With last week marking a year since I graduated University, it got me thinking. Firstly HOW has it already been a year?! I’m sure I’ve had naps that have lasted longer than that… But it also got me reflecting on the importance of those three years, wondering how they impacted me as a person and if they really did prepare me for the working world. So, with the start of the next academic year looming, I thought I’d pull together a list of the things I’ve learnt along the way.
Now, to be clear, this itsn’t going to be a serious and practical how-to guide on everything you should know about University. I’m sure there are a plethora of posts out there (good word, hey) that can give great tips but this could be helpful if you’re starting University this September, if you’re moving out on your own for the first time, or just fancied some lols at my experiences as a student.
- Bring cosy socks- the floors will be cold and the winter will be long, but having warm feet will make all the difference.
- Never underestimate the power of a hot chocolate- you’re feeling peckish but there isn’t any food around? Have a hot chocolate. The thought of typing up footnotes for your impending essay it makes you want to cry? Have a hot chocolate. You’re feeling Christmassy and all you want to do is blast Mariah Carey from the rooftops, but you fear judgement because it’s only August? Have a hot chocolate. Seriously, it’s fitting for all kinds of situations.
- Agencies may try to mug you off- sorting out housing will never be stress free. Trust me fam. This has probably been one of the biggest learning curves I’ve had at University. From trying to find housemates that are ready to commit (it’s like trying to confirm who’s going where on New Year’s Eve) to getting your agency to fix issues with the house itself (you would think having a functional toilet door would be standard, but you’d be wrong), navigating your way through tenancies as a student is a minefield. Sadly some agencies will want to take advantage of the fact you’re a student, they might charge extorinate fees and many will assume you won’t know what your entitled to. Read the small print, familiarise yourself with your tenancy agreement and negotiate the terms that you’re not comfortable with. I’ve got so many stories on this I think it deserves a post to itself, but for now, all I’ll say is be proactive, seek advice from friends and family and don’t settle. Student housing may be a pain, but you’re paying a lot of money to be there so don’t bury your head in the sand.
- A dressing gown is a must- when you want to turn the heating up but keep the dreaded heating bills down, a dressing gown will be one of your best investments. My friends in different houses had varied approaches to using heating, some were very relaxed and would put it on whenever it got chilly, others refused to put it on until it was positively arctic conditions- I’d like to think my house was somewhere in the middle. But whatever your approach, dressing gowns are a winner, they’re warm and cosy, more practical than a blanket and if you’re based in the UK, can be worn all year round. You can probably tell I’m a big advocate for the dressing gown look, and my friends will know I pretty much live in mine and have successfully encouraged some of them to embrace the cosy way of life- so whether its a dressing gown, onesie, hoodie or cosy trackies, go for it my friend, you will not be disappointed.
- Remind yourself that there is housing out there that doesn’t have mould, single pained windows and a dodgey outdoor loo. It will get better one day. I touched earlier on the condition of some of the student housing in Brighton, so all I say is have hope friends, housing will get better. One day magnolia will be a thing of the past, mouldy walls will be a distant memory and won’t it be wonderful.
- Embrace your time at University- at the end of the day you’re paying a lot of money so get everything you can out of your time there. It’s probably the most popular advice for freshers, but sign up to societies and try something different! I followed this advice and took it to the extreme when I signed up for cheerleading tryouts having no experience whatsoever #whatwasithinking (again I feel this may be a story for another post) but nevertheless University is a fantastic place to try (and sometimes fail) at new things. Enjoy making friends with people on your course and your flatmates, but also make time to meet people outside of the University bubble. It’s refreshing to get to know people who are doing completely different things to you, and I met some of my best friends this way.
- Remember the reason you’re there- at the end of the day you have probably decided to go to University because of an interest in that subject so remember to push yourself get the most out of the degree itself. It took me my first year to really get the hang of studying at degree level and I definitely had moments throughout the whole three years where it was difficult to find the motivation to keep going. So it’s important to identify the ways in which you learn effectively, put the time in and get involved in societies/clubs for related to your degree. It’s a great way to apply what you’re learning, meet new people and contribute to your overall University experience.
- Don’t be hard on yourself- studying at University will have many ups and downs, so look after yourself and surround yourself with the people who make you happy. And remember that deadlines, library sessions are 9ams are so much more bearable when you’ve got a friend/hot chocolate buddy.
So there we have it, some of the best tips I learnt at University (alongside the actual degree of course).
University might not for everyone but I’m so glad I decided to go, it definitely has been the most exciting, challenging, fun and shaping time of my lil’ old life so far. And I’m totally heartbroken it’s over.
I hope this has been helpful/amusing to you in some way, and be sure to keep an eye out for University related posts because oh boy I’ve got a few funny stories to share.
So watch this space and see you soon
- Jeans- Urban Outfitters
- Shirt- Warehouse
- Vans- Vans, obvs
- Photography- Oliva Foley xxx