What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew In University?

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew In University?

As the saying goes, there’s no greater teacher than experience. After going to university and living in “the real world” for a while, many of us have things we might have done differently in uni had we known better at the time.

Photo by NazarethCollege

To help today’s current crop of students, we’re wondering: what do you wish you had known when you were in university?

For example, if I could do it over again I would’ve been less shy about approaching my professors and made more use of the career counsellors.

What about you?


  • – prepare for each and every tute
    – talk during tutes
    – attend lectures
    – actually read the comments left on essays etc instead of just the mark
    – find out what the markers opinion is on the topic of my essays and then just parrot that

  • You learned nothing in uni.
    What you do in uni is to get the best marks and any honours or awards available, in any possible way, and get that piece of paper titled “Bachelor of…” or “Master of…”. Then you’d be best to forget anything you taught at that moment and jump to real world (if not doing so already by that time) and learn everything again from 0.

    • I agree with Nathan. I’m a software engineer. and there are stuff I learnt in my course that shaped the way I think and do my job as a professional. Of course being in IT you are constantly learning new stuff (which makes it quite interesting) but uni gives you the tools to learn as a professional which is quite handy as I know people who didn’t go to Uni and most have a really hard time catching on quickly.

  • Learn how to ‘do’ something rather than merely ‘think’ about something. Coming out of uni you won’t be hired to make the big decisions, you will be hired to perform a task.

  • – If your lacking motivation or drive in your degree, take a session and look for easy subjects that look interesting.
    – Develop a plan of action towards assignments & study. A good approach to your studies can save a lot of effort, time & can prevent you getting stuck on topics/tasks. The later being a real drain on enjoyment and motivation.
    – Don’t bring laptops to lectures you don’t need them for, often they do more the distract you than serve any useful purpose.
    – Don’t throw away notes, they can come into use for later subjects.
    – Finally, if you don’t NEED a degree, don’t bother. There are other ways of getting into the industry you want to work in. Depends on where you want to be in five years.

  • That formal education destroys your inherent creative abilities, and makes you into a conservative, non-risk taking drone. Should not have gone and let the school of hard knocks sort me out !

  • That the degree isn’t worth what they said it was. I wish I had used the opportunity to pick professors brains about subjects I had a real interest in and tried to tie this with some real world work experience (not part time supermarket gigs).

    Its a 3-4 year pre packaged foot in the door.

  • 1. You will learn more from tutes than you will from lectures – prioritise accordingly;
    2. Do whatever you can to get a good tutor – this may mean changing tutes to a less convenient time but it is well worth it;
    3. Towards the end of your degree try to do things and get experiences that you will be useful during an interview – eg. team projects, volunteer programs, clerkships etc; and
    4. University is not right for everyone, but don’t be put off by the naysayers – if you pick the right degree for you it can be vital to your career.

  • Get out of it as soon as possible with your piece of paper!

    t’s great to widen your eyes with education, but in this world it’s not about what you know, it’s about what you’ve done.

  • Firstly, there is nothing wrong with doing something generic for a year. If you don’t know what you want to do, do arts or science, get a gist for what actually interests you. Sit in on random classes on degrees you’re considering and just have a look. Lectures are not hard to crash.

    Secondly, join clubs an societies and go to events – try and get on the executive. It’ll give you great contacts. (Especially the degree specific one – like the engineering/law/economic society.)

    Thirdly, always go to tut lectures are option around assignment times.

  • -Do MORE stupid things. Waste time. Chase girls (or guys, if appropriate. Or inappropriate.) Waste a year, if need be. Get drunk. Chase more girls or guys. After all, if you pass, then get a job, 5 years down the track NOBODY CARES WHAT YOUR GRADES WERE! It’s what you learn afterwards that’s important. And because you have only a limited number of years in that framework, experience every experience that you can.
    -If somebody ever says to you condecendingly “just you wait until you hit the REAL world”, tell em to go shove it up their – nose. The real world isn’t harder or easier, it’s just different. The uni world has very flexible hours, but not too many jobs need the 72 hour stints as mentioned above. And the “real” world has MONEY! A pay packet! YAY.
    -And then again, is the corporate world any more real and less cloistered than the Ivory towers? Or the armed forces? Or small business? Each world really is quite smug, isn’t it.

  • -University is not the only option
    -YES your grades do matter, at least they do in engineering, it can mean the difference between a good job in a good company with actual mentors and a structured graduate program and just floundering around for years trying to figure out what you want
    -Really really think about what you want to do and what your interests in life are. But also if you can support yourself doing what you love. Compromise but not too much.

  • – Develop a better understanding of what you will want to do in life and pick a suitable course.
    – Make the most of your electives and study something you’re interested in, not just what you think is important (because nobody will look at the subjects you studied)
    – If you are grades-focused: Take subjects that are more likely to yield higher grades (i.e. numerical, statistical, mathematical, IT subjects). Once you’ve learned and practiced the material, it is easy to get high marks as the answer is either right or wrong (in comparison to something more creative, like marketing, where marking criteria is quite vague).

  • As a full time day-student, take as many evening classes as possible. Sleep in until 3, 4pm. Do your classes. Wind up at 8:30 or 9pm, then go drinking… or enjoy the additional free Internet bandwidth during off-peak times.

  • i cant even get started with a career because w/o that piece of paper i cant get a job in anything other than sales and other unskilled repetitive tasks.. reading some of these comments is concerning

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