Starting university is definitely a daunting experience for EVERYONE. But it will be the most exciting time of your life regardless of if you get it right…or wrong…
When someone tells you they’re a student apart from possibly asking what they study and where, the title ‘Student’ alone speaks for itself. University life is more than just your degree it is YOUR life, your social circle will change and evolve, your eating habits will change and your body clock will encounter more changes than there are time zones on this planet. But you will undoubtedly come out completely different and hopefully with a great degree.
So having spent 4 years in university and lived on campus, at home, and rented a place with friends, I’ve pretty much experienced university as diversely as it gets, so here’s a few pointers I’ve gathered on the way, to steer you through the journey that is University life.
1. Don’t underestimate how much you will spend on toilet paper and juice.
This is more for people living on campus especially if you like to have friends back to your room, which is definitely the case in first year. If you like fruit juice and soft drinks, buy squash for when you have people round. It sounds cheap but it will save you a fortune!
Toilet Paper. This is probably the last thing on your mind when you move in but since its something that’s generally provided for you at home…well usually, you never factor in how much you spend on toilet paper. My advice: buy a large 12-roll of Sainsbury’s value toilet tissue. Its less errrrr… coarse on your derriere than Asda’s and it will save you a fortune in comparison to Quilted Velvet!
2. Don’t stick with people you’ve known before university.
If you and your best friend or a few friends from school or college are going to the same university, steer clear of each other, at least for Fresher’s week. The best part of university, in my opinion, is the people you meet, if you stick with people you already know you won’t feel the need to make new friends.
3. Do go to Fresher’s events and DON’T miss Fresher’s week!
Fresher’s Week is the best time to meet people, if you’re living on campus it’s unlikely you’ll miss it, but if you commute it is tempting to not go at all. Talk to as many people as possible, granted, 80% you probably will never see or talk to again but at least you’ve made a start. Remember everyone is coming into uni alone waiting for someone to talk to or for someone to talk to them, so there’s nothing to be intimidated about.
4. Don’t miss lectures.
After you attend the first lecture of one module, and you realize that it is simply a course overview, you might decide not go to any other first lectures ever. THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Trust me. Start as you mean to go on, it’s extremely easy to slip into missing lectures but when it comes down to it, it will be to your own detriment. Trying to revise things you haven’t learnt in the first place is as easy as breaking out of Alcatraz. It’s possible but it is painful. Save yourself the hassle, by attending lectures and revising throughout the year. Not only will this save you stress during exam season it will save you sleep and MONEY- (Pro Plus and Red-Bull fuelled all-night revision session aren’t cheap…my overdraft will tell you.)
*Side note:Don’t wait till April to start revising.
5. Do make friends with international students, no matter how long they’re staying
They’re always up for exploring new places and are sometimes less intimidating to talk to than home students, and if you’re in a city you’re familiar with, they make you seem like a fountain of knowledge, which if nothing else is a great ego boost!
*Side note: You’ll also have a place to stay if you visit their country!
6. Join societies and sports teams.
Again easy place to meet people, and conversation starts a bit easier since you have a common interest. Everyone will tell you to do this but I mean it. Really. Just do it!
*Point of information:They will bombard you with emails. Everyone bombards you with emails. It’s part of the territory. Get used to checking your email hourly.
7. Be yourself.
This sounds airy fairy and cheesy and all psychological but it’s important. It’s tempting to act different to how you normally are because nobody knows you, but it will be exhausting and people eventually see through it. This sounds shocking but there were people I had known my whole life, that I met for the first time in uni. (Think about it…yeah do you get it now?) They changed and it wasn’t that they became more confident or fun or any sort of positive trait for that matter… they were psychos! Stay true to who you are, if people don’t like you it’s uni, its full of weirdos that will.
Ciao for now!
By Siobhan final year Genetics student at Queen Mary, University of London.
Check out the course here: BSc Genetics, Queen Mary, University of London
Check out: Queen Mary's Compare The Uni Profile!