HOW THIS ‘LIFE CHANGING’ EXPERIENCE DIDN’T LIVE UP TO EXPECTATION…
…BUT read on to find out how to not make the same mistakes I for the whole year.
Granted, I’ve only completed my first year so once the 2nd and 3rd are finished I’ll have to revaluate… However, from my experience, it’s been said countless times (not only just by me but my friends and flatmates too) that “uni is the best experience of your life” and this is a line which I don’t think I can agree with.
Then, I stopped and questioned myself– did I actually try? And to be frank, the answer is no.
Education-wise, yeah I put in the effort. I came out with a low 2:1 overall which I’m pretty chuffed about, but I know I can do better. Yet when it came to the society-joining, social-going and general friend-making, I was shit.
HERE ARE SOME POINTERS IN WHICH NEW UNI STARTERS MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER:
- No matter how excited you are prior to going, sooner or later, homesickness will creep up on you. I am from Manchester and chose to go to Uni of Sheffield. It’s a mere 45-minute train journey and even I got homesick. I got in a swift habit of coming home to visit my parents every second weekend, and being this reliant on them made it a lot harder. Accepting that everyone else who has moved away is in the exact same position is crucial – knock on your flatmate’s doors, make a brew and find comfort in the fact you’re not alone.
- DO, DO, DO attend the societies fair. You will absolutely, 100% get bombarded with people advertising the weirdest and most wonderful societies out there… things you wouldn’t think anyone would ever make a society for, but do try and join just a handful if possible. I went to the societies fair with one aim – to find the University Newspaper Society. I did that, ticked it off the list and then left. Then later in the year when my flatmates were off to cooking club, netball, football etc. (even when some had NO prior experience in the societies they’d chosen) made a tonne of friends and knowledge to keep ‘em busy.
- Make the effort in lectures. I’m quite embarrassed to mention this next one but I’m going to be entirely honest. This year, I have made 0 mates with the people on my course. I’m doing English Lit & Lang so it’s not some proper obscure course that only the odd people of the world do. It was just down to me not having the confidence to say ‘hello’ to the person next to me when I went into the lecture theatre… then the more time I left it off the nerves intensified to the point where I thought I was too late and remained quiet in seminars and lectures for the rest of the year. DO NOT make this mistake.
- The housing situation at uni SUCKS. Like a significant number of other students, it’s common that people go into halls on their first year and then go into housing with friends on their 2nd and 3rd. However, in order to do this, you need to find the buddies you want to live with pretty damn quick. Bearing in mind that the academic year typically starts in September, we had already put down a deposit for a house for the following academic year in November. It’s crazy as you don’t know for sure who you definitely want to live with, but try and get it done as soon as.
- Get supermarket loyalty cards before you leave for uni – just get every possible one you can find. I didn’t bother doing this as I shopped in a fair few different supermarkets as there wasn’t a big shop nearby – only the little local ones. However, if you do some research before you go to figure out where your nearest supermarket is, get a card to collect points. You’ll be buying more than just bread and cheese – think about the amount of booze, toiletries, stationery you’re going to need for the whole year. It’ll add up and you’ll get rewards.