It’s about time I wrote this! Fresher’s week is around the corner and that means one thing for me – hard hard work! I am excited for term to begin but also apprehensive about a jam packed campus again. The internet is littered with “10 ways to save money as a fresher” and “top tips for first years” youtube also has a sprinkling of advice from one previous freshling to another (you’re lucky – I was going to do this post in video form) and I thought I would join in with some tips for fresher’s . Some of these are sensible and others might come off a bit ranty other might make you say “WELL DUUUUH!” buuuut here we go:
Emma’s Pearls of wisdom :
University is not the same as School! For some people it can be a culture shock. Some people get homesick (whether they are from the same country as their University or not). You’re not likely to get the same personalised service from your tutors/lecturers as you would have got from your teachers (despite the tuition fees). Instead of being in a class of 30 you’re more likely to be in a lecture theatre of hundreds (depending on the subject you take). Bear this in mind. You have to be proactive in all the relationships you have with University staff. No one is going to chase you, no one is going to give you a kick up the bum if you don’t do something you have to take responsibility for yourself. Do get yourself organised and keep yourself motivated! First year gives you a lot of free time, so make the most of it and be productive.
Budget. Budget. Budget – yeah yeah, bla bla bla! Everybody will tell you to do it, but not everyone will have managed it themselves. It is so easy to take money for granted especially if you are lucky enough to have the help of the bank of mum and dad. I was lucky and had savings and my loans covered most of what I needed them to but times are tougher on freshers now due to stupidly high fees. Also I totally didn’t budget and all my savings went in my first year and I don’t have anything to show for it :S awkward. This also meant I had to work full time the whole of my 2nd year summer to afford rent for 3rd year. A student calculator could be a useful thing to take a look at.
Ten things every student should know about money; http://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/aug/10/10-things-students-should-know-money
Do ALL OF THE THINGS! Again might seem like a cliche. But trust me you don’t get the spare time you have as a student again in your working life! I mean societies, volunteer work EVERYTHING (within reason). And that doesn’t mean sign up and never turn up. And do join societies for more than the drinking. Volunteer work doesn’t just look good on your CV but it makes you feel positive and keeps you sociable as well. Make sure if you do work for causes you don’t just pick the generic charity – do work for something you are passionate about and if possible can make a difference in. If your University offers free language courses – do them!
Oh and if you did sports in school keep it up at Uni. I got out of the habit and never did any at uni and now I am paying the price! Exercise is an awesome way of keeping your mood up, counter balancing any booze you might be having and can help with sleep (I know how tempting it is to be nocturnal as a student).
Keep your door open. I mean this in a couple of ways firstly prop open your room door in halls, this will make people more inclined to come and speak with you. Second of all I mean be open to speaking with people about stuff, yeah I mean emotional stuff. First year of University can seem really lonely at times it is easy to close your door and watch back to back episodes of whatever but don’t get tempted to do that. If you don’t have a common room, trust me, the kitchen in halls is where it is at (classy).
Learn to cook. It doesn’t have to be restaurant quality stuff but make sure you look after yourself! It can seem like such effort! But get together and make big meals with lots of people and share the cost. Make use of your freezer! You’ll be an expert and something just beyond baked beans or boiled eggs soon! I was a genius and started my Uni life off with macaroni cheese from a can and microwaved salmon fillets (what the?) And when it comes to kitchen stuff- take what you will use, there is nothing wrong with having your own set of stuff, so long as it doesn’t get pinched.
Don’t worry if you don’t make friends on your course Some courses can be notorious for having anti-social students within it. Some first years seem preoccupied with living with people studying the same thing but trust me a house full of the same subject group would drive you mad! If you’re a guy in a female dominated lecture theatre or you feel too shy to go up to a group of your subject peers you WILL make friends elsewhere. No one can avoid making friends on campus.
Help each other out. NOT condoning or promoting plagiarism one bit but if there are 3 massive textbooks to buy for a core module and they are all £30+ don’t go and buy all three, get into a group of 3 and buy one each, take all the notes you like and then pass the book on. It’s money saving and a great way to work with one another. On that note -the campus book shop isn’t always the cheapest place to go. Go to book sales as well! If you see a society running one – run towards it! you could pick up a bargain oh and you could try : https://twitter.com/theBookPond to help you trade.
I could go on but look how massive this post is! I hope someone out there finds this useful, I do have more useful(less) information regarding University but I am by no means an expert! Leave comments and share if you like what you read 🙂 open to questions as well