What I really learned from uni

The past four years at university have been a really exciting time of my life and I packed it with as many memories as I possibly could. But I gained so much more than a first class degree and a few university medals. Outside the lecture theatre, I was able to keep up the thing that I love most: dancing! I spent the past 4 years keeping up my love with the Napier Dance society family and over the four years I saw that beautiful club grow and develop beyond my dreams which made me so proud. And all the while I worked away in some of the coolest theatres in Edinburgh. These are some solid achievements but what did I really learn?

I obviously learned how to write academically and conduct my own study, to reference and think critically and these are good things to know as a student but it’s the personal stuff that I find much more valuable. Soft skills like leadership, time manangement and team work were things that I really honed through Dance. Sometimes I got so caught up in everything that I forgot to step back and see that I was basically managing a business. I was responsible for the running of a 100+ member dance club with 5 nights of training, recruited 3 professionals to teach, worked with sponsors, wrote contracts, liaised with venues, produced huge shows in professional venues, and that’s was only the tip of the iceberg. Obviously I couldn’t have done any of these things without my wonderful committees and the wonderful groups of people who signed up to join our family year after year. I am super grateful for the impact being part of Team Napier gave me that I can carry forward in my future work.

Naturally within the last four years I’ve grown up a bit too. Before I left home I did already know how to cook, clean and do my laundry but obviously living alone meant that I really had to get it done for myself. It’s been a time of growth and getting used to my personal routines and preferences for these duller aspects of life that have to be done. The other life skill I learned in this time was how to get used to living with other people. I’ve really settled into my flat now but that was obviously a big change from my 5 person family household back home!

Most importantly I learned a lot of things about myself.  I learned how to be alone and be comfortable with that, and I learned a lot about how I act in relationships and friendships. As cheesy and cliché as it may sound, I do feel like I ‘found myself’ throughout this time. I learned what I like, what I don’t and what I’m not going to waste my time thinking about or doing anymore and who I want to be. And I really do feel ready to take on this whole adulthood thing.

I wouldn’t trade the experience I’ve had for the last four years because it brought me together with so many wonderful people who made my university experience what it was. I don’t think it would have been possible to fit anything else in so I really did make the most of student life and I have no regrets. That said, I am ready for those days to be over – I’m glad I’ll never have to write another academic report or have to reference again, and I’m excited for the future. Just need someone to hire me now!

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