10 things I wish I knew before starting at university!
As I come to the end of my degree, I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve learned about student life, and some of the things I wish I knew as a first year:
- Challenges are good! It’s ok to feel challenged!
- Be prepared to study modules that you don’t think are interesting. It’s very likely that you won’t enjoy every single class you take. Don’t panic if you don’t enjoy some of your classes and question your whole degree! However, try to be open minded! Some of my favourite classes have actually been the ones I least expected to like.
- Keep on top of deadlines! I can’t stress this enough, as there is nothing worse than leaving things till last minute! When you’re overwhelmed and stressed, your work isn’t your best. Try to keep on top of things as you go, to stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed when your deadlines all seem to roll into one.
- You don’t need to buy every book on the reading list. In the first semester of my first year, I bought every single book on my reading list, brand new, from Blackwells. That was an expensive mistake that set be back around £200 before I’d even started my degree! I’ve since learned that a lot of books are digitalised, or available through the library. Although, having your own copy of any core texts is very helpful. Places such as Amazon or eBay sell second hand books (if you’re prepared to accept some scribbles and highlights from its previous owner!) Many of my second hand books cost me less than £3, compared to £15-£20 brand new.
- Keep a to do list. They might seem unnecessary, but they are so useful when your deadlines are piling up high! Keep it in a place where you’ll see it, as a visual reminder of what’s next, and how much time you have in between assignments.
- You don’t need to live up to the student stereotype! If you believe the movies, student life consists of drinking, partying, and socialising. However, there’s absolutely no pressure to act a certain way at university, everybody is different!
- Everyone’s university experience is different, and university looks different for everyone! Some people study abroad for a year, some people become class reps, some people apply for internships etc. Don’t compare yourself to other students as there’s no right or wrong way to be!
- Lecturers are there to help! They’re not there to catch you out. When I was in first year, I was pretty scared of my lecturers. In reality, they want you to do well just as much as you do!
- Your Student loan is a LOAN. For many of us, SASS payments are our first experience of being in control over money. When you first see your SASS payment come into your bank account, it’s so tempting to spend it straight away. I soon learned that my SASS student loan was not free money. You will need every penny of SASS to get through the academic year. Try to budging for the most important necessities before spending it on whatever you fancy!
- It doesn’t list forever! Despite what you might believe in first year, university doesn’t last forever. In reality, it’ll fly by! Appreciate every semester because it’ll be over in a flash.