Freshers tips 101
Its mid September, which can only mean one thing...time to go to uni! Starting uni or going back can be a stressful time (especially for newbies). I am heading back to university to start postgraduate study a week today and even after 3 years at uni, I am terrified about going back.
Today's post is to give you all some useful tips to help you on your journey in university, being there for 3 years I am here to give an honest post about what it is really like...
My freshers experience
My first week I can remember was super scary but exciting. I moved in on the weekend, my parents came to help me. It was the first time I had been away from home so I was nervous about how I would cope without my mum's help. Moving in was stressful but great, I am grateful mum was there to help me. She helped make the room feel like home and get everything organised, it made the process a lot easier on me.
These are pictures of my first day there. I took a lot of stuff! It is surprising how much you need. I was also lucky because unknowingly until I got there I had landed the biggest room on my floor. After my parents left and I settled in for the night it was scary, I didn't know anyone. I went to make food and there were a few people in the kitchen already. We all soon got along very well, we weren't befriends but we got on and all liked each other.
I went out that night to the Student Union bar and met some other people around campus, this help put my nerves at ease and helped me to settle in.
The first week- I found my reading list and got what books I could before I moved in. I organised them and all my files into modules and colour coded them. This helped me stay organised.
On my induction day I was really nervous about meeting my tutors and my fellow course people. Having learning difficulties too I felt different and was worried about what they would think about the support I had with me in classes. To this day the one thing I wish I told myself is I shouldn't worry. I was so worried about being judged for it but everyone was so relaxed about it and my some of my course mates who soon became my closet friends were so supportive and helped me if I got stuck. My tutors were also very support and provided the help I needed, I was very lucky.
My advice- Before I move on to the 101 tips guide I would like to give some advice to anyone reading this, who is going to university and is nervous.
Just remember when you get there, your flatmates/housemates/course mates/ other people around campus, you are all in the same boat. You are all bound to be nervous and excited but its only normal! Help others and accept help. Be open minded.
Here is my ultimate guide to starting university or even if you are returning, this guide will help you with your university experience.
Living in halls
Unpack- First thing to do when you get to your new halls, unpack and make your bed. It will make it feel like your own personal space and by making your bed, if you go out and come back late you can just crawl into bed.
Food- If you have time try meal prepping. It will save a lot of time and helps if you have a long day studying. Check out this blog to find out how to meal prep. I did some meal prep and some of you can even freeze! All you have to do is get it out at the start of the day to defrost it then warm it through in the evening. I usually do some lasagna, casserole and soup.
If you don't have time to meal prep, try to eat a solid 3 meals a day, veg included. don't just survive off pasta or takeaway.
Health- You made of heard of 'freshers flu' . Let me tell you this, it is true and it unavoidable to most people. I had it. In your room keep a stash of cold and flu medicine, tissues and anything else you use when your ill, you will most likely need it. Also keep some headache relief with you too, it is always handy to have.
By this I mean, having separate folders for each module/class and file dividers to separate notes and assignment work.
Colour code- Colour code your modules/classes, that way if u do misplace notes in your room it has a colour and you know which module/class its for.
Stationary- Get stocked up on stationary, it is surprising how many highlighters,paper and pens you will go through.
Coursebooks- Most courses will give you essential or recommended reading list. Before you you jump on amazon to buy them, firstly google them and add 'pdf' at the end of your search. I found this tip recently and it has saved me so much money! Not all books might come that lucky but it will help. ALSO buy 2nd handbooks if you can, not only is it cheaper, sometimes there are notes in the books from other students which can come helpful.
Library- If like me you find one or two of your books has a price you cannot afford, check the university library. Most will have a copy of a book. Saving your bank account.
Microsoft office- I found this literally yesterday and I couldn't believe it but its true. Before you buy Microsoft office, students can get a version of it FOR FREE! As you have to go is go to this link, type in your academic email address and you can either work online or download it.
Timetable- When you get your timetable, create your own template of it and colour code classes/modules. Stick it on your wall or on your desk.
Tutors- Tutors in university are a lot more relaxed than school teachers, they give you respect as long as you respect them and they are very helpful. Build a good professional relationship with them and don't be afraid to ask for help if you are stuck.
Plan- Plan around your classes. Make time for any study groups, extra curricular stuff or just time for you to relax!
Family and friends
Family- One of the biggest things I can stress here. CALL HOME. Let your family know you are okay! They might call you lots and it may seem annoying. Think of it from their perspective. You have left home and are on this new adventure, they don't see you everyday now. Their baby (as my mother refers to me) has left and they might feel upset by this, it is an adjustment for them too.
Friends- Two points here. firstly, don't forget your friends you had before you came to uni. You might be out with your new group of friends now but don't forget those who are your best friends or you feel close to. Keep in contact with them!
Secondly- Don't be afraid to make new friends. Yes, it is scary but again you are all in the same boat. They can be on the same course as you or on a totally different course. In my first year my closet friends were 2 girls from my course, another from an art program and a guy from a sports program. Join clubs and societies if you can fit it in to your schedule, this a great way to make friends.
The final point I would like to make is about your expectations for university. Many have their own assumptions of how life at uni will be. I hate to be the one to burst the bulb but here is the reality of it...
1) You need to budget. You may have student loans that look like you are fine for money and you can spend all of it in one go but in reality, that money has to last you till your next loan/grant comes in. Be wise with what you spend and keep an emergency fund on hand. That money make look like a large amount, but it will soon run out if you aren't cautious with your spending.
2) Late nights/ Parties- I am not trying to discourage this in anyway, all I will say is if you are at a party or out late be mindful of time if you have an early start the next morning. Missing one lecture could cost a lot in the final exam.
3) Take breaks- You might be like and work your butt off studying with anytime you may have but it could come at a cost. Take it from someone who burns themselves out. Make sure you take breaks when studying. Do not burn yourself out.