Friday, 24 July 2015

My First Year of University – Advice & Experience

Parties, alcohol, living alone, learning how to reference properly…in a nutshell, this would definitely describe most peoples’ first year at University! For those of you starting University this year, I know exactly how you’re feeling right now – its such a nerve-wracking but exciting time to think that in just a few months, you’ll be jumping into a completely unknown world; especially if, like me, you’d been at the same school for 10 years! Chances are, some of you are probably waiting on A-level results to guarantee your place, which makes it all the more terrifying!

I wanted to write a post on the advice I could think of that would’ve had the greatest impact on my first year, so without further ado, here are my Top 3 tips for surviving your first year at Uni!

#1 – Don’t freak out if you don’t find best friends in Freshers’ Week

Naively, going into University, I just assumed that I would be super lucky and meet all of my best friends in Freshers’ week, or better yet, that they’d be in my flat! For me, this wasn’t the case AT all! I only shared a flat with 4 other people, and even though I did grow to be close to all of them, at first, I really didn’t ‘click’ with any of them. In a way, this was a good thing – it meant that every night of Freshers’, I would branch out and go and talk to new people, and I ended up spending every night out with a different group of people! However, after the excitement of Freshers’ week ended, I did feel kind of lost for a few weeks. Even though I had already made so many friends, I didn’t really have anyone I was super close with, or a ‘group’ of friends that I hung out with. But after a few more weeks at Uni, I met a few girls who I’m super close with now, and built stronger friendships with the people I already knew, and before I knew it I felt SO much more settled in. I think its so important not to put too much pressure on meeting all your best friends Freshers’ week – just have fun and try to meet as many people as you can – the rest will fall into place in no time! J

#2 – Find a balance between work and play

Before starting Uni, I was convinced that I was going to work super hard during my first year and come out with a First. Well…that definitely didn’t happen! But I really don’t think you should pressure yourself too much to do super well first year – firstly, because first year doesn’t count towards your degree, but secondly, because your first year is meant for finding your feet in your new life, making friends and having fun! Even though it is important to find time for studying and to get used to organising your time – working at Uni is so different from school, so use your first year as a learning device to get used to this different way of learning and working. Don’t stress if you’ve worked super hard on an assignment and not done as well as you thought – it definitely takes a while to get used to doing things the way your professors expect! All in all, during your first year, you should enjoy being able to go out multiple times a week and miss a lecture or two – I came out with a 2.1 my first year without having to stress myself out completely with work; its all about finding a balance!

#3 – Look after yourself

Starting university is a pretty crazy experience to be honest – the concept of living alone for the first time can be quite daunting. Don’t get me wrong – it is SO much fun - you get to see your friends all the time, go out whenever you want, and pretty much do whatever you want! Having said all that, it also means having to cook for yourself, do all your laundry & cleaning…even if you already do all these things for yourself, it can still be to adjust to not having your parents around! During my first year of Uni, I really didn’t take the time to look after myself properly at all. I was basically never alone – I was always hanging out with friends, and I really didn’t have much ‘me’ time. My diet became so odd – I wasn’t cooking myself meals & I was pretty much living off of fruit and sugar, which lead me to become really ill towards the end of the year....somehow I managed to lose 6 pounds (which I didn’t want to do at all!) and give myself anaemia. Learning to maintain some sort of routine during Uni is SO important! Really try hard to make sure that in between seeing your friends & going out, you’re eating healthy meals, taking time out for yourself to just chill, keeping your room somewhat tidy, getting enough sleep…you’ll thank me later, trust me!

I really hope this helped out any of you prospective Freshers – obviously, this was all very general advice, but if you’d like me to write about any specific topics to do with my University experience so far, please let me know and I’d be more than happy to share!

Until next time! <3

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