It’s that time of year again, when A-Level results come rolling in and all the months of anxious waiting are finally over and you get the happy news that you’re off to your chosen University in September. If that’s you, then let me congratulate you for sticking through high-school and getting this far, and wish you a load of good luck for the biggest adventure that’s about to come: University. The Big One. I know a lot of you who are hoping to go to University this year are probably a little nervous about it, and that is totally natural! You’re about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of your life, and a time that you’re not likely to forget in a hurry, so being a little anxious is totally normal. And remember that every single person along with you will be in the same boat. So to give you a little insight into University life, I thought I’d share my top tips and things I wish I’d known when I started University this time last year!
In The Deep End:
When you first move to Uni, find your room and your mum and dad have dropped off all your stuff and you’re left to your own devices, it’s quite tempting to keep the door closed and keep to yourself. DONT! Trust me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re all on your own even though there’s probably another ten people down the corridor who feel the same way and keeping your door open while you unpack will prompt people to come in and talk to you and that’s the best way to make friends and get settled in. Win Win.
I found that the best way to really get a feel for the University and meet new people was to join a society in something that interested me, whether I’d done that before or not. During Fresher’s Week, your University’s Student Union will have a Fresher’s Fair where all the societies put up stalls and you can go and have a look if you’d like to join in. I would highly recommend joining at least one society; not only does it give you a good balance between studies and play, but you get the opportunity to try something completely new and meet amazing people. I joined the Archery and Newspaper society at my University and it provided me with some of the most amazing experiences! Along with that, make sure you take part in at least a couple of Fresher’s Week Events which will again give you a chance to meet people and further acquaint you with the University.
Save Your Mulla:
One of the main things a lot of students struggle with, including myself, is money management. When those loans come through it is super tempting to blow it all on things we’ve wanted for a while but trust me when I say you should really, really, REALLy come up with a budget plan from the get go, unless you want to be eating 10p pot noodles for the rest of the term. Try and come up with a weekly spending allowance and stick to it. If you do struggle with money or if you get a minimum loan, try to see if you can apply for a part-time job, as I’m sure your University will have plenty!
While at the start it may seem like you wont be making much use of your University Library, I can safely say from experience that it will quickly become your second home as deadline for term one assignments approach. To make sure you’re comfortable using the catalogues and finding your way around the library, I would HIGHLY recommend you take an induction course in Fresher’s Week. I cannot tell you how valuable I found these courses, especially when my secondary source requirement for essays reached a back-breaking amount. Get in there quick people, learn your way around to save you a lot of headache later on.
Meet The Professors:
One of the most important things you can do while at University is have a good working relationship with your professors and seminar tutors, along with your personal tutor. Make use of their office hours and you’ll be surprised by how much they can help in clearing up your concepts and they are happy to see students making use of all the resources available. Your personal tutor will be your first point of call if you every need anything so make sure you ask for help and take their advice seriously and you’ll be better off for it.
FIRST YEAR COUNTS!!!
If I had a pound for every time I heard someone say to me that first year didn’t count, I’d be filthy rich. But the sad reality is, then when it comes to crunch time, first year counts in a lot more ways than you may realise. Yes your grades may not count towards your overall degree qualification, but it is so so so important to get your foundations right for second and third year and if you ever plan on getting internships, all companies will be looking at your grades, regardless of whether they count or not. So don’t slack people and make sure you make every minute count and keep an eye on your grades.
Please, please, please go to all your lectures and seminars. Being at University means there is no one breathing down your neck to make sure you get up every morning and attend all your classes but I can’t stress enough about how important this is. You will miss out on so much vital information if you get into a habit of missing lectures and seminars and you’ll find it insanely hard to catch up later on, so start how you mean to go on and go to class kids!
Work Hard, Play Hard:
Lastly, dont forget to have the time of your life. University is supposed to be the best years of your life where you have the opportunity to gain endless experiences and knowledge and it would be a shame to not make the most of every second you’re there. Meet as many people as you can, work hard and play hard and in the end you’ll come out with a banging degree and the most amazing experience. Good luck Freshers!