Expectations VS Reality: Students' Life

Anastasiia Vanchurina talked to some students to find out what they think of studying.

Expectations VS Reality: Students' Life

All of us have had such feeling of excitement before a new step in life, what is going to happen, how I will change my perception of the world. We all have confusing thoughts in the eve of actual event and wonder if our expectations or plans really coincide with the reality. But if it turns out that they do not, maybe you still can find the best possible solutions.

The topic of this article touches upon the experience of becoming a student in universities and the feelings to follow. Beginning of this time is not always that simple: it is not only about professional, academic or scientific features, but also our psychological state. It is clear that difficulties, we may face, vary from person to person, depending on his or her previous experience; but I suppose we all have some points in common. These are our hopes and dreams concerning brilliant and successful future, confusions about our choices, intentions of activities we will be participating in, self-organizing and first jobs steps. But what comes first? New stuff: firing deadlines, no sleep, constant changes, uncertainty, tries to figure out what is significant for you and what society wants you to do. Spoiler: you get used to it. Sooner or later.

To make story short, we think of the ways how to become an independent and self-determined person. Challenging, unpredictable, encompassing time, right? Ask yourself now: what are TOP-3 important things I have understood after these 4 years?

The examples of thoughts of particular people on the issue sometimes can push for personal reflections. It is interesting to see some contrasts between opinions of two sides. We talked to two people – a student of the 1st course and a student from a graduating course.

Liza, a 1st year student of Political Science and World Politics Programme

As soon as you entered HSE, what were your emotions, expectations of what was about to happen? Are there any fears or insecurities now?

I have moved from a different city when I entered the university, so the mood was combative. I was confident in HSE, the program, and myself, because I had been reviewing and weighing everything for a year. 

Do you think about what you want to devote the most time to (for example, academic activities/extracurricular activities/volunteering)? Or maybe it is just trying different things.

I’ve already tried myself in different ways. At the moment, for the most part, it is extracurricular and volunteering. I want to shift to academic / scientific activities.

What would you most like to get from student life, from University? (skills /networking)

Decent knowledge of languages (in addition to English, I want to learn at least one more foreign language), negotiation skills, presentations, TIME MANAGEMENT, stress resistance.

What seems (at the moment) the most difficult part of the learning process?

Distribute the load correctly. Especially when large tasks such as essays and research papers are given. And also - to force yourself to do something that seems boring.

And the most pleasant?

After torment, finally, got time, and somewhere even succeed.

Are you already working or just planning? Do you want to build a career in your professional field or you did not think about it yet?

I work part-time, but it's not related to my specialty. I just want to build a career. Most likely, not in the field of political science, but I do not know how it will turn out.

How do you see yourself at the end of the 4th year?

Confident in my abilities, know at least two foreign languages (ideally 3), with the understanding of the trends of the current political situation and science.

Ruslan, a 4th student of year (graduates in 3 months), Economics Programme

Do you remember your expectations of student life when you first enrolled? There is an opinion that students are the coolest time in life, do you agree or you have a different view on this?

I remember my expectations; they were more directly related to the fear of the unknown. Unfortunately, I can't call my student life as something that is super cool. Yes, there is a lot of fun, youth, and so on. It's nice, but not more.

What did you want to get from university and what did you get? Maybe teamwork?

I'm not sure I wanted anything specific. Probably, like most applicants. Constant development, I can say that for sure.  I learned how to work in a team even earlier, when I was engaged in professional sports.

Can you highlight particular memorable situation?

When I realized that you always need to go to the review of works. It happens that teachers miss certain points in the exam version and your score is unfairly underestimated. It's not really your problem -  it's the inspector's. You need to monitor this and always defend your own.

If you went back to the 1st year and had 4 years of training, what would you change?

Probably I would have participated more in extracurricular activities. There are many different opportunities for this in HSE. Perhaps, it would be something of an organizational activity. Or maybe from sports.

I would spend less time studying, but on the contrary I would spend my resources on work. In fact, it is realistic to spend less time without losing quality. I would have found a second one! Now I have a job, but I feel that I would have pulled more.

What is the hardest part in studying for you?

I suppose preparation the project in weak team.

You work in the specialty starting from the 1-2 course, right? Tell us about it, how did you find a job. Is it easy to combine education and work?

A: Yes. I found vacancy on HeadHunter and went through several steps of job selection (interviews). When I’ve just started, it was quite complicated, because you need to get used to corporate specifics (even  vocabulary) and learning takes a lot of time. Combination is possible, if you really need: hard, time-consuming process.

Now I am working on the data visualization, using appropriate software: Excel, Power Bi and preparing reports. I have learnt how to manage it myself, also took a couple of additional courses (except university). I don’t think that I directly use knowledge I got from HSE lessons, maybe just partly. So as you may notice: everything depends on the person and his/her wish and readiness to work hard.

Interview by
Anastasiia Vanchurina