Your first year at uni is a really exciting time of your life. But it can be quite overwhelming too, especially if you are moving to another country for your studies. If you live in halls you have to learn to live with other people and not get annoyed about the fact that they never do the dishes. Your first year at uni will be very dependent on your personality type. But there are certain things you should keep in mind, whatever you want to do in your spare time. Here’s a few.
Get A Heater
This probably sounds really basic but if you live in halls or in a flat share with bad insulation – you will need an electric heater. It’s best if you get one that can also just help with air circulation (i.e.it has an option to not heat the air). That way if it’s really hot in the summer and there is no circulation in the house (and obviously no air con) you can put the electric heater on the setting that only circulates air. Hey, every little helps.
Student Discounts And Memberships
Find out which places do student discounts and make use of them. Check out StudentBeans. Get all the free trials. See if anything sport-related has a free/discounted first class. And if you wan to know more about budgeting, take a look at this article.
Great Tip: see if the cafe at uni gives away free water. If it does, you can ask for hot water and bring your own teabags from home. Saves a whole lot of money during exams. Free tea!
If you like art, register for Tate Collective – it’s free and you get to see any exhibition for just 5 quid. That’s usually more that 50% discount. It’s great.
Cycling Can Save You Money
Transport is expensive, especially if you live in London. You go out of your house and you are immediately charged for some sort of transport. Busses are great and all, but if you really want to save money on travel, you should try cycling. It’s not only great for your wallet, it’s also great for your cardiovascular system.
You might forget what exercise feels like in first year, so you might as well cycle to save some money. I know it can be tricky to get used to the traffic, but it’s really not that bad. Just remember to always wear a helmet. And buy cycling gloves and/or a seat cover if your hands/bum get sore.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
First year is the best year to try something new. Get out of your bubble. Try everything and anything. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Explore if you haven’t already done that in high school. Or explore anyway, it’s first year!
First year at uni is all about making friends. And the first week is vital! I met my best friends during freshers. I also met a lot of other people during freshers who were really lovely and super friendly, but now have no idea who I am, cause they probably don’t even remember me.
So while freshers week is great for making friends, don’t feel like you have to participate in all the shenanigans in order to fit in or make friends. Just go to the freshers fair, or some of the events and strike up conversations with people. It’s great if you get along with your flatmates, because that way, you have a bunch of friends right away. But the chances of you remaining best friends with your flatmates throughout the year is slim. So befriend as many people as possible.
Sign Up For Something
Most unis have some great societies, but we sometimes forget they are there. You get carries away with uni work or going out and you forget that societies at uni can be an amazing place to meet people with similar interests to you and learn something new.
And when you sign up, you should actually try and participate. I’ve definitely signed up to societies which I have not participated in and I’ve regretted it.
Do Go To Class
If you pay to go to uni but don’t actually go to uni then what are you doing. I know that first year is usually the year you warm up to uni and all but you should not throw away your opportunity to learn and grow for a bunch of parties (or whatever) you won’t remember anyway.
You have to find a balance between your social life and your uni work. If you hate uni, if you are not willing to put in the work and if you don’t appreciate the opportunity to learn and become a more intelligent human being, don’t go to uni. First year may not be the most important, it usually accounts for a minimum if any percentage of your diploma. But it’s uni, it’s not all fun and games. You’ll regret slacking off in the future. You’ll regret not reading that book you couldn’t be bothered to read, because it now constantly gets referenced everywhere.
Don’t waste your money if you don’t want to study.
Reduced Section Is Your Best Friend
Look at the reduced sections, go to your local supermarket on Sunday before closing to see what they’re reducing. I have previously found a set of three cheeses for .40p down from nearly £3. I’ve made a dinner for three people for £1.86, that’s pretty incredible. The reduced section is going to become your best friend at uni. Especially with all the money you’ll be spending going out and exploring new places in first year. The reduced section in some supermarkets is better than others so look around and see which ones tend to have a better selection.
Do Have Fun
After the whole, go to class talk earlier, let’s finish on a high. You should be having a lot of fun in first year. You should be going to cool events, meeting interesting people, going to the pub after class and going out on the weekend. Make the most of your time in uni.
Do you have any survival tips for first year? Share in the comments.
Featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/cckf4TsHAuw
Currently going into her final year of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Gery has been writing in a personal blog since 2014 and has been published in publications StudentVoices and FictionHub on Medium. She debuted her first play 'Liminality' at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is already planning her next project.