Hello, welcome back to my blog. I have decided to create a post which I think will be beneficial for those of you who are currently studying in university or are in the process of starting. Here are a few tips and advice which I wish I was told at the start of the year; when I started university. I am currently half way through semester 2 of my first year at university studying Education Studies and Drama, in Hampshire.
1. YOUR FIRST YEAR
Ok, here goes… the truth about your first year! You will hear many people say ‘it’s only your first year, it doesn’t matter, you only need to pass as you’re only graded pass or fail at the end’ – This isn’t actually true! Every university is different. You do actually get a final grade at the end equivalent to either: 3rd, 2.2, 2.1 or a 1st. These are assessed by a % between 40-80 which will determine your grade. Your first year is important as you do need to pass to ensure a place onto your 2nd year. However, in regards to actually working hard and putting as much effort it… YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD!!! I have been advised to take on every assignment giving it 100% and full commitment as if in the future I am ill or for any reason unable to submit a bit of work or if anything severe happens, the examiner can actually refer back to your 1st year.
Personally, I always try my best to give every assignment my full commitment, putting in as much as I can and developing my skills further each time. This is because I am interested in my development and how I can improve each time. I like to know where I am at, in terms of all aspects of presenting, essay writing and my grades. I believe you should take on your first year seriously because it is a waste… especially if it all goes wrong, for misunderstanding the concepts of it. It is a lot of money and opportunity wasted.
2. JOINING SOCIETIES
In my opinion, I wished I joined a range of societies at the start of the year, that would have helped me to decide which ones I could stick with throughout whilst studying. During freshers week, we had a day to explore all of the available societies available to us. There are about 25 different societies which were available to me. The ones that grabbed my attention were:
- Lets Act
- Feminism (FemStop)
I wish I gave all of these a go, even just a try out as I wouldn’t have known if I liked them. However, as I was nervous being at university anyway (having to move to a new town, new education and meeting new people), I thought it would be easier to follow the crowd to specific societies. To begin with, I went to rounders which was great fun. It is a good way to socialise with a range of age groups of students who are all studying at the same uni. For some reason, I decided to stop going, I think it was because I had a lot of work due and I wanted to focus predominantly on that. Shortly after quitting rounders, I went onto glee. Glee is soooo much fun!!!! It is a really nice, friendly society who welcome a diverse proportion of people from any courses, regardless if you can sing or not. I really enjoyed singing out loud and this was a great opportunity for me to do so. I really enjoy being a part of Glee and recently I have joined rounders again. When I start my second year, I will definitely experience and try out other societies because it is a really good feeling to be a part of something that you are interested in.
I think that you should dive straight in and sign yourself up for as many societies as you can because you can always re-join or quit. You can come and go at any moment. I think you should do something because you want to not because the rest of your flatmates are. When I start my second year, I am 100% going to join a few more societies and find which ones suit me best.
3. THE STUDENT LIFE: GOING OUT/ALCOHOL (BOP)
As most of you are probably aware that a lot of people refer to students as living ‘the student life’ or will ask you ‘how’s the nightlife?’. As it goes, it is true. Many if not a majority will go out every week, probably every other night. There is always something on either an event, society meetings or just to go out and have a good time. There are places on campus, the local pub or the bars and nightclub in town. As it stands, I have gone out about 4 times. This is to our on-campus nightclub on a Wednesday evening 8pm-1am, which is our society/music throwback night. We call this BOP!!!!! It is so cheap to get in, as little as £2 and you would normally have a theme with your society that you all stick to for that night out at BOP. It is a lot of great fun and definitely one of the many ways to make new friends.
4. HOUSEHOLD TASKS: COOKING, WASHING & CLEANING
Cooking: If I am being honest, at the start of the year I thought I was actually going to cook proper meals. I did a very large food shop with fresh meats and I honestly said to myself I will make good meals. In reality, I live off salads, bread, cereal, potatoes and pasta!!!! You might not be like me, but if you are you will probably live off the same kind of food every week. If you can and you’re motivated, you should definitely try and make your favourite kinds of dinner that you would eat at home. It will make you a happier person and you will maintain a healthy diet. From looking at my social media, you will probably see that I eat a lot of jacket potatoes and salads or takeaways!!!! I have decided that next year I will make proper dinners and meals and look after myself well.
Another thing that is important to consider, is where you will do your shopping. It is always good to go to the supermarket which has the best deals as your money will soon vanish. I always have a budget which I try to stick to each week. Sometimes it doesn’t last but others it does. If you can I would recommend doing an online shopping order with either your friends or flatmates. This is because you can get the deals online and also you will not have to carry it from town. This is a massive advantage for me as I absolutely love drinking milk… I get through about 6 pints a week if not more!!! Carrying this from Winchester town to the uni can be very PAINFUL!!!!!!
Washing: The one thing I forgot to consider when coming to university and living in halls. Unfortunately, I would have to get the train home which would be a complete disaster if I was to take my washing home. You will hear a lot of friends say that they’re going home or getting picked up so they will take their washing with them. For me… this was not the case!!! I have to use the washing facilities on campus. Don’t get me wrong they aren’t that bad at all. There are two places on campus which both have 6 washers and 6 dryers. In comparison to the number of students, that’s really not a lot. However, my advice for laundry isn’t very good… but I will tell you what I do! I would leave all my washing until my wash basket is full or until I am at the point where I literally have no more clothes left. This is because the amount of time needed to do washing is a lot and it is better to do two full loads in one go. The washers at uni are quite big and if you do one for whites and one for colours, it is advised to wait until both are at a good size. I would almost definitely always do my washing on a Sunday morning between 8am-10am. It is always quiet at that time because people are either still at home, in bed or recovering from the night before. You most likely will not have to wait for a washer. When I first started I had a couple of times where I would wait to use a washer in line for about an hour… IT’S CRAZY!!! The best thing to do is to take with you either readings, work, books or your laptop to the laundry room and to be productive doing coursework as you will find yourself waiting a very long time. You can leave your washing, but I never do. An average wash is about 35 minutes and the dryer is about 80 minutes, so I always bring food and work and I have a very productive couple hours whilst doing washing!
5. LIVING ON A BUDGET
Managing your money whilst at university is crucial! If you aren’t working or getting money from parents then you should consider budgeting your money on a weekly basis. I have been managing my own money since the age of 16. It is important that you work out your finances in advance so you are aware of how much money you can spend each week. If you spend less one week, then you can budget a bit more the week after… I find it very useful to budget myself and stay on track when going out as I find myself just tapping my card at many places and not caring. Money does not last as long as you think and the value of it is not very much! When you have to start paying your own bills, shopping, personal items and going out with friends, it soon vanishes very quickly. As a first-year student, I personally wish I saved up a little bit more money before coming to university. It is nice having independence and freedom, but sometimes knowing your financial problems can be a big problem if you don’t want to go into an overdraft.