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What I Learned In My First Semester Of Uni

I was so excited to start university and now that my finals are done with, I figured I'd share what I learned during my first semester. From September to January, I had class starting at 8am every morning and often had so much work to do afterwards I often thought I'd never see the finish line. That's all over and done with now, because all I have to look forward to now is catching up with some TV shows and travelling around the city with my friends!

The first thing I've learned is that people are all different. This is something you grow up knowing but it doesn't become a fact in your head until you get to uni. I've been surrounded by people who didn't grow up like me; from the food they eat, to the way they speak, to the way they choose to clean (or not clean in my case!) and no shade but it still becomes really stressful to this day.

I don't believe there is one right way of growing up, or one right way cultures do things but having all these differences thrown at me at once puts my own life into perspective.

On the bright side, I now know what I want in life and what I value. Seeing how other people their lives is such an important eye opener and such a great way of promoting personal growth. But as I said, the way I grew up isn't the "perfect" way and vice versa. It's great seeing how cultures influence people's lives and opinions, and it's great to learn from that.

The next thing I've learned is that I work really well under pressure. Like too well, so well I can leave assignments to a week before the due date and still come out with a good grade!

The day I'm writing this was my results day, and in both exams I got such amazing results, which I am undoubtedly grateful for. I started revising the week before and thought back to my sixth form days, where I started studying for Government and Politics 2 whole months beforehand.

Uni has so many things going on that studying sometimes takes a backseat (which I realised was wrong, leading to my social media detox) and realising that I work well under pressure is great for future reference, but I will definitely try to be much more organised with my time.

The third thing I've learned is that meal prep is key! It's so exhausting having to think of what to eat all the time, and since the dorm kitchen and canteen both close at 10pm, if I get hungry any later I'll have to rely on whatever is in my room.

I started meal prep last week and it has made things so much easier for me. I cook twice a week and have enough to eat for lunch and dinner all throughout (breakfast is always a cup of tea and bowl of porridge). I just store everything in the fridge and when I'm hungry either head to the kitchen before they close or use my portable cooker in my room and I have a hot meal ready!

It's so much cheaper to meal prep, and it's healthier too. The canteen is full of amazing food (I mean, c'mon it's China) but all the oil they use is not good for my digestion, so I decided to just start cooking more and it's been a great decision so far!

I've been all over YouTube looking at meal prep recipes for inspiration, and I reckon it's gonna be a Pinterest board soon too!

The next thing I've learned is that proper time management will save your life. Before exam season (let's face it, exam season is always gonna be hectic) I was on top of everything. I was using the time blocking method and managed to get so much done in my day. My morning and evening routines were working well for me (blog posts coming soon!) and my time after class was productive and I could still squeeze in some travelling around the city and a TV episode too!

I cannot stress how important it is to get yourself a routine from the get-go because the habits you build during your first few weeks at uni will be with you long after.

Time blocking has been so effective for me and it leaves so much time to do the things you want to do too, not just what you need to get done.

Finally, the fifth thing I've learned is that working smart is better than working hard.

I had imagined myself before uni to be spending all day in the library, working for hours on end, but this does not result in you getting good grades! Working for so long can be detrimental and actually do more harm than good.

It's much more effective to just spend your time wisely, rather than spending a lot of time on one thing. That's why with time blocking, the 80/20 rule (blog post about that right here!) and the pomodoro technique, I've been able to achieve everything I wanted to with half the effort.

I can't believe my first 5 months in China have already come to an end! It feels like I've been here forever though, and since I'm improving in the language day by day, life is definitely getting easier and easier.

I'd seriously love to hear what you have all learned in your time in uni! Do leave them down below!

I'll see you all in the next one! 

Photos: Unsplash