Surviving Is The First Step
Going off to university is not only something that is truly terrifying but exciting point of your life. I remember being extremely overwhelmed on results day as I managed to get the grades I needed, and would be heading off to London in a matter of weeks! The only thing I was worried about was surviving being in a city instead of a small town. Early on I began to stress about all the things I needed as I was moving into an ensuite room in student accommodation, which had a shared kitchen. One thing I do recommend you do is to find the freshers page for your university on Facebook, as I found quite a few of my coursemates and flatmates this way; which meant I was able to get to know them beforehand and I wouldn’t awkwardly be going off not knowing anyone. Do be careful, I know at my university there are often fake freshers pages which try to entice new students to go to events not run by the student union themselves.
Just because you’re making new friends doesn’t mean you can forget about the ones back home, I took loads of photographs with me to decorate my room with so I could look at them whenever I missed home and was filled with happiness. Personally, I became distance with people from back home since I found I was the one always putting in the effort, but the people I stayed in contact with understand I can’t always reply to their messages straight away while I’m at uni but once I have free time I’ll talk like there’s no tomorrow. As well as photographs you want to decorate your room with other homely features such as; stuffed toys, posters, fairy lights and other little trinkets, after all, this is where you shall be living for a majority of the year so you want it to feel like home.
When it comes to taking notes in lectures I highly recommend using a laptop, you’ll find it easier to keep up with what you’re being told, plus you can go back through and edit any spelling mistakes later. I always print my lecture notes out at the end of each half term, so I can go back through them and see what I’ve learnt as well as making notes of which areas I need to do more research on to improve. If you’re going to do this as well I highly recommend getting your own printer, I personally have an HP Deskjet 2540 All-In-One (£49.99) and it’s the best investment I’ve made. Not only can I print lecture notes, and readings out but I can also scan and print chapters from books which I wish to use to essays or other projects. I wouldn’t trust university printers as far as I can throw up (which isn’t anyway) those things smell fear and know when deadline season is rolling around, and they cost a small fortune to use!
When it comes to having a social life, the main thing you need to do is go out, don’t spend your days hidden in your room, go and make friends with people. Don’t be afraid to go exploring the location you’re in alone either, I quite often have solo trips into central London which means I can bump into some pretty cool new people. I’ve also made so good friends in London which means I can just go and meet up with them whenever I want. Just because you’re at university doesn’t mean you can’t have friends outside, or that you are confined to being with your flat or coursemates all the time. The best place to meet people on campus is normally the campus bar or coffee shops, I know I have them scattered all across my campus, and the bar is nearly always busy, especially if there is an event going on.
Here are my top five tips for surviving first year: