I remember waiting for my UCAS approval three years ago, it was extremely nerve-racking but I finally received the good news – I would be going to university for the best years yet!
University can be an exciting yet daunting experience. So, I thought I should share some words of wisdom and write a post on my top tips for fresher’s from my experience over the past 3 years.
1. Make sure you have everything!
Many of you will have moved away from home to go to university. This means that you will need a lot of stuff to bring with you: from stationary and bedding to cleaning products and cooking pans. This is especially the case if you are far away from home because it may be expensive to buy things once you arrive.
Make a checklist of all the items you need!
2. Know your events and timings.
The beginning of university will be hectic. There is so much to do from societies fairs, meet and greets, freshers events and course introductions. Make sure you keep a schedule of what is going on and when!
Write down all the events you are interested in. Refer to the Student Union website as they will also have a lot of events listed.
Work out the timings to each building from your accommodation – I learnt this the hard way from being late to my first lecture!
Something that everybody likes to put off thinking about but extremely important nevertheless: budgeting! When you first get your student loan, it is so easy to go on a big spending spree. Don’t be that person!
Keep track of your spending and be cautious! I recorded everything that I spent money on – which was really useful. Even if you decide not to do this, just be responsible.
4. Be open-minded!
Being open-minded really enhances your experience. Everybody’s experience will be different, don’t try to replicate the experience of one of your friends unless you are also interested in what they did. Your experience is unique to yourself, and you have your own story to tell – you have started the year with a blank book, write a good one!
Be willing to try new foods, attend new societies and just generally meeting new people!
5. Societies (yesssss!!!!!)
Societies are a massive deal. My university had over 254 societies all with different goals. They are a great way to continue your hobbies or start new ones. It is likely that some of the best friends you make will be through societies!
Attend the societies far, there will be a lot to explore and feel free to ask any questions (oh and collect lots of free things!)
From careers to studying abroad to volunteering or just trying something new, there is so much to do as a student. I highly recommend getting involved in as many opportunities as possible – I guarantee you that it will be an unforgettable experience and will certainly help you develop so many skills. Universities also have many contacts with industries and other academic institutions – make use of them!
I participated in Jailbreak. A group of us had 36 hours to get away from campus without spending any money. My partner and I got to Calais, France. This is one of the most amazing experiences I have had – doing something so risky and really just out of my comfort zone. Plus, it was for charity and we raised £450 in total!
During your time at university, there will be many things that you will need – make use of all the resources available to you as a student. The university library will have many books, articles and online and hard copies of journals to help with your studies. You may also have department related resources which could be particularly useful if you study a practical degree like mine (Computer Science). Many academic emails on outlook also come with the latest Microsoft Office that can be downloaded – do check this! Finally, student discounts!! They help so much, download the Unidays app (which is free)and contains so many discounts which will really help with your finances!
Make use of all of the resources available to you, they will really add value to your experience!
8. Ask for help.
Going to university can feel very daunting. Remember: You are not expected to know everything, so do ask for help when you need it! If you are stuck with where to go, feel free to stop a fellow student and ask, everybody will be so welcoming around the campus and more than happy to help. If you are struggling with your course, speak to your mentor, lecturer or seminar tutor – they are all there to help strengthen your learning. There are also other services universities provide to help with more personal problems. Services such as counselling, nighline and doctors.
Find out what services you have access to. Even if you don’t need it now, it may come in handy later on.
9. Be out there!
Everyone is nervous when they first start university. Remember, everybody is in the same boat! Talk to people, introduce yourself to people in your seminar or even just while waiting in line for some food. You will be surprised with just how far a “hello, I am …” can go!
Don’t be afraid to be the first person to invite friends back to your flat, for a meal or just to chill. Normally, people feel a bit anxious about this but don’t be- it may just lead to a long friendship! Being an undergraduate student may just happen once in your life, so be out there and try new things: a new sport, a new language or even a different style of dancing. Meet all the people you can and network! It is truly incredible how much you can learn from people of different backgrounds to yourself.
10. Work hard.
Yes, you are at university to have fun, but you are also there to learn. You have worked so hard to get there and this is likely to be the final milestone before you enter the world of work. You are paying to be here, make the most of your money.
Party hard but also try your best with your studies to get the best results possible.
Good luck to you all and congratulations, you are going to have some of the best years!