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Uni vs high school

Uni vs high school

7 reasons university is better
Uni life
Published 20 Jun, 2023  ·  4-minute read

Plenty of students dislike high school. I was one of them.

Why? Sleepy morning classes, short lunch breaks, uncomfortable uniforms and the insane amount of daily homework. The reasons go on.

But university compared to high school is like a lake compared to the Pacific Ocean. It’s that different, I promise.

Here’s a list of seven (out of a thousand) things that make uni better than high school.

About the author

Since this article’s original publish date in April 2021, Megha has graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from UQ and is now working as a Consultant at KPMG, helping clients plan and deliver infrastructure projects that shape our cities today. 

University vs high school

#1. You’ll make your own timetable

Arguably, the best part about attending uni is being able to schedule your own timetable suited to your commitments. Got work at 9am? No worries – sign up for the 4pm class. Personally, I’ve avoided booking any classes on Fridays, which allows me long, leisurely weekends. You can also switch classes without much trouble and schedule similar timetables to your friends.

Unlike school, you don’t have to wake up at 6am each morning unless you choose to – which is a massive relief for the night owls who read late into the night (or work until 4am). This is also useful for students like me who work part time, as we can block off days for work.

#2. You can wear what you’re most comfortable in

UQ Student Megha Thakkar is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, displaying a large yellow posterboard in the shape of a speech bubble with the words 'R U OK? Conversation Corner' and post-it notes stuck onto it

If you think trackies and thongs are the way to go, no one is going to stop you. Or you can even show up to class in a business suit if you prefer.

At uni, you can wear what you’re most comfortable in and simply go about your day. You can finally freely* express yourself through your choice of clothing after conforming to strict uniforms and dress codes for 12 years. 

*We should warn you though: if you rock up in a Spiderman costume, you may get a few strange looks. Some common sense is required.

#3. You’ll study what you really love

Compared to high school, university education is more niche and allows students to specialise in their favourite fields. For example, UQ offers highly specialised areas of study such as:

Popular programs such as the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce allow a varied selection of electives, so you can shape your degree to fit your interests.

Discover more of UQ's lesser known degrees.

#4. The campus is huge and has multiple food courts

A group of students sit with coffees, chatting at Wordsmiths Cafe on UQ's St Lucia campus

Most high schools offer the same boring chips, sandwiches and pasta. But at uni, you’ll have plenty of dining options suitable for all budgets.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Darwin’s at UQ's St Lucia campus – it serves wholesome breakfast dishes and has the freshest ambience. Fast food outlets such as Guzman y Gomez and Subway are also quite popular with UQ students (not to mention Merlo for all your coffee needs, obviously).

#5. Holiday breaks are longer than school breaks

Rather than four terms each year, most universities operate in two semesters with a one-week break in the middle of each (AKA the ‘mid-semester break’). In total, a semester is usually 13-14 weeks long, which allows for generous breaks between them.

You can spend these breaks productively by undertaking an internship or doing a summer/winter research scholarship, for example. Some universities like UQ even offer a job portal dedicated to internships and student job openings to help you find an opportunity that’s right for you.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with plain ol’ Netflix and gaming if that’s more your vibe.

#6. University clubs and societies run fantastic events

UQ Karaoke Club sit in a blue-lit room with neon lights

UQ Karaoke Club

Student clubs and societies are much more diverse and popular at university compared to high school. Many students describe ‘clubs and socs’ (pronounced socks) to be the best places to meet like-minded individuals and make friends during your studies.

Student societies throw the biggest parties, social gatherings and networking nights – plus they offer stacks of freebies during Market Day. When it comes to high school vs university social life, there really is no competition, so make sure you don’t neglect or miss out on this fantastic side of uni life.

#7. You’ll learn to be the best adult version of yourself

Uni is a long ride filled with:

  • late-night assignments
  • early-morning coffee runs
  • rushing to find a parking spot
  • making time to meet friends between classes.

You’ll pick up time-management skills, communication and writing skills, budgeting skills and plenty more along the way with first-hand, hands-on learning.

Find out more about the types of skills you'll learn at uni, to help prepare you for your first job in your field.

Unlike school, all the important decisions about your life actually rest on you here. By taking advantage of the several employability and professional development programs available, you’ll find everything you need to become an exceptional and independent adult.

Final thoughts

Overall, regardless of what you study, university is a life-changing experience for most.

Although it’s daunting at first, settling in isn’t too hard when you have some amazing advantages like those listed above. And even though you’re primarily here to study, you’ll also find friends from all walks of life with bright futures ahead of them. I believe that while it’s important to gain knowledge from your professors, you’ll also gain a wealth of knowledge from your peers.

Engage, volunteer and spend your time productively – that’s the key to university. And the freedom to do all this in your own way is why 'uni vs high school' is such a one-sided debate.

Excited to start university and leave high school in the dust? Explore our undergraduate programs and start planning your life as a uni student.

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