Like so many others last week, I officially finished university.
Vollendet. Terminado. Fini.
Anyone who has been to university will most likely claim that the years they spent there were the best in their lives to date. And I am no different.
At our friends' graduation, I asked my best friend Jess what she would have done differently if she was to go back to 2009 and start university all over again.
After deliberating for a moment, she concluded that she wouldn't have done anything differently at all. If she had, things might not be what they are now. And now is quite good.
I disagreed. Initially at least. With all the ups of my university life came the downs, and surely doing things to avoid the downs would have made my time there just that bit better?
But when I tried to list the changes I would have hypothetically made, and the consequences of the changes, I actually began to agree with Jess.
I wouldn't change anything.
The point of university was to get my degree. To learn about history, in my case. And yes, I did do that. And for 4 months or so of the three years I worked incredibly hard for that degree. As a result I know all about the advent of the printing press in Renaissance Italy, about how the Scientific Revolution affected Christianity in Europe and about the struggle for power in Latin America.
But the most important lessons I learnt weren't taught in the lecture hall or the seminar rooms, or from the numerous books and articles I read, but from life. From living away from those I had always been dependent on. From the mistakes I made. From the friends I love. And from all the experiences that will forever remain in my memory. And without those lessons, I wouldn't be me.
Ten University Life Lessons
1) You can be friends with Tories.
Although it might seem you are associating yourself with the devil, in actual fact, political views aren't the be all and end all. Making friends from the dark side challenged my prejudices and made me more open to trying other new experiences.
2) Degrees mean little if you don't actually apply for jobs.
Wondering why no one has randomly called to employ you and provide you with a company car on top of your £80 000 starting salary is down to your own ignorance and will result in running away to Switzerland in fear of being jobless forever.
3) Not everyone feels a moral obligation to clean communal areas. If you want a clean living space, you must clean everything.
This, in my experience, is more applicable to boys. Once I accepted this fact, I no longer got angry at the messy pups who managed to live a week without me and washing up liquid.
4) If you take responsibility in organising the first birthday celebrations of year one, expect to take responsibility for organising every subsequent birthday for the next three years. At least.
I can't really complain about this lesson. I brought it upon myself and I fucking love other people's birthdays. I'm just saying.
5) Never go to Tesco on an empty stomach. You will spend £50 on Galaxy chocolate/crispbread/yoghurt/orange juice/Haribo/frozen potato wedges and will struggle to find a satisfying dinner.
I made this mistake. Regularly.
6) The promise to be the epitome of class and sophistication for casual drinks that evening will never stick if you then proceed to drink a litre of wine at dinner.
7) Vowing to spend less on nights out per term will not happen if you continue to go all out every Wednesday for fancy dress circling.
Now I am back home and penniless, spending £25 on sequin hot pants to be Lady GaGa seems a bit irrational knowing I won't wear them ever again.
8) NEVER drink more alcohol to make things seem less awkward.
You will only make things more awkward.
9) Friends may come and go, but university friends stay forever.
Living with friends means you really get to know them. They become as close to you as family. You argue, you make up, you laugh, you cry and you get well and truly wankered and tell them all your deepest darkest secrets. So when the three years are up, you can't just let go. You miss them. You want to see them. You make an effort to stay in touch. (Besides, you don't want them telling anyone about the things you spilled on your hungover 'secrets day'.)
10) Despite their incessant sarcastic comments about getting pissed every week and getting all your essay sources from the internet rather than from real books, your parents are amazingly proud of your achievement.
You got a degree after all, and we can't all sit in the library all the time. There is simply not enough room for everyone. You are being considerate by staying in bed.