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What I Learned from my Undergraduate Days

You’ve finished your degree, thrown your mortarboard and posed for your graduation photos. Now what? There can be a lot of pressure to decide what you want to do after your undergraduate course, whether you’re aiming to enter the job market, take a break or return to university for a postgraduate degree. 

My initial plan after finishing my undergraduate degree in psychology at Swansea University was to find a job and maybe go on to postgraduate studies later. However, when Swansea University advertised their new PGDip in Physician Associate Studies, I knew this was the course for me.  

I didn’t for one minute think that I would get a place, so I continued to apply for jobs and even attended interviews. I applied for the course anyway, and two short interviews later, I was offered a place! 

Now comes the time for preparation. For this first instalment of my postgraduate diary, I thought I would think about what I learned from my time as an undergraduate. These valuable life lessons can be used to inform my forthcoming postgraduate days, so I know what to expect and what to avoid. 

I Don’t Get on Well with Student Housing 

If there’s one thing I’m sensitive about, it’s accommodation. I don’t drink, I like my sleep and there’s no better feeling than walking into a clean kitchen. I’ve done my time in student housing and now I feel like I need to move on to something more grown up.   

This year, I decided to search online for professional house shares and after arranging a few viewings, I found one that I liked. I’ve secured myself a room in a lovely little house near the beach where I’ll be living with a nurse and a paralegal – perfect. 

I Can’t Work Effectively in My Bedroom 

Having a separation between the place you sleep and the place to study is always a good thing. This year I’m determined to use my bedroom as a place for relaxation. When I viewed the house, my only criticism was that there was no desk in the bedroom, but I’m now beginning to realise that this is ideal. 

I’m planning to spend time working in the library so that I can head home at a decent time, cook myself a proper meal rather than snacking on rubbish at midnight from a vending machine and get a good night’s sleep. 

I Need to Keep Better Track of My Spending 

I’m quite sensible with money in most areas, but I do have one weakness: coffee! I complain about having to pay £2.50 to park my car in town, but I’ll happily spend £4 on a coffee several times a week. Even though it doesn’t seem like much at the time, it does add up to quite a scary amount.  

After adding up how much I spend per coffee per week, I worked out that I spend roughly £858 a year. I've decided to stick to just one coffee per day from now on. 

I Need to Schedule Down Time 

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my undergrad experience, it’s that relaxation is just as important as work. I know that my course will be very intense, with a combination of essays, exams and placements. In order to make sure I work effectively and don’t burn out, I know that I must set aside time to do things purely because I enjoy them. 

Next: Read more postgraduate life advice


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