It’s been nearly a whole year since I sat down to write a blog post and in that time a lot has changed. I managed to survive the entire year away from home, living in a completely new and different city, meeting what seemed like thousands of new people and passed my first year and actually enjoyed it. With all this mind, a university ‘survival’ guide seemed like an appropriate post to write given that is what I’ve spent the entire year doing. Therefore, without further ado, here are some pieces of advice for if you’re about to start university!
TIP 1: YOU WILL LEARN HOW LITTLE YOU CAN ACTUALLY COOK
You will need to learn how to fend for yourself for breakfast, lunch, dinner and every snacking hour in between when you start university. Sure, living off of pot noodles and pasta sounds amazing for a few weeks but it gets very bland and repetitive. You don’t need to be the next Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver but having a few meals that you can actually prepare yourself (without poisoning you or your flatmates) will really help to make uni life seem a lot easier. Plan what you’re going to eat and buy in the week too – it makes life a whole lot simpler.
TIP 2: CARD GAMES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR FIRST YEAR
I didn’t know any card games before I started university but that has changed dramatically. I’ve probably learnt more card games than I have useful things for my degree (but that is beside the point). They are a great way of breaking the ice with new people, they can bring out your competitive side and they can help to make things less awkward. My flat held a weekly card night and we all bought people round to join in which was a good way of meeting new people and making connections, whilst also playing some good card games.
TIP 3: YOU WON’T NEED STATIONERY
It’s very tempting, especially if you’re like me, to buy every single bit of cute stationery that you see but, in all honesty, you probably won’t use it. For lectures, a notepad and pen or a laptop are all you need. You don’t need the pastel highlights, 36 notebooks, colour co-ordinated post-it notes and paperclips and gel pens – you simply won’t use them.
TIP 4: YOU WILL GET FRESHERS FLU
Be prepared to get hit with freshers flu at some point. You might think you won’t get it but it will hit you like a tonne of bricks at some point so be prepared! Luckily, I only managed to get a 24-hour bout of it and didn’t get ill for the rest of the year but for most people I knew getting ill seemed constant. Freshers flu will almost definitely hit you when you least expect it and completely wipe you out for a while so be prepped with lemsips, throat sweets and Netflix in order to nurse yourself into a better state.
TIP 5: YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR ROOM YOURS
Making your room your own really helped me to settle into university life. Having pictures of friends and family and adapting my room to fit me made it feel less alien and strange and more like a second bedroom in a different location. It really did help to make the settling in period less daunting and having reminders of souvenirs of other things was a nice way to incorporate university and home life.
TIP 6: TRY NOT TO SKIP TOO MUCH
It is so very tempting to not attend your lectures, seminars, labs etc but you really should try. I wouldn’t say I skipped lots in first year but there were days or hours where I just thought I really can’t be bothered… On the whole, try and attend as much as you can as it is there for a reason and if you’re paying the horrific sum of £9250(!!!) a year to go to university you really should make the most of it.
Starting university has been an experience that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve met many new people and been pushed out of my comfort zone a fair amount. I’ve been introduced to the world of clubbing (though that’s not necessarily a world I wish to dive into very often at all), lectures, new people, cooking and being more independent. It hasn’t always been completely plain sailing and there have been a few bumps along the way but I can say that completing first year has been an absolute whirlwind of work and play and one that I have enjoyed very much. Here’s to second year being as good and hopefully this advice if useful if you’re about to start university!