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A day in the life of a UK university student

Blogger Ben Mock, studying Psychology at Lancaster University, reveals the details you won't read in a university prospectus.

  • Student life
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Ben Mock

December 11 2015
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So you’re thinking about attending university. You’ve been to the open days, written your personal statement and taken a stiff drink to numb the pain of those impending student debts. However, the one thing no-one has told you about is what your day-to-day life may be like. Allow me to rectify that as I share a day in the life of a UK university student.

I find it’s best to wake up early. It doesn’t matter if you’re due in at 9am or 2pm, you need to make the most of your time. I start with a quick breakfast and a review of the morning’s news. Both of these things are option but recommended, especially breakfast. There is nothing worse than trying to power through a day of freshman year on an empty stomach and no, a bottle of Mountain Dew from the vending machine in the campus library does not count as breakfast. If you don’t mind, I’ll gloss over getting dressed and showering. After all, I'm a blogger for students and not a substitute for your weekly phone call home.

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Once you are ready to face the world, you actually need to get to university. If you live on campus, you can go about your morning routine smugly, knowing that you have all the time in the world because you can literally see the building your lecture is held in from your bedroom window. If you happen to reside off campus, you will have to find your nearest bus stop and wait in silence with all the other students, watching the minutes count down to the start of your lecture and slowly becoming more and more paranoid that the bus has somehow missed your stop.

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Once at the campus bus stop/outside your home, you are faced with the realisation that when websites list your university’s undergrad count as over ten thousand, they do actually mean thousands of people. You will have to fight your way to your lecture venue as believe me; everyone is looking out for themselves. You will be jostled and bumped in a congested mess until, finally, you manage to force your way out of the slipstream and into your lecture theatre.

From here, your day will every take one of three routes:

  1. You are forced to kill time on campus because you have a four, five hour gap between your classes. If this is the case, relax! Grab a bite to eat, enjoy a good book, ensure you have everything prepared for your next class and maybe sneak in some wider reading for your course. Just make sure you aren't slumped in a chair in the library, counting the minutes till your next class. Also, if you are located off campus, save yourself money by either getting a bus pass so you can freely travel between home and university or save yourself cash and bring everything you need for the day so you don’t waste money on multiple bus tickets.
  2. You have everything squashed into a chaotic block of back to back classes. Keep yourself hydrated if this is the case as you do not want to risk being late to a class by stopping to purchase refreshments. If this is the case, be sure to eat something immediately before and immediately after your block of classes. Keeping your hunger at bay and keeping your energy levels up are essentially to surviving a day at university. Nothing kills concentration like hunger.
  3. Your day is busy but each class is separated from the next by an hour’s gap. This is probably the worst day to have, as you are constantly going from an active state to an inactive state. Ways of coping with this kind of day schedule are similar to those in scenario one, just remember to go to each class you have.

So your academic day is over, now what? Well, most university societies host their meetings in the evenings to avoid clashing with classes. These groups can be a great way to unwind, especially after an intense day of academia.

So there you have it, the typical day of a university student, at least from my experience. The advice is to take away from this is know your schedule (and bus timetables), stay fed and hydrated and know how to combat between-class boredom! 

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