Okay so I’m half way through my first year at university which is both incredibly exciting and absolutely terrifying! how has it gone so quickly?! Although I haven’t got years of this uni experience under my belt I most certainly have experienced more life lessons in these past few months than at any other time in my life. So to give you freshers a helping hand I thought I’d share a few tips on how to ‘survive’ first year.
Before you Arrive:
Preparation before you get to uni will help you out a lot so stock up on all the essentials and don’t worry about going overboard. Stocking up on food, medicines and toiletries will keep those cupboards filled of those typical student meals of pasta and beans on toast when you come to the end of term and realise you’ve gone way over budget (this was my case anyway). The amount of storage space you will have will depend on your accommodation so make sure that if you don’t think you’ll have enough cupboard space to store everything that you have a few extra storage boxes which you can keep under your desk or bed.
At this point you will be either crazy excited or super nervous or in my case a mixture of both. I still remember the day to leave came and up until that point I had been so happy that I was finally moving out of home, yet travelling the almost 2 hour car journey filled me with nerves and I suddenly felt incredibly anxious about what I was doing. The chances are you will probably feel the same, but its nothing to worry about. It is important to remember that everyone is in the same (or at least a very similar) boat to you. When you arrive say hey to your new flat/house mates and you’ll quickly realise they’re nervous too. You can then start unpacking and socialising with everyone. Remember to leave your door wedged open so if people wish to say hey or have a chat they can and that way you won’t be shutting yourself away, but being able to get stuff done at the same time.
This will be a week full of events for absolutely everyone and anyone and is the perfect time to get to know the area you’re now living in and the people you’re leaving near. The chances are your uni will lay on A LOT of events so make sure you make the most of them. Aside from the numerous partying events, one key event I would suggest is the fresher’s fair where you’ll have the chance to see what sports teams and other societies there are at your uni. Try and sign up to all the societies you’re interested in and you can keep up with a hobby or even start something new. As well as signing up to societies, chances are there will also be a tonne of freebies so make sure you got along and you’ll have enough free pens to equipped you for the rest of your time at university.
One thing I would suggest, ideally before starting uni, would be to open a either regular bank account or a student bank account. When searching for the best one for you make sure you look at the deals that different banks offer and see what overdrafts are available. Remember that student loans often don’t come in straight away and there can be delays (mine was delayed by 2 weeks). So make sure you don’t go to uni empty handed, even if that does mean borrowing money for a bit. Next up, budgeting! Now there are countless articles about how students can budget and save money and I personally have found this one of the hardest things being at uni. One tip I would say is allocate a certain amount for each week and take that money out in cash at the start of every week. Then put your card away and only use cash, this way you can physically see your money disappearing and it’s easy to see just how much your spending. In order to keep costs down don’t forget about the various discounts you are now entitled to as a student including, UniDays, NUS and Student Railcards. Although some of these cost, the amount you will save overall, in my opinion, is most definitely worth it. My bestfriend Abbie has a blog about UniDays so go check it out: https://abbiesk.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/free-student-discount/.
Okay, so now you’ve got through freshers week, you’re probably ill, still hungover and the excitement and fizzled down a little. This is the point where you’ve realised you’ve actually got to live on your own; you’re having to cook, do laundry and clean. Although some of you may be familiar with these chores, having to do all of them yourself can be quite overwhelming. To make this seem less daunting try out new recipes and have fun with the idea that you are now in control of your life. Just remember to stay hygienic and try and tidy now and again (mainly just before family come to visit you). Keep an eye out for future blog posts on easy uni meals.
That’s all for now but if you have any questions about university then feel free to ask.
Until next time