University is a whirl wind of emotions, chaos and the best days of your life. Trying to adjust to a healthy balance of studying, socialising and learning how to be an independent adult however can be a very difficult challenge and can take a while to get the hang of, personally I’m still learning. These are some of the things I wish I had known before I started University but hopefully these pieces of advice or maybe even words of wisdom will help to guide you through your experience.
1. You have probably heard this before but it is extremely important to try something new!
Move out of that comfort zone you have created for yourself and join societies and or sports clubs. I know it can feel extremely daunting joining something when you may know absolutely nobody, but the majority of people are in the exact same boat and will be feeling just as anxious as you. Joining societies is a great opportunity to make friends, socialise and potentially discover completely new interests and hobbies. With the whole Pandemic situation, it is a lot more difficult to take part at the moment, but societies are still finding opportunities such as online events to get students involved so take them as they come. They provide you with something productive to do other than your University studies and looks great on your CV!
2. Get into the habit as soon as possible of remembering to do those ‘boring’ chores.
You no longer will have someone there nagging at you to do it. Things like shopping, cooking and cleaning are just as important as having fun. Eating rubbish food all the time, like those questionable kebabs after a night out, will eventually make you ill. Remember to eat your fruit and veg and learn how to cook normal portion sizes - I made this mistake on many occasions and definitely overate…
Keep your flat clean, wash those dishes, do not leave that plate of gravy to congeal for days because trust me…you will regret it. Empty those bins or they will stink, having a tip as your flat is not the greatest place to relax. Try do your laundry weekly, pick a day and stick to it, this helped me even though I did end up occasionally doing my washing at midnight. This can all feel like an excessive waste of time and you would sooner stick pins in your eyes but it is an evil necessity especially when you do eventually run out of clothes and your entire kitchen is covered in crumbs.
3. Stick what works best for you studying/revising wise.
Most people will know vaguely what works best for them when it comes down to how and when to study. Yes, try and experiment with new techniques but do not stick to a studying routine that does not benefit you just because it works for your friend or flat mates. I have learnt this lesson from my own personal experience. I tend to work best when studying during the day and have evenings to relax, one of my flat mates however in first year was the opposite and preferred to study during the evening. I tried to study around the same time as them so we could spend time during the day together however this just wore me out and was an ineffective way of working.
4. Learn how to reference.
This is a skill you should learn early on and make sure it’s the referencing type your school prefers as they do differ.Never ever leave referencing to the end of an essay, do it as you go along as this ensures that you have saved any materials and page numbers you plan to reference. If you don’t do this, you could lose these references or forget what pages you have use and it will take you ages to find them again. I made this mistake in my first year and thought leaving my referencing till last would be a great idea but unfortunately it was not and I ending up losing half my references. It took an extremely stress filled hour to find them again which could have been easily avoided
5. Try not to burn the candles at both ends.
No-one has limitless amount of energy despite what some people say. Remember to take time out for yourself, having company all the time is great fun but it is worth recognising how important it is to know how happy it is to be with just yourself. Self-reliance is just as important as having a great social life so make sure you have some time alone to relax and recuperated.
University can at times be a bit of a bumpy ride and it is enviable poor decisions may be made however, do remember to treasure all the moments of your University life because you will learn something from every experience and plus you are not at University forever and time really does fly by!