I am returning to university in a couple of weeks to begin my final year. I feel very settled in my university life, I completely adore it but I still remember the excitement and nerves of going to university for the first time. This got me thinking about things I wish I knew at the start of university.
SAME BOAT: Most of the time, you move away from your family home to a new place with new people. It’s all very exciting and can be overwhelming so it’s important to remember everyone is in the same boat! Most people are in a new place, with new people and are looking to settle in and make new friends. You are not alone!
CALLING IT YOUR HOME: If you are moving into a halls of residence like I did you may want to think about how you are going to make your home for the next 9-10 months just that, a home. Often halls of residence are dull and not very inviting. However this gives you the perfect blank canvas to make it into your own little space. After all, at the end of a hard day in lectures and seminars you want to come back to a homely room to unwind. I covered my room in fairylights, cushions and also photos of family and friends which I looked forward to coming home to each day.
HOME SICKNESS IS NORMAL: Moving away from home for the first time can be tough and often you can feel home sick. I know I did and at the time I thought it was never going to get better. However, give it time and try to distract yourself by enjoying your time with new friends, seeing the city and of course that all important work. Like I mentioned in the first point, everyone’s in the same boat! Chat to your friends about how you feel as it just may happen they feel the same and you can pick each other up!
IT ISN’T THAT BAD: As we start university we are used to the grading in A-Levels. I wasn’t told until my first batch of results that the grading at university is completely different. We know there are firsts, 2:1’s, 2:2’s and so on however how that works out in terms of percentage and what is seen as a ‘good’ mark was completely hidden from me. So I thought I would tell you, if you get around 55/60 plus in your first year, you are doing very well… don’t panic like I did.
STUDENT LOAN DAY: This is the day every student looks forward to. Suddenly you have all this money and can go crazy down the aisle? Woah, hold on. Student loan day doesn’t mean shopping spree day. You actually do need to pay your rent and buy food and books. Budgeting is the key to a successful year financially – something, I admit, I’m still struggling with. That Autumnal candle or new-in handbag can wait!
IT WILL FLY BY: This is the cheesy one so brace yourself! I am coming into my third year at university. I love Cardiff, my friends and the life I’ve built there. Over this summer it has hit me that I only have one year left! I can clearly remember my first day as I arrived at my halls, walking into my first lecture and the day I met my closest friends. This all seems like it was five minutes ago. University flies by so what I’m saying is make the most; however obvious and cheesy that sounds.
Best of luck for your first year at university! You’ll have the time of your life!