Heading off to uni can be intimidating (and also incredibly exciting). To ease any nerves you might have, here are 20 tips for first year students so you can focus less on your nervousness and more on your excitement!
1. Familiarize yourself with your chosen course.
It’s always a good idea to know a little bit about each module for your course before enrollment. There will still be some surprises that you weren’t expecting, that crop up throughout the year, but having a general understanding of your course will definitely help you feel more prepared.
2. Make accommodation plans.
Where you live and who you live with effects your university experience tremendously. If you aren’t living in halls then looking for house shares can be stressful, especially when you’ve left it to the last minute! If this is the case for you, then try joining some Facebook groups for your university; there are always other students looking for flatmates and talking online beforehand allows you to get to know your potential new roomies.
3. Know your move-in date.
Regardless of whether you are living in halls or a house share, it’s important to know your move-in date well in advance. Some universities allow you to order items online and send them to the halls of residence reception area before you move in, which is great if you are travelling from afar and already know your car will be packed to the brim!
4. Make a list of all the things you need to take with you.
Following on from the last tip, try not to over pack! Remember you may only be living away from home for a year and you are more than likely going to go on some serious shopping sprees when your student loan comes in, so it’s best to just take the essentials. Make a list beforehand and cross off the things that you can live without. That being said, take a few home comforts to make your new space feel like your own.
5. Join Facebook groups and make friends.
The anticipation of making new friends can be daunting, especially when it’s face-to-face. Every university has a Facebook page and often there are specific groups for different courses. Being active online is a great way to stay updated on what your university is doing and to get to know your classmates without feeling too awkward!
6. Look over your timetable.
You should receive your timetables at the end of August or the beginning of September. As first year students, it’s really important to keep a few copies handy and highlight all of the important dates. If you are the creative type or enjoy a project, then why not copy out the timetable and personalise it.
7. Buy yourself a planner.
University is a lot more than just studying for a degree, it’s a place to better yourself and to make lifelong connections. Having a planner is an essential way to keep track of all your social activities, commitments and responsibilities. Personalise your planner and write detailed notes and most importantly, highlight exam and assignment due dates!
8. Plan affordable meals in advance.
You won’t realise how expensive university is until you experience your first food shop. The best way to cut costs is to make a weekly meal plan before shopping, and only buy what you need. It may also be a good idea to go shopping a couple of times per week to cut food wastage.
9. Make the most of freshers.
Freshers is one of the main highlights of the year and there is so much to gain from the week. There are lots of events to attend, tons of freebies and valuable information given out, that can help you settle in and make your university experience all the more enjoyable.
10. Sign up for extracurricular activities.
All the information that you need to know about joining sports teams and societies will be available at Freshers’, but it may be a good idea to do some research beforehand and to take a look at the university student union website. There will be contact information for each society, so if you have any questions, you could send them an email before freshers’ week.
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11. Hydrate – Get over the freshers’ hangover!
University life often involves nights out and lots of drinking, but you’ll need to keep a balance to ensure that you complete all of your assignments on time. Remember to drink responsibly! If you do have a hangover keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet so you can bounce back quickly.
12. Be punctual.
There is nothing tutors hate more than students walking in late to their lectures and it’s also really distracting for other students. Punctuality is so important at university and good time keeping is a skill that will get you far in life.
13. Stay active.
It’s easy to get lazy at university and to avoid the gym, but staying active will keep your body fit and your mind alert. Working out, is also a great way to let off steam and de-stress, especially when assignments are due. If you can’t afford the gym, there are plenty of home workout videos on YouTube.
14. Keep in touch with your friends and family.
Making time to speak to your loved ones is really important. As a busy student it’s not easy to give up time to Skype or have long phone calls with your family, but you will need their support throughout the year, so try to keep in contact regularly, even if it’s through texting.
15. Make time for yourself.
It’s OK to cancel plans or decline invitations to take time out to relax. Socializing can be exhausting and everyone needs a little down time! Make plans of your own, catch up on your favourite TV shows, order pizza or just simply get a good night’s rest!
16. Meditate and de-stress.
You don’t need to be spiritual to meditate or to practice yoga. Meditation can be done anywhere! If you have five minutes to spare between classes, then try sitting somewhere in the library or somewhere secluded and take a few minutes to breathe and relax. There are apps and pocket books available that you can use whilst on the go.
17. Stay organised and don’t put things off.
Many of us leave essays to the last minute, but the word counts are much higher for university and the subjects are often far more detailed. To stay ahead of the game, plan in advance! It’s often better to work on an essay over a period of days rather than try to smash it out in one night. You are much more likely to receive praise for your work if you actually put the work in.
18. Keep on top of laundry!
If you are staying at halls, the laundry room will undoubtedly be out of order at some point during your stay, so leaving all of your washing to the last minute is risky and often time consuming. Try doing a couple of washes per week or hand washing your undies!
19. Shop around – find the cheapest items.
You’ll find that if you buy from various affordable shops, rather than doing a big shop in one supermarket, that you’ll save money. Pound stores are now becoming healthier than they used to be and usually offer a large variety in products.
20. Enjoy yourself and make the most of your first year!
The first year of university flies by and what may seem like a scary journey will no doubt be one of the best experiences of your life, with plenty of amazing opportunities to offer. Try to live in the moment and appreciate every day.