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Things I wish I knew before starting uni...

By bzdani 24 Jul 2018

Starting university is an exciting and scary time; the thought of taking your first steps into the adult world may seem terrifying, but there are so many exciting possibilities to look forward to.

Take it from me, a first-year student who has survived the first hurdle of starting university...

Everybody is in the same boat
University may seem like a terrifying monster, but don't worry -  you're not alone! I thought I would be heading alone into the unknown, but I soon realised everyone is in the same boat.

As soon as I unpacked and poked my head around the door, all of my flatmates were doing the same with the identical look of fear on their faces. This is an ideal opportunity to break the ice and make lifelong friends, just like I did. Smile, talk about nonsense and look forward to the future because you never know the day will bring.

Pace yourself at freshers
Freshers is the time when you make unforgettable friends and memories, but make sure you can actually remember the night out. It's all well and good going out at freshers, but it's not all about drinking - there are so many events to take part in and enjoy. Don't do what I did and down a cocktail pitcher on the first night, I ended up missing out on events the next day with my head over the toilet...

Get out of your comfort zone

You can't hide away in your room forever, so get out there and take part in as many events in freshers week as you can to avoid homesickness and make friends. The Students' Union will always have something going on so head down there to find out about upcoming events, and sign up to societies to get socialising.

I listened to the advice of my parents and bought a freshers wristband, ensuring I went to as many events as physically possible to have fun and enjoy exciting new experiences. 

Organisation is key
I arrived at university with the aim to stay organised and on track with work, friends and family, but after the first couple of weeks, it all fell through. Once you get a diary or timetable keep it updated with all your deadlines, notes, and overall plans throughout the week. I wish I kept a diary from the get-go as this would have saved oodles of time looking back over work to see when assignments were due.

Most importantly, keep on track with your reading lists and any sources you need to find at the library. When a lecturer says a book is on the reading list, pick it up straight after lecture so you don't forget - you will be ahead of the game and even better, your lecturer will notice your hard work. As soon as I heard the reading list was optional I ignored it straight away, and if I had read it I could have used a variety of key sources in my assessments, and been a lot better off. 

Get work done straight away
It's easy to say you'll do it tomorrow, but eventually, the deadline will be looming right around the corner and panic will ensue. Set aside time to work on an assessment each week and before you know it you will have submitted it way before judgment day. Keeping on track of work will reduce stress, give you more free time to spend with friends and you'll have a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment. 

I left several assessments to the very last minute, rushing to finish each one, meaning I didn't get them to the standard I wanted. Giving yourself enough time to read sources, compile notes, and type up your work will get you the title of top student and make your parents proud.

Student loans should be saved, not spent
The anticipation of your student loan dropping into your account may seem like forever, but as soon as it's in your hands don't abuse your power and spend it all at once. Having to live off rice, soup and beans for the rest of the month is only fun for so long - I wish I knew this before spending money on games and nights out which I really couldn't afford. 

Assign yourself a set budget each week and stick to it: think about how much money you want to spend on food, friends, and yourself. If you know it will be hard to cover the costs each week, consider looking for a job earlier on in the year to give yourself some extra cash to keep you on top of things. 

Time flies when you're having fun
Everyone told me that time would fly by when I started at university, and at first, I didn't believe them when the first terms seemed like forever. But then, one day you will wake up wondering when February came around - so cherish every moment (even the tough times) and try not to sleep in every day and waste valuable time! 

Cherish every second 
This tip speaks for itself: university is one of the greatest experiences of your life, so make the most out of this unforgettable, once in a lifetime opportunity and love every second of it. It might seem hard at first when you're crying over a picture of your dog, but remember family will be beside you every step of the way - so don't be afraid to have fun and live each day like it's your last. 

Good luck!

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