The perks of being a university student

The perks of being a university student

As she reaches the end of her studies, law and arts student Harriet McFetridge reflects on the things she’s come to appreciate about being a tertiary student.

For me, the best part about being a student has always been the fact you’re spending your time becoming educated about the things you’re (presumably) interested in.

However, as I approach the end of my five and a half years at Victoria University of Wellington, there are some other aspects of being a student that I really don’t want to leave behind. I’ve found the tertiary education environment has a few perks.

University study comes with a great amount of flexibility. I don’t know anyone who has gone through their degree programme without changing what they are studying in some way. Picking up a second degree, changing majors, or swapping out one paper for another. In my case, I went on an exchange to the Netherlands. I picked up an internship paper during summer school. I liked the look of an Art History course then ended up making it a major. You call the shots at university and for someone who enjoys variety, this has been perfect for me.

When else in your life can you be a bit selfish in a perfectly legitimate way? You are only accountable to yourself at university. You’re not bound by a nine-to-five work day. If you like to go for walks at 10 am and study at 11 pm, no problem. Suit yourself! You can be an early bird or a night owl, so long as you get the work done. This gives you some freedom to organise the rhythm of your life as you please.

You’re also constantly thrown into new situations. Every trimester you have new tutorials, new subject matter, and new people around you. Sports teams, clubs, and committees are presented to you all the time. The deeper you dive into the University’s opportunities, the more you can explore. The University’s a great facilitator of these new experiences in a way that can be hard for employers to match.

Aside from developing connections with your peers, the University also gives you access to some pretty incredible people. On numerous occasions I’ve seen my lecturer being interviewed on national TV or heard them on the radio. It’s funny to think they’ll be reading your essay later and you could have a chat to them tomorrow if you wanted to. This connection to experts who are leaders in their field of research is often underrated. I imagine it would be pretty difficult to get these experts to read your work in other circumstances.

I’m not saying that university is a proverbial walk in the park. It’s challenging, often stressful, but hopefully always rewarding. There are certainly some perks of being a student that I’m going to make the most of for a few weeks longer.

Harriet McFetridge is a sixth year law and arts student majoring in Art History and minoring in International Relations.

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