Opinion

Opinion: “Our real legacy at university is the friends we make along the way”

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Featured illustration: Dylan Meek


We all prioritise different things in life: our relationships, academic achievement, and financial success. While these can be great catalysts for short and long-term goals, making us resilient,  fixating on these goals can become overwhelming, even detrimental. Focusing on what we feel we have to achieve can make it easy to lose sight of the present. This also applies to university life.

People choose their degrees for many reasons: interest in a subject, new opportunities, moving away from home, or exploring career options. It’s common for students to start to regret their degree at some point; often after the initial buzz of first year and a new city has worn off, and the reality of growing up and deadlines start to sink in.

A 2022 survey by Student Minds stated that 57% of respondents self-reported a mental health issue. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, these factors can be financial and academic pressures and the absence of familiar social and emotional support networks. Feelings of failure concerning your degree can be hard to deal with. For those who no longer align with their course, the pressure to find your purpose is even more insurmountable. Don’t let this catapult you into existentialism just yet.

The opportunities that come with studying are not limited to your chosen degree. Regardless of academics, university can open up new social possibilities, independence, and self-awareness regardless. Maybe the real degree was the friends we made along the way. Whether it’s the society you spent every Wednesday with or the person you finally started talking to after three years of sitting next to each other in lectures, all these people matter in your story.

Investing time in social achievements and learning more about those who carved your path will build a clearer image of what you want to leave behind. Amongst other things, our friends and relationships are our legacy. Think about the people you want to tell your story to, what would they say?

A personal legacy can be very motivating because it makes humans compelled to feel a sense of purpose. Whether you’re an undergraduate or a postgraduate student, the desire to leave a lasting impact can be strong and quite intimidating. Take a moment to break the existential cycle by recognizing the small achievements and morals that make you the main character. 

About the author / 

aAh!

aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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