What Is The University Mindset?

In today’s post I’ve decided to borrow a concept from my writer self because it really does apply to university. Since to become a successful writer, all the professional writers (Nora Roberts, Dean Wesley Smith, Stephen King and more) have certain attitudes and a certain mindset. As a university student, you need to have certain attitudes and mindsets too.

I know I won’t cover all of the university mindset topic today but I’ll properly be doing follow up posts at some point.

Ways To Think About The University Mindset:

In case you didn’t get the writer analogy, an easier way to explain it, is when you take a step back from the successful, mid and unsuccessful university students you tend to see, certain patterns emerge.

There are stages, of sorts, so people can easily learn these attitudes and hopefully progress to become more successful at university.

This is why the University Mindset is important to learn because it’s easier for some people to have the right attitudes towards university and that can allow them to do really well. But other people come to university, have a shock because university was harder or very different from their expectations, and need to learn this mindset.

In addition, this can even happen between years or stages at university. Since with the first year of university being a step down from A-Level, IB or whatever your local equivalent, this can mean students don’t need to develop this university mindset straight away. Leading to a rather extreme shock in second year when the workload piles up.

Lastly, I want to really stress that attitudes can be learnt and sometimes you can think you have these attitudes but you don’t. I’ll talk about this in the future but when I got to university in 2019 I thought I had the right attitudes and everything to allow me to get the grades I wanted. This wasn’t arrogance, it was just me knowing I needed to learn, study and have fun too. But compared to other students I don’t have the mindset so there’s room for me to improve too.

Overall, the point of this blog post is to help you realise there are some attitudes that would be helpful at university and you can learn these attitudes. Then we’ll explore more of these in future posts.

What Does The University Mindset Cover?

Again I do need to refer to a writing example because it’s the easiest way for me to flow the information to you so you can learn this. (Experienced writers might like my joke!) Therefore, just like how the professional author mindset can be broken down into attitudes towards writing, publishing and business. The University mindset can be broken down too.

With the areas of the university mindset being attitudes towards the Topic, Reading, Learning, Relaxation and Improvement. Reading I’ve decided to include as a separate field because reading is a broader topic than learning and I think involves different attitudes.

Attitudes Around Topic

I have mentioned this before in other posts but I want to hammer it home here because if you go to university please make sure you LOVE the topic you’re going to be studying. This love will drive you through the tough times and it will be your driving force during your degree.

In addition, this ties into your career because your love for the topic will be your driving force but your future career could be a goal for you. Yet a career goal helps I think but it isn’t a hundred precent needed.

I remember a lot of my old 6th form friends (16-18 education in the UK) who went to different universities to do psychology and other degrees. Only for them to drop out and not do their degree.

And why?

Because they didn’t care about their degrees enough. They didn’t have a love and a drive when it comes to their topics.

On the other hand, I remember two other great people I went to school with, one boy, one girl and they really love their topics. The boy does business at Surrey and the girl does biology (I think) at my university. I don’t see them but we have mutual friends and I know they’re loving their degrees because they have a love for the topic.

Of course, I know their degrees (like all of them) will be hard but they love the topic so much they don’t want to do anything else, and that drive makes them successful students.

As well as I’m the same, it’s my drive and love for psychology that makes me keep going when the times get tough and I really, really don’t want to do my degree anymore. It’s the learning that keeps me going. Sure, I think essay writing is pointless because no one does it in the real world but I still do it because it allows me to learn.


In our quick introduction post to the University Mindset, we’ve covered a lot of the basics and I’ve hopefully got you thinking about the topic of your degree and how much you love it. Will it be enough to sustain you in the tough times?

Whatever the answer, I wish you the best of luck with your university journey.

Connor Whiteley
Connor Whiteley

Psychology student and Podcaster