20 July 2015

How to Survive First Year of University

If you're reading this then chances are you've been through the grueling task of applying for uni through UCAS, been through the nerve-wracking interviews and in anyone going for an art courses case, weeks of portfolio arranging and rearranging. 

Don't even talk to me about painting right now. It's hard to believe that this time last year I was getting places confirmed and buying countless items for my to-be bedroom, bathroom and kitchen!

For me, the interviews, travelling and waiting to hear back were the most stressful parts of uni so far and I hadn't even got there! At one point I turned down a chance to be interviewed at one of my choices because I'd changed my mind and it wasn't what I expected. At another point during the student finance application I wanted to throw my computer across the room (damn you SLC) because it was so stupidly difficult to figure out.

BUUUT... a year on and after a lot of partying and hand-shaking, I've finished my first year and am completely rilled up and ready for my second! 

Wherever you've chosen to study, on whatever course, here are some tips taken from my personal experience.

Don't get a job in the first few months of being there. If you're super skint (which is usually the case after freshers) then get yourself a Saturday job or a couple of hours a week instead of a part time. Let yourself settle in and make a good impression on your tutors and friends-ultimately, they're the ones who you'll need to lean on during uni, not your boss (maybe your wage a little). 

I got a job in my second term and as much as I enjoyed it, it stressed me out as I'm bad with time management and made me miss a deadline, bringing my final grade for the year down.

Try and get along with your neighbours. It's standard in first year to pull a few pranks in halls so expect some cups of water in your corridor etc etc. This is all fun and games, until someone puts washing up liquid at the top of a staircase and someone gets hurt. That happened haha.

We pretty much sparked a full on war with our first year neighbours and looking back probably shouldn't have taken it so far that we were scared to hang out with each other anymore!

Don't skip classes. Sometimes the most funny thing about a class is that you're all hungover, but once you skip one class (to play Injustice with your flatmate haha), theres nobody at home to tell you to go back and it becomes a more frequent occurrence. 

Set yourself a budget for each week. If you get easily stressed out by budgeting, make it easy for yourself. Open an e-savings account (ask your bank how to do this, it's free) and put ALL of the money you don't need for the week into that, leaving only what you allow yourself to spend until the next week so you don't go overdrawn.

Shop for some food before you move in. Usually, everyone in halls will move in at different times in the same day. This means that the supermarkets are going to be super busy that day and the stock runs out pretty fast! Get yourself some easy meals and lunches from home until you can do a proper shop, you're not going to want to cook much in freshers week anyway!

Make yourself feel at home. Subtle things such as using the same washing powder as home, taking the same bedding and streaming your favourite day-time TV (if your flat doesn't have a license) can all help to make you feel more at home. 

I didn't think I'd get homesick but I missed having my fluffy friend Mylo in bed with me in the mornings, especially on my days off. I totally didn't get a fluffy replacement cushion to tuck next to my pillow, don't know what you're on about. 

Comfort food is great sometimes too. Chilli was always my go-to comfort meal and a big tray of flapjack was my flatmate's when he felt homesick.

Get to know the area. Now you know your neighbours, get to know where you live. Go exploring with your new flatmates! On bonfire night we went down to the docks together, though it took a while to find, we grabbed a load of sparklers and threw them like firecrackers into the water. Somehow we ended up in a shisha café/steakhouse for a coffee afterwards before we headed home.


Befriend your tutors. If you want to enjoy your time at uni become friends with your tutors. We went through a hard time when one of our classmates passed away and we all ended up in the pub together. One of our tutors put braids in our hair and the other managed to make us laugh, taking our mind off it. They don't just grade your work, they're also there if you need any help, uni related or not!

Try to enjoy it! Like I said in a previous post, the past three years that I've been with my boyfriend while he studied have gone so fast and now he's graduated! I can barely believe I'm going to be moving up a year in September! Enjoy it while you can. Make lifelong friends, get drunk, go exploring, rent a house, study and celebrate.  Go get 'em.
Have you thought about or been to uni? What was your experience like or what are you most looking forward to? I'd love to hear about it!

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