Going to University is hard. Just thinking about all the spare time you have to fill, the mugs you’ll have to dump in the sink and the laundry you won’t fold is enough to get you down. All of that, and you still have to contend with 9 hours’ worth of lectures every week.

Okay, so generally speaking University schedules are not the most consuming of diary engagements. Even if you’re studying engineering, medicine or law – three of the most challenging majors according to student forum Her Campus –chances are you’ll still find time to socialise in the evenings and at weekends. If you’re studying a subject that requires reading time and self-study – you can take it from me, a bona fide Modern Languages graduate – University is the least time consuming thing you will ever do in your adult life.

Perhaps you already appreciate this fact, but it’s easy to get swept up in the mayhem. As an undergraduate I spent most of my evenings watching Neighbours re-runs and getting ready to go out. I also became practically nocturnal. Tutorials and lectures notwithstanding, my modusoperandi was to wake up at 2pm and go to bed past 4am – regardless of how I was spending my time. Despite following such a liberal routine, I still walked away with a decent degree. It’s possible to balance the books of study and fun without corrupting either one.

Going to University is all about learning: but it’s also about picking your battles. Typically attending University in your late teens to early twenties, it’s the perfect opportunity to grow up a little. Exploring and even getting involved in your local nightlife can be as valuable a lesson as a lecture on Dublin’s physical manifestations in Ulysses – perhaps more so. Frequenting the University library often enough to know where the toilets are will save you the heartache of splashing out extra cash on retakes, too.

For the sensible heads out there, University is also an excellent time to explore your hobbies and potentially your future career. With so many societies to choose from, networking comes as second nature to most students. Getting to know your peers and actively engaging in politics, art or whatever takes your fancy is a sure-fire way of making an impression before your CV is even put to press. Exploring your favourite pastime could also help you to address that CV – drawing light on jobs your school’s career advisor failed to mention.

Take it from me: University is a time to learn, study and grow, but it’s also a time to live. You’ve got work, kids and debt ahead of you. Make those three years last as best you can.

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