It is your first year at University. You may be away from your loved ones for the first time, which sounds daunting. But at the same time, you are enthusiastic about a completely new and exciting adventure. You can plan and get a rough idea of what University is like but speaking as a first year myself, there are just some things that you can’t forsee. Some of these points are covered here, which I am positive any university students reading this, may have come to terms with at some point.
Friendships are not always forever
You will potentially meet some of your best friends at University, but not everyone out there will be good for you, or as supportive as you think. It is too easy to latch onto the first person you meet and although this can develop into worthwhile friendships, other times it doesn’t. The pressure to make friendships so quickly with the likes of ‘freshers week’is immense, but don’t be fooled as there is no need to panic. The majority of us are here for three years which gives us plenty of time to develop the true friendships. Go to clubs, societies and events! You’ll be surprised how many fanstastic people you can meet with similar interests.
Dealing with drama
Drama is not worth it. You can’t get on with everyone on a true level, but you can be civil. We are all adults so to speak and sometimes you just have to ‘suck it up’ and tolerate others. Whilst other times admittedly, it can be much healthier to leave this person completely. If like me you prefer a much more relaxed environment, then it can be much better for you to distance yourself from drama. Of course though this can be difficult if you’re seeing this person regularly, so tred with caution. This is why I think being civil enough to get by can help, as things can get real awkward, real fast. This is not worth it at all!
You don’t need to ‘go out’ to make or maintain friendships
I’m a firm believer that there is someone out there for everyone, and that you don’t have to compromise your integrity or your individuality to fit in. You have your housemates and coursemates already, but you can also branch off into joining clubs and societies. Immediately you already share one common interest of what the club is all about, whether that be anything from harry potter to football. I can guarentee there is a society for almost anything. If not you have the option to find these people and create a new society. This can work a lot better for the more introverted of us or those with social anxiety, or even just people who prefer peace. If you like to meet in the middle then perhaps pubs, where alcohol is available yet in a more sociable environment.
Seek all the help you can get
All Universities should have an extensive range of support available for students, regardless of having a disability or not. No one there should be there trying to catch you out as everyone is there to support your learning. Personally I have been guilty of just getting on with things myself as I’m very self motivated and driven in that manner. I have generally been getting great grades so I never really thought about it. It wasn’t till roughly half way through first year that I truly understood what I needed help with and the benefits of seeking this assistance. Whether it be academically, mentally, socially or physically, there are things you can do to benefit yourself. Don’t bury your head in the sand. At the end of the day you’re here to get the best education possible, so ask questions and seek help at every opportunity.
Extra courses and qualifications
Despite different gradings, everyone will be finishing with a degree. You need something that will set you apart from the rest,to give you an advantage over the chasing pack. In reading or progression weeks, universities can offer courses and qualifications that can further your learning. I have taken part in a range of different sporting ones that are relevant to me, such as tennis and tri-golf. These courses are quite introductory in nature, whilst giving me a brief summary and insight into them. This has improved my confidence as well as experience for a CV. Studying abroad is also offered by universities, to develop experience and skills in your chosen field.
Don’t waste your money on books!
As shocking as this sub heading sounds, I can promise you it’s not contradictory. Universities have reading lists with exact books that they expect you to partially read from. Most of these academic sources are available online for free, whilst the others you can loan from the library. There is rarely if ever a need to experiment with flashy and expensive books. Look out at the start of the year for book sales, where books are sold for a miniscule price. I gained a lot of books for 50p each in a sale held by the University, which assisted me in getting an A grade in an assignment. Just be careful that the books are not too old as Universities prefer more up to date academic sources.