Moving from High School to University
22 January 2024

Undergraduate student, Khushii Gupta, explores what it’s like to transition from life at High School to university. 

The move from high school to university was a major shift that enabled me to learn and grow in both lifestyle and mindset. As I reflect on my own experience, some aspects stick out to me and highlight the differences between my structured world of high school, to the sometimes unorganised nature of university life. Here are some of the important changes that happen during this transition: 

The Cultural Differences

One of the most impactful changes was the cultural differences and backgrounds. This transition for me was both overwhelming and exciting. High school was mostly a community with shared similar experiences and cultural backgrounds, whereas, at university, each interaction has brought me a new perspective. This has been one of the most essential components of my university experience and broadened my horizons to new ways of thinking. 

Life’s lack of structure

In high school, the routine was set: the school bell signified when the classes began and ended, and assignments were neatly spaced out. However, university life pushed me into an environment where personal responsibility is key. Even though I am free to choose my classes and extracurricular activities, it comes with its own challenges as I am accountable for my own decisions. Suddenly, the structure that I took for granted was something I had to create by myself. It was a learning curve that taught me the value of self-discipline and time management throughout my university life. 

International Student Perspective on Food

As an international student, the food has been fascinating. I have tried various cuisines by trying local restaurants and experimenting with cooking. Trying to adjust to making myself food and being healthy has sometimes been challenging for me. 

Academic Writing Expectations

One of the learning curves for me was the higher expectations in academic writing. The high school essays, while important, are far from the academic demands of university papers. This transition has required me to become more refined in my research and writing skills. Whilst it’s sometimes been a struggle, I have certainly seen more growth as a student. 

Same Age, Different Mentalities:

What has struck me the most is the realisation that despite being in the same age group, the people in university have vastly different perspectives and mentalities. Interaction with friends from different backgrounds has challenged my assumptions and increased my understanding of myself and the world. This diversity has become a part of my education, pushing me to think beyond the confinement of my experiences. 

Meeting New People and Learning New Life Skills

University life has not just been about academics; it has been a place for building connections and acquiring life skills. The diverse pool of students I have met has enriched my university experience. 

Collaborating on group projects, handling group dynamics, and engaging in campus activities have taught me invaluable skills going beyond the classroom. 

Introvert Challenges

For an introvert like me, the social aspect of university life has its challenges, but stepping out of my comfort zone has proved essential for my personal and social development. Though daunting at first, by taking small steps, I have built new friendships and a sense of belonging, that has made the effort worthwhile. 

Forcing Yourself to Do New Things

University life has been a hub of opportunities – clubs, events, and activities have catered to my interests. Forcing myself to participate in these activities, even with my introverted instincts, means I have tried new things, from dance, Muay Thai boxing, and badminton, to various kinds of volunteering opportunities- all of which have shaped my university life. 

As I look back, the transition from high school to university, even though challenging, has been stepping stones towards personal and academic growth. It’s not always easy, but adapting to the changes can help make the most of university life.