*WARNING* Very wordy post coming your way!
September has come around again, and for a lot of people the time will be approaching for them to fly the nest and head off to University! This time last year it was me that was in this position, and I still remember exactly how I was feeling about it. But a year down the line I feel like I’ve learnt a lot, and had such an amazing first year, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to share my ‘First Year Survival Tips’ with you all!
1. Try and make an effort with people from the start
The idea of going to University is daunting for anyone, you’ve got to deal with living in an area you’re unfamiliar with, be with people you don’t know and try your best to look after yourself. So one of the best pieces of advice I would give is to try your hardest to make friends with people right from the beginning. Some Universities will make Facebook pages for their Halls of Residence, and this is the perfect opportunity to get to know people and find out who you may be living with! Knowing at least one person before you move in will make it that extra bit easier. You have to remember that everyone is in the same position as you, and will be feeling equally as nervous, even if they don’t show it!
2. Spend time in the communal areas of your flat, kitchen, hallway etc – funny things always seem to happen!
When you first move in, you might find all you want to do is hide in your room and wallow in the fact you have to look after yourself for a year, but this is not a good idea! Sitting in your room will only make you feel alone, and delay having to face the people you’re going to spend the next year with. As difficult as it sounds, leave the unpacking til later and try and get to know some of your flatmates, you’ll find this will probably make you feel more at ease and reassure you that everything will be okay. Throughout my first year, me and the rest of my flatmates spent a reasonable time in our kitchen getting to know each other and having a laugh, and I think this was definitely partly responsible for my first year being so good! From playing drinking games in the kitchen, to rollerskating down the corridor, we definitely had loads of good times!
3. It’s OK to miss home
One of he hardest things about being at University is being away from home, your family and your friends. But it’s okay to miss home and find it difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle, everyone goes through the same emotions but they might just happen at different times! Throughout my first year I found that I kept in contact with my family on a regular basis and was also lucky because my University isn’t too far away from home so I was able to go back some weekends. If you’re University is far away from home, making it more difficult to go back, there are still lots of ways you can keep in contact with your family and friends, from phone calls, to Skype and FaceTime. Make sure you do, a chat with your loved ones can be the perfect pick me up if you’re feeling a bit homesick.
4. Give yourself enough time to get to lectures and organise your work load
This may sound completely dull, but as well as being at University to have fun (and you will!) you’re also there to get a degree. Some of you may be lucky enough to go to a campus University, meaning you can roll out of bed and straight into your lecture. But for me this was not the case, I had a fifteen minute walk from my Halls to University, and there were many a time I left just that little bit too late and ended up walking late and red faced into my lecture – not fun! It’s also important to organise your work too – getting it done and out the way leaves more time for partying right?
5. HAVE FUN!!!
Now comes my most important piece of advice – HAVE FUN! You’re only at University for three years, which may sound like a long time, but judging by how quickly my first year went, it will fly by! Even though you are paying for a degree, you are also there to enjoy yourself, make friends, and gain some independence too. Pasta will become your best friend, you’ll end up spending a bit too much money on alcohol or clothes, and you’ll no doubt have to rely on someone to show you how the washing machine works! Make the most of every second and appreciate the fun before being thrown into the scary world of work and responsibilities (doesn’t sound great does it?!) Although you might be nervous now, I’m sure this time next year you will be looking back thinking about what an amazing first year you had, I know I certainly do!
Roll on the next three years of your life, I’m sure you’ll love them!!