Sunday, 6 September 2015

Top 10 Tips For Surviving Your First Year At University

As many of you will be starting university soon I want to first, congratulate anyone who has gotten what they wanted and I hope you are extremely happy with what you've got ahead of you and secondly, I thought I could give a few words of wisdom on what uni is really like. This month, I will be starting my second year at university. To be honest, I can't quite believe I even made it to university never mind my second year. It feels like yesterday when I moved into my halls with people that I had never met and had to figure out how to survive on my own. No more going to mam when I'm ill and wanting sympathy, I had to deal with that myself. Not going to lie, I was a mix of emotions before I went to uni. I didn't even know whether I was excited or nervous but I new deep down I really wanted to go. As a second year student, I know exactly what goes on in freshers and throughout your first year so I thought I 'd share with you some of my wisdom (good one) about what and what not to do and see if that helps any of you who are about to start university! I envy anyone who is doing their first year, I'd defos do that all again!

1. Before going to uni, join as many Facebook groups as you can to see if you can find people who are in the same accommodation as you and on the same course! I remember I joined a group for my halls, course and freshers overall and it was such an easy and helpful way to find the people who you could be spending your first year with as well as finding out all the events that goes on during freshers week and what you can get involved in. What I did was I posted the course I was studying and the flat number I was living in and actually found so many people that I'm friends with now. I managed to find out all of the people who I was living with too which made it so much easier when I moved in because we got to know eachother a little bit before we met!

2. Find out what is going to be supplied in your accommodation before you start your uni shopping. I couldn't wait to go shopping for my room and to be honest, I'm just as excited to be shopping for my second year. But anyway, most accommodations offer a list of stuff that they supply on their website so double check that to stop you from buying something that you get already! One thing I would recommend taking is a mattress protector. I was given one in my room but it was so awful that I had to get a new one because it was all ripped after a few months! I'm thinking about doing a post about what to bring to uni so let me know if you'd like to see that.

3. Join in. During Freshers week there' always so much going on. There'll be loads of different fairs at your students union with things for you to get involved in and I would highly recommend going to them! I went to most fairs and got so much information about what goes on at uni and what opportunities there are. Say yes to things. Go outside your comfort zone. Don't hide away from things because you think you can't do something because it'll get to the end of the year (and promise me that will come sooner than you think) and you'll regret it.

4. Freshers flu is a thing. Be prepared to be ill up until around Christmas time. I kept getting many colds and kindly passing them onto my flatmates so out of all us, we were just sharing germs for months. Changing from the comforts of home where your parents will give you a lovely hot water bottle, paracetamol and a cup of tea to having to fend for yourself by going to Aldi and finding the cheapest form of medication possible and resorting to staying in your bed all day is pretty tough. The struggles of being a student.

5. Don't listen to the 'don't get with your flatmate' myth. Well, I know in some cases you probably should listen to this because depending on how you deal with things, after kissing or sleeping with a flatmate things could get pretty awkward. However, my boyfriend lived in the room next to me in my flat and we've been together nearly a year now so I guess we're an exception. You don't have to get into a relationship straight away, many people prefer not to be in one when they're at uni but some people do. If you want to pursue a relationship then go for it. Do whatever makes you happy (awwww cute).

6. Stay on top of work. This makes me laugh because the majority of university students leave their work until the last minute (and I am in that category) so thinking about it, I'm probably not the best person to be giving you this advice. Anyway, try and stay organised. I do admit I left some of my work until the last minute but I was never one of those people who would stay until 3 in the morning in the library trying to finish an essay that was due in for 9 that morning. Just work out when your deadlines are and try and get as much work done as possible before it's too late (first year doesn't count anyway ;-)).

7. Find the cheapest place to buy food. Aldi was my best friend in first year and that relationship will forever continue. Seriously, you don't need to buy the most expensive bag of pasta out there when you could get some for 59p from Aldi. I always shopped there and did a whole food shop that would last me weeks for £30. At the end of the day, you're only shopping for yourself so you don't need loads. Flat meals are also a good idea to help save money as you can all eat together and it would only come to around £2 each. By all means shop anywhere you like, I quite liked to treat myself to a few bits from Sainsbury's once in a while, but once you become a student you'll realise that spending £50 a week on food is the worst decision you could ever make.

8. Make your room homely. I'm going to do a separate post about how to make your uni room homely as I think it's one of the most important things to do. In my halls we weren't allowed to put anything on the wall and I think that's what it is like in most accommodations, however we were provided with a huge notice board. Before I went to uni, I printed off a load of photos of family and friends and covered my notice board with them and it made the room feel a bit more like being at home. I brought two soft toys from home, because I'm obviously not 19, and I bought little bits and bobs to make my room more 'me' like.

9. Keep in contact. Contacting my family was one of the most important things. Moving away from home when you're only 18 years old is a very daunting experience. Your parents aren't there all the time and you have to fend for yourself. I don't go a day without speaking to my family, whether it's a phone call, facetime or even just a quick text saying there's thunder and lightning. I would text my mam the most random things yet it was still great to talk to her. I usually go home once a month because I am a home girl and can't stay away from home for too long otherwise I find myself getting a little bit homesick. Contacting your friends is always important too. When you leave school or college and leave your school friends behind, you don't always stay in contact with everyone and in fact some people you were close to may not be as close anymore. Everyone moves on to do different things when they leave school but it is important to stay in contact with those you want to stay in contact with. I would hate to lose the friends I have and are extremely close with at the moment so a little text now and then does no harm. Even visiting some friends who are at other universities is a great way to meet up. I visited my friend in Nottingham who I hadn't seen in ages and it was such a fun weekend!

10. Just have fun. University is going to be the best few years of your life. My first year was absolutely amazing, the excitement of moving in and meeting new people and making a fresh start was just what I needed. Enjoy it while it lasts because I can promise you it goes over so quick. Get involved and go out of your comfort zone. Make as many friends as you can and make a lot of memories. I admit it is scary and not for everyone but just enjoy every single moment!

Charlotte xxx

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