What I Learned From Being At Uni While All My Friends Have Graduated

Alllll byyyy myyyyself.

Fact: Coping with uni while your faves have graduated is one of the worst #unilyf feels ever.

Last year, I was in my third year at uni — and my second year of studying arts — when my journo friends left for The Real World™. Here’s what I learned along the way.

Talking To An Academic Advisor ≠ Weak

I never considered seeking help until I realized my academic standing wasn’t so good.

One time I panicked because I had two 2000-word essays due back-to-back. One was almost done, the other not so much. I sucked it up and talked to my advisor about it. Their suggestion? Draft 1000 words by a week. Did I get 1000 words? Close. And did I submit it on time? You know it. 

Motivation? What’s That?

How did I stay motivated without my mains around? I told myself to have the motivation of a Year 12 student. I had ample free time, thanks to switching to part-time study, which meant readings and assignments were done before work, after work and during my break. I also did them at uni in the morn, headed home in the arvo to rest and trekked it back to do an evening sesh.

Were there days when my motivation ebbed and flowed? Absolutely. Instead of beating myself up for not getting everything done, and telling myself to work harder next time, I learned some progress is better than none.

“My Loneliness Is Killing Me (And I)”

Yes, I’ve eaten alone in the uni food court. But you know what’s worse? Walking around campus, seeing groups of peeps having an ace time and thinking, “Gee, some company would be nice.”

In saying that, I like my independence – less friends around means less distractions.

Seeing A Familiar Face Made Me Feel Less Alone

Not everyone I knew blitzed their way to Graduation Town. I caught up with a friend who I did a tute with last year and when we reunited it was like I didn’t leave in the first place. From that catch up, we consistently hang out when we’re both at uni. We also enjoy some grub during the summer, winter and mid-sem breaks.

Organising A Time When My Grad Friends Were Free Was Hard

Proof? I trained it to Sydney’s North Shore to meet up with a friend during her lunch break. She spilled the beans on her job, while I dished the latest on uni and boom, the hour’s up.

After that, it was a while since I had seen her and messaged to catch up soon. I was left on ‘seen’. “Is this a ‘no’?” I thought. “Will we see each other again? Are we still friends?” In the end, she was busy, as was I. The catch-up stars will (eventually) align.

Taking My Time Is The Best Time 

I started as a full-time journo student but I fell out of love with the degree in second year. I still wanted to study media, though, so I moved to full-time arts. Yes, I struggled to adjust, and yes, I deferred, but I bounced back by studying part-time. And guess what? Both my grades and academic standing improved.

I could’ve graduated at the same time as my journo friends but you know what? My ‘Green Light’ moment will come. I’m just waiting for it.

Ryan Bautista is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza.

(Lead image: Mean Girls/Paramount Pictures)