Tips on starting University
Are you starting university? Here are some tips for you.
Your student loan won’t even cover your rent.
Try to save up a little before you get to university. If you can even save up a couple of hundred pounds, it will help towards food and things while you’re there. The whole of your loan will be taken up with your rent, so don’t be under any illusion that you’ll be ‘rich’ while you’re at university.
You will get homesick, but it won’t be for long.
If this is the first time that you’ve ever lived away from your home, then it’s inevitable that you will get a little homesick. Don’t worry if you do, but until you start to feel better, avoid home visits, as they will make you feel worse when you get back after them. You should throw yourself into all of the activities that are available to you, and you will find that the homesickness will wear off as soon as you realise just how amazing your next three years are going to be!
Your first week of lectures will be a complete let down.
You have to be prepared for this one. They will all be the same, and make the course sound much less interesting than you ever thought it would be. You may feel as though you want to drop out and not waste your money, as it wasn’t what you thought it would be, but hold on for a couple of weeks and you’ll find that things do get a lot more interesting.
The first time you go out with your flatmates, there will be a lot of awkward silences.
When I first started, I found that a lot of the time, there wasn’t really that much to say, as we didn’t know each other that well. You might feel as though you want to leave the halls as you don’t feel like you’re having as much fun as everyone else, but I promise you that things will get better. You should make a list in your head about possible conversations that you could have with people in case things get a little awkward while you’re trying to talk to them. Not many people think of doing this, but it’s the ones who do who get on better at the beginning. You will only have to act like this for a day or two, and then you’ll feel as though you’ve known each other for years.
All of your assignments will be due in on the same day.
The thing is with university, they want to have the assignments in to mark during the holidays, and it’s the same for all modules, so every single one will be due in at the same time. It doesn’t really matter though, as you have a lot of time to complete them. You just have to make sure that you do actually do the work that you need to do as you go along, and then you won’t have to waste very much time cramming for assessments, as you will have learnt it already, leaving you able to concentrate on assignments and essays at crucial times in the term.
You don’t get taught.
In your lectures, which are normally one per module per week, you will get given a lot of information on which you have to make notes. Apart from this, you will be expected to do a lot of reading around the subject to do your assignments, with very little help from your tutors. As soon as you get used to this approach, you will find everything a lot easier. The problem is just that it is a lot different to school and college, so some people will panic when they realise that they have to do a lot for themselves. You will get used to this.
Your old friends will change.
If you’re all going to different places in the country, it stands to reason that you’re going to pick up different accents, attitudes and interests than the ones you had when you were back home. It’s often the people who move the least distance who are hit hardest by this, as they feel that their friends have all changed, and they haven’t changed at all. You will have made a lot of new friends at university though, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this. It’s unlikely that they will have changed to the extent of you no longer having anything in common at all, so you should be able to meet up with them during the holiday times and still have a fair bit of fun in their company!
Your relationships will need a lot more effort.
If you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, going to university can put your relationship under a lot of strain. They may get jealous if you’re moving and they’re not, leading to them behaving a little differently, and maybe even talking about ending the relationship. It may be hard to accept this now, but if your relationship can’t stand the distance, then you might as well end it, as you will no doubt encounter larger problems than this. If you can stand the distance then you have to trust your partner, as it is vital that you know they’re not going to betray you whilst you’re away at university. For some people, the distance can strengthen the relationship, and everyone is different, so just be prepared for whatever may happen.
People will steal your food
No matter how many times you write your name on your food in permanent marker and capital letters, people will still steal your food. Usually, it will be things like milk, bread and cereal, and they can often go missing without you even noticing it, which is how they get away with doing it. To help stop this from happening, you should try to keep cereal, crisps, biscuits and teabags (basically anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be in the fridge) in your room where only you can get hold of them. Even if you become close friends with those in your flat, there will still be someone who is stealing your food sometimes without you even knowing it.
Don’t agree to share food.
Sharing milk, bread and cereal may seem like a good idea at the time, but it might actually not be. The thing is, if you share them, the same person or couple of people will buy them every time, and some will never have to buy anything. And, believe it or not, they will actually get away with it for the whole year! I will admit that it makes sense to share milk, as it goes sour quickly, but certainly for every other food I would advise that you kept to buying your own.
There will be one person in your flat that makes things awkward for everyone else.
If you’re lucky enough to get on with even a couple of your flatmates then it’s really good. If you think about it, the likelihood of you getting on with them is very slim, as you are put into flats with people doing different subjects with very different interests to yourself. Often, there will one person who is very different to the rest and will cause a lot of problems and maybe even make things awkward. What you should do in this situation is basically grin and bear it. You only have to put up with them for one year, so it isn’t really that much of a problem. Plus, you’ll be at lectures at different times, and you’ll only have to put up with them during the evenings anyway. You could always make your excuses and go to visit a friend in another flat.
University will be the best time of your life
I know that I have pointed out all of the negative aspects of university life above, but it will be the best time of your life. You will enjoy going out partying, quiet nights in, a lot of shopping, independence, your new friends and your course. If you manage your time and money, university can really be amazing, and you can get an awful lot from it.