How to prepare for your first year at university
By: Rachael, redwigwam
The first year at university can feel like a daunting prospect, and for most, it’s pretty much on par with stepping into the school classroom for the first time all those years ago.
If you have decided to venture to pastures new and move away from home into halls of residence, then try not to fret too much, everyone else is in the same boat as you. They too have left behind their family, friends and familiar haunts, ready to explore a new part of the country, form new friendships and experience a new way of living.
So, in preparation for the amazing years ahead of you, let’s take a look at what you can be doing to help ease yourself into life at university.
1. Be sociable
If you don’t fancy spending the rest of your time in uni on your own, then get talking to everyone on the first day, especially your new roommates. (You might as well – you’re going to be living with them for the first year!)
You’re going to be meeting people from all walks of life from all over the place who are feeling just as anxious as you, so get chatting! You'll soon find things in common (maybe even if it's just that you're miles from home) - your new social life starts here!
2. Find a good balance
University students are renowned for partying and as important as it is to socialise with your new friends, don’t fall into the trap of skipping lectures. Try to remember why you’re paying all this money to go to University.
You’re not going to get a degree if you’re sleeping off a hangover!
A good way to have fun and let off some steam after a day of back-to-back lectures (without spending money) is by signing up for some extracurricular programmes within the university.
Whether it’s sport, drama or music you’re interested in, there are many ways to improve on your interpersonal skills via extracurricular activities that will also look great on your CV once you try to get a job after uni.
3. Stress management
Try not to get too stressed if you’re finding the course hard in the beginning. It's a bit of a step up from school or collage. But with time and study it will soon start making sense.
It’s also worth noting that not obtaining a first at the end of the first year is not the end of the world - usually your first year doesn't count to your final mark - but that doesn't mean you don't have to try. Getting into a good routine now sets you up for second and third year when the hard work really begins.
University life will further test you because it’s going to be very different from sixth form/college. You’re not going to have teachers handing out detention for not turning up and you alone are now responsible for organising yourself and your study time. It’s a lot easier said than done when you have the lure of new friends and nights out to distract you!
Remember, if you are finding it all a bit too much then don’t just shut yourself away, try talking to your family and friends back home or to a counsellor at the University.
4. Money management
It can be rather too tempting to go shopping and to get the round in for everyone at the bar once the student loan hits your bank account, but you need to think ahead and budget for food, rent and travel costs. A great place to start is with a free budget planner – like this one from MoneySavingExpert.
You can also save money by looking out for student discounts in high street shops. It’s worth asking the sales assistant before paying full price for something when you could get a discount just by showing your student ID card.
Have you thought about getting a job to help you through university? Many students have to find employment in order to pay for the essentials like food, but it also makes for a great addition to your CV. It’ll help you to stand out from the rest of the crowd when it comes to finding employment in your chosen field as you would have gained transferrable skills.
So, instead of skipping meals, why not register at redwigwam for a temporary job? You can tell us when you’re free and we’ll find the work to suit your spare time!