It’s coming to that time of year again. The end of summer, the beginning of autumn, the return to school or for some, the start of something new. (Not to sound like Troy or Gabriella.) Going to uni is a big deal and I remember feeling both excited and scared about it. I spent a lot of summer watching uni room tours, what to buy for uni, q and as about uni etc. on youtube. Nerdy I know. It made me feel more prepared and organised for the whole thing. I thought I would spend some time to reflect on my fresher’s experience and write down some advice for people who are starting uni soon. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to someone.
- Try to budget! You hear this a lot and not for no reason. Definitely try to budget your money but don’t feel bad if things don’t go to plan and you end up dipping into the good ol’ overdraft. It’s there to help… but obviously try not to get too deep into it as I know from experience it’s difficult to get back out again oops
- First year doesn’t count! Technically the grades you achieve don’t count towards your final degree, so if you’re finding it’s taking a while to find your feet or you’re not achieving the grades you want – don’t worry. First year is about getting used to how uni works before the grades actually count. Obviously try your best but don’t be disappointed in yourself, there is still time to improve. All you need is 40% to get into second year.
- Make the most of Fresher’s Week! Go to as many events as you can, spend the days feeling ill and the nights dancing away. This is your time to enjoy yourself and it only happens once. This also acts as bonding time for you and your flatmates. The memories and photos you take are the best.
- Make friends with your neighbours. This might seem obvious to some but it took me and my flatmates a while until we decided to step out and make a bigger group of friends. I’m so glad we did and it made the year so much better. Some of my neighbours are now my best friends at uni!
- Do activities with your friends rather than just nights out. Make memories. Go shopping or for meals – if your budget allows lol. Do anything to get out and about. One of our friends is an ice hockey player so we all went to watch one of his games together. It was one of my favourite memories of first year and we had such a good time.
- Make the most of your time but don’t feel bad if you wanna have alone time and stay in and watch netflix. Don’t feel forced to go out if you don’t want to. It’s your life, noone elses. Do what you think is right.
- That being said, don’t isolate yourself. Uni can feel very lonely at times especially if you’re feeling homesick. Try to be social, it could make you feel better.
- Keep in contact with your friends from home. Don’t ditch your home friends for your uni ones, the holidays are long – for me a month at Christmas and Easter and four months at summer. Meet up with them when you’re home, stay friends.
- Keep in contact with your family. They’ll want to know how you’re getting on and are sure to miss you while you’re away.
- Go home! Some people don’t feel the need to visit home but it’s important to see your family if you can. Some of my friends went home most weekends, I once went two months without going home – never again. Everyone is different.
- Reference and cite as you go along. This saves time when writing essays and ensures you don’t forget any. If your uni has a guide to referencing, follow it to a T each essay to ensure you’re doing it properly and don’t lose marks. I haven’t bothered learning how to reference, instead I use the guide each time and I always get high marks for my referencing lol.
- Use the resources given to you. Make the most of your degree to learn as much as you can. Use a large variety of sources in your work to gain extra marks
- Try to cook but don’t feel bad if you can’t be bothered. Everyone has their chicken dippers, beans and oven chips days. Or in worse cases – toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner… until the bread goes mouldy.
- Don’t buy meals out everyday. This is something I struggled with, it’s hard to bother preparing lunch everyday when you could pop to Tesco Express and buy a meal deal. But trust me, it adds up.
- Eat breakfast – the most important meal of the day blablabla. You probably hear this all the time but it really does make a difference to your concentration levels in 9am lectures.
- Go to all your lectures but don’t feel bad if you sometimes just don’t want to. The difference between uni and school is you don’t have to turn up and you won’t get in trouble if you don’t. But you’re paying for it so why wouldn’t you go? Unless you really don’t want to or have a valid reason not to, then go!
- Don’t buy a printer! The biggest waste of money I spent! I thought I needed it but did most of my printing in the library. Such a waste lol.
- Always do your washing up! This is pretty obvious but can lead to disagreements within your flat. Don’t be the one who’s got a pile of dirty plates mounting up.
- Stay true to yourself. Always.
- But ultimately do what you want and have fun!!
Thank you for reading,