone, I made poor choices for my nutritional needs and gained too much weight the first year. They don't call it the "Freshman 15" for no reason. laugh
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#985142 - Wed May 22 2013 01:55 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 6366
Loc: Florida USA
I got elected in a run off election after a tie as the Freshman representative to the Student Council at Lowell Tech (99.9% guys). To win the vote, I promised to give what the class wanted: get rid of the dress code. The other class reps wouldn't hear of it (they'd never even organized a panty raid on Lowell State (99.9% gals) in their time fer cripes sake. I got one of those organized.). Along came Nixon's Cambodia fiasco. The other reps wanted to go on strike because all the Boston schools had done so. Well they couldn't do it unless it was a unanimous vote. I personally didn't see anything wrong in war with such tactics as Nixon was using yet I knew the rest of my classmates felt otherwise. But, at the council session, I stated my view and remained silent about the class' view. I didn't lie, just misled on the wording. The other reps wanted me to change my vote so I held them hostage. Until they unanimously voted to drop the dress code, I wouldn't vote to strike. They caved and I voted for the strike (and next day - "Four Dead in Ohio"). There were to be no more expulsions from class for lack of a blazer or sweater and tie. The Dean of Students knew my conservative feelings and was flabberghasted I voted for a strike. "How could you do it?", he asked. "Give me a vote to take a day off from classes and I'll vote day off every time!", I answered. He didn't allow me to return the next semester. He did not bring a halt to my education though. I didn't stop taking classes until I was 37, most of it full time nights and weekends. Had he not denied my return, I wonder if I'd kept at learning for such a stretch.


Edited by mehaul (Wed May 22 2013 01:58 PM)
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#985312 - Thu May 23 2013 08:35 PM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
Lones78 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1420
Loc: Forrestfield Western Australia
I learnt to spend more time in class than at the tavern. Funnily enough, I only lasted 1 year the first time around.
No tavern this time around, I'm studying online smile
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#985409 - Fri May 24 2013 09:03 AM Re: What Lessons for Life did you Learn at College/Uni [Re: bloomsby]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 3578
Loc: Northampton England UK      
I came from a background with no tradition of higher education - in fact my siblings had both left school at fifteen and my parents at thirteen so when the latter found themselves in their middle age with a child who liked books and wanted to go to university they had no idea what to do - except stand back and see what happened. A bit like fireworks without the bang.

So I arrived at university with nothing to guide me except an instinctive concern that everyone there would see right through me, call my bluff, and have me thrown out faster than I'd arrived because I was too stupid to be there. This concern was born out on my first day when I got into the lift and stared nonchalantly at the door as we ascended. The guy in the lift said "first day?" - I mean, I couldn't even go up five floors without someone outing me as a raw beginner! I asked him how he knew and he said "freshers never look at the floor indicator, they think it makes them look as though they're worried about missing the right one while old hands do nothing but stare at it because we know some stupid eejit will have pressed all the buttons so we might stop anywhere." I spent the next three years staring at floor indicators and I still do it - no one can accuse me of being new because I don't do lifts properly.

Anyway, after a week or so I'd met a few people, Mr Nice Man In the Lift was established as my boyfriend (he was regarded as a bit of a catch, a postgrad no less - my fellow freshers were much impressed by my ability to snag one of those wink ) (I still dumped him later), and I had become a proper student. And I had learned the lesson that stuck with me throughout the rest of my time at university and beyond: That no matter how clever some people are (and some really are) one shouldn't worry too much because the majority are just as thick as me.
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