So first year is coming to an end,, which is both terrifying and depressing in equal measure. I know its a cliche but I really don’t understand how its gone so fast! If this carries on I’ll be graduated before I feel like I’ve even been here 5 minutes!
These past 9 months have come and gone at supersonic speed, but in the mean time I feel like I’ve learnt quite a bit. This post is kind of a summary of what I’ve learnt and I hope it serves as a good bit of advice too. Much of it is those old clichés that no-one listens too at the time, only to realise in hindsight that they hit the nail right on the head, but some of them might be less obvious…
1) University is wonderful.
2) Halls are not wonderful.
3) The people you live with in halls will most likely not be your life-long friends. Especially if they smoke copious amounts of weed in your kitchen and never tidy up after themselves.
4) You will make some VERY good friends at Uni. Its something to do with the shared experiences and the close proximity. There’s a temptation to stick in the small group of friends that you meet during Freshers, but keep yourself open to meeting new people all the way through the year. You’ll probably end up meeting the people you have most in common with sometime after Christmas.
5) Enjoy Freshers. It won’t last. You’ll most likely get 1/2 way through and be exhausted/ill/on the verge of death. Ignore all of this and power through anyway. You won’t get it back. Of course the nights are generally hilarious and great fun but remember, its not all about getting hammered every night though. Don’t pass up the opportunities to try random sports and activities during the day and take ALL of the discounts/vouchers/free things you can get hold of. Even that soap and flannel set and jar or pickled onions you never thought you’d need.
6) NEVER put foil in a microwave. Seems obvious, but don’t forget this. It ALWAYS ends badly.
7) Even if you get desperate…NEVER resort to eating dry Tuna in brine straight out of the tin. Its just not worth it.
8) Chicken Dippers should only ever be consumed at 3am…when you’re very VERY drunk.
9) There are lots of people on campus who think they’re the bee’s knees. You’ll notice their hipster-ness…but they’re no more cool than anyone else. There are no ‘cool kids’ at Uni because no-one cares and this is fantastic.
10) There are more opportunities for you to learn things and do things and get involved with things at University than you could shake a stick at. Seek them out…and do them ALL.
11) If people get jealous that you’re taking these opportunities…ignore it. Do what you want to do. Concentrate on making University what you want it to be and squeeze the most out of it that you can…because it goes SUPER FAST!
12) The words ‘1st Year doesn’t count’ are VERY annoying…and some people use this as an excuse to say ‘I can fail 2 modules and get 40% in all the others and its fine..its only 1st year’ but being one of those people is neither clever, nor cool. Don’t be one of those people.
13) Go to ALL of your lectures. Even the 9am ones. Its really not that hard…and you’ll miss out if you don’t. You can always go back to bed afterwards if you’re really THAT tired.
14) Some lecturers are AWESOME. Some aren’t so interesting. Some modules are AWESOME. Some are a bit dry…but they’re all there for a reason – to give you the best possible grounding for second year when things get serious (booooo!).
15) If something in one of your lectures catches your attention, go with it. Look it up, read around it, read papers on it. Grab the chance to learn really exciting things while you have plenty of free time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just make sure they’re not stupid questions first. Don’t bother your lecturers with questions that you could google in less than a minute. They’ll always appreciate good questions…but they won’t appreciate having to ‘mother’ you.
16) The library is a treasure trove of information. Use it wisely…but not after 6pm or on a Sunday..the library at these times is a very odd place to be.
17) Make the effort to get to know your lecturers a little bit. Ask them questions about their research and be interested in whats happening on campus. You could sit through 3 years of lectures without a lecturer ever knowing your name but why would you want to do that?
18) University is generally awesome but if something isn’t right and it annoys you, don’t be afraid to question it. Get involved with SSLC (Student-Staff Liason Committee) or get your voice heard through your Student Union. Most people will happily moan away, but then sit there and do nothing about it. Don’t be one of those people.
19) If you have an idea about a new society, or some fundraising or a project…run with it and try and see it through. There’s lots of help and support and the transferable skills you learn will look great on your CV.
So I think that just about sums it up. In short my advice reads as follows…Enjoy EVERY minute. Have FUN. Be INSPIRED. Don’t take it for granted. It might not always be perfect. Sometimes it might be quite hard, but take the bad with the good. Not everyone is as lucky as you are, so make the most of the experience.