I’m about to start my third (and final) year at University and I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot of life skills that I wish I’d known before I started. Here are my top 10 tips to take into your University experience.
1 – You won’t get along with everyone (and that’s okay). Not everyone you meet is your kind of person. Everyone has different beliefs and opinions and you won’t always be able to find something in common with everyone. I’ve found the best thing to do is to simply be kind, avoid gossiping about a person you don’t get on with and try and find a healthy way to exist alongside that person.
2 – Keep your bedroom clean and tidy. A clean and tidy workspace truly promotes a healthy mindset and a good work ethic. I spent my first-year wading through a pile of dirty clothes in a dusty bedroom. Coupling that with homesickness that I felt during my first few weeks at Uni and I ended up resenting the space that was supposed to be my safe haven. Living in a tidy, clean space has truly changed my entire outlook on living in a new place.
3 – Make new friends – but don’t forget about the old ones. It’s super important to make new friends and connections when you move to a new place. You’ll have to decide super early on who you want to live with in your next few years of Uni and of course, you’ll want to surround yourself with cool people that you want to spend your free time with. But Uni doesn’t last all year. Sooner or later you’ll be back home for three months or more for summer and if you don’t maintain the friendships and connections you have there, you could end up for a boring time if your friends are scattered across the country.
4 – It’s okay to say no. Not everything people want to do will be to your taste. It’s completely okay to say no to a night out or an event. People who pressure you to join in with something that you don’t want to do or are uncomfortable with aren’t good people to be around and truly aren’t worth your time.
5 – Join a society (it’s the best thing you’ll ever do). I didn’t join a society until my second year at Uni and I really wish I’d joined one sooner. Being in a society not only gives you a whole new set of friends separate from your course and your accommodation, but it also looks great on your CV and simply put, it gets you out of the house.
6 – Call your mother, she worries. If you have a good relationship with your parents, it’s important to maintain that throughout your time at Uni. Although your mum might not let on that she’s worried about you, chances are you’re the most important thing on her mind. Even if you don’t always have time for a phone call (because she’ll understand you have a buzzing new social life) at least be sure to send a text to set her mind at ease.
7 – Buy a lunchbox and a water bottle. You wouldn’t believe the amount of money you can save by taking a packed lunch and a reusable water bottle to Uni, instead of buying lunch out. There are water fountains across campus, so you’ll never go long without a drink and although bringing a packed lunch can make your weekly shop more expensive, it will ultimately save you big money in the long run.
8 – Learn to budget early (and stick to it). Set yourself a weekly or monthly spending budget and make sure to account for everything. I set myself a weekly budget during my first year but failed to account for any train fares back home and was always too lenient with my spending on a night out. This meant I ran out of money right before the end of term and had nothing to see me through the Christmas holidays. Also, remember that you might have to make a deposit on a house before Christmas and that can be a big spend.
9 – Choose someone to live with. Personally, I didn’t want to live with anyone on my course, because I felt I needed time on my own away from the people I see all day at Uni. I chose to live with someone I lived with in the first year and I knew I could carry on living with. I would always advise to live with someone you’ve lived with before, because you know their habits and know that you can live with them for a long period of time. Make sure you house hunt early, letting agents have different prices and property types, so shop around or you could miss out on your ideal place.
10 – Just be yourself. People can completely see through any persona you put on and generally being “fake” isn’t the best way to make friends. Being yourself will mean you find people who are like minded and have similar interests to you. Also, you’d be surprised by just how far being kind and approachable can go with a person.
I wish you all the happiness and luck in the world with your University experience. University is what you make of it and if you give it your everything, you’ll get everything back. And don’t forget – if you need any more advice, there are so many facilities available on campus through the SU that can help you if you need it.