Having made it through my teenage years to the age of 20 I can see the years slipping past and also see myself changing. I’ve matured and grown up, although probably not quite enough to call myself an adult just yet. University has had a massive impact on my life, from my disastrous foundation year to my current year 1 studies. I’ve had massive ups and downs and learned some rather strange things since starting the new chapter in my life.
1. Wear flat shoes
This was something I didn’t quite realise was a nessecity until I started walking to uni. Last year my accommodation was about a half an hour walk from the university. Not only did this mean I had to get up earlier in order to leave on time, it meant I was often sweaty and out of breath by the time I actually made it to my classes. In my time at university last year I think I wore heeled shoes about four times. A few times were to actually go out drinking and I only dared wear heeled boots to university once. I immediately regretted it each time. This year I’m thankfully less than 10 minutes from campus but I’ve still only dared wear heels a few times. Brisk walking to lectures in heels isn’t the way forward. Buy a decent pair of flats.
2. Buy earplugs
When you have multiple people thrown in a run down student house arguments will break out. It’s a fact of life. Personalities will clash and you’ll realise no one is as perfect as you are. It’s heartbreaking and quite frustrating. Some of your housemates may be typical party animals and enjoy going out most nights and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy a cosy night in with a cuppa and a good book. You will be woken up at all hours by your loud housemates which can be particularly annoying when you’ve got a 9 0’clock lecture the next morning. This is bound to cause some tension in the house. Try talking to each other and trying to compromise and if that isn’t possible invest in some ear plugs for when you sleep. These will also come in handy when Susan in the room above brings back various strangers.
3. The rules of time no longer apply
The concept of time at university doesn’t really exist. You get up, wander sleepily to class and back again, do some work, watch Netflix and sleep. Next thing you know it’s the end of November and that 3,000 word essay that you haven’t started yet is due in 2 weeks. Being in charge of yourself is a really hard thing to do. Growing wings and flying to the moon and back is probably easier than motivating yourself to write an essay but sadly your grades depend on it. You’re paying £9,000 a year so buy a planner and organise your time wisely. You’ll still have time to enjoy yourself too!
4. Budgeting is damn hard
Being an adult and going to uni comes with being in charge of your money and spending. It’s probably one of the hardest factors about living away from home. Most of us don’t have rich parents we can call on when our rent is due because we’re £500 into our overdraft by October. We have to depend on student loans. Buy yourself a little book where you can write down your weeks spending so you can see where your money is going, work out how much you have to spend a week and stick to it! You can do this! Also, if you can, spend summers and Christmas holidays working in order to save up some money to get you through the next semester.
5. Listen in lectures
Lectures can be a bit boring some times, if not all the time. You have someone talking at you for 2 hours or more, not making sense and changing slides too quickly. Once you lose track of what your lecturer is saying it’s very easy to give up and let your mind wander. Try your best not to do this. Your mind can wonder after the lecture ends but during it you’ll be told information that will actually help you write essays and sit exams. I know it’s so difficult to give your full attention at 9am but it is possible! Also keep a notebook and pen at hand to take notes.
6. Shopping together is cheaper
It’s not until you get to uni and have to buy your own food that you fully realise why your Mum tells you off for eating all the groceries on the day she buys them. If you can, get your shopping with a housemate. It ends up being much cheaper for both of you and you can get lots of good deals. Also remember that own brands are just as nice as well known brands and always ask if they do student discount!
7. Buy a raincoat
You never know, you could end up having a half an hour walk to uni and back each day so make sure you buy a raincoat or an umbrella at least because it will rain, particularly if you’re at uni in the U.K. Be prepared!
8. Get a calendar
Calendars are a really good way to keep track of birthdays and events but are also great from keeping track of deadlines and classes. Don’t be that person who hands in their work late because they weren’t organised enough to know the day it was due in on. Get a physical calendar, a weekly planner or use the calendar on your phone so you know where to be and when to be there.
9. Cleaning rota
When you live in a house with other students the house usually ends up with dirty dishes and fluff balls sooner rather than later. Have a house meeting and sit down together to set out a cleaning rota for each week. Everyone gets a set task and it rotates each week so everyone gets a turn. Don’t be afraid to call people out for not chipping in because people will try their luck and ‘forget’ to do their chore. Don’t live in filth!
10. Take vitamins
Within one week of uni you will be hit with the dreaded freshers flu and you will want to go home where your mum can bring you soup and hot water bottles. The mix of different people causes your immune system to freak out over these new germs and it basically just gives up. It can be very hard to come back from this and you will find yourself contracting every single illness for the whole year causing you to miss weeks off uni. Get yourself some vitamins and take one each day to build yourself up. Look after yourself and be smart. I would suggest investing in a bottle of Boots chewable vitamin C tablets.
On that note, I hope you feel a little more prepared for uni and don’t forget to do your work and have fun!