I began my journey to University around 8 years ago (that is a long time now). I began my degree in 2013 and graduated in 2016, to which I then went on to complete my Masters in 2018 and completed that in 2019. Therefore, I would like to say that I have built up some top tips you should know as a University student.
I do want to mention though that every University is different and everyone’s experiences things in different ways, but I would have liked to have done more research and been more prepared when I went. I hope some if not all of these tips can help you in some way for when you take your first steps as a University student.
Get to know your flat/house mates before
The first of my top tips you should know as a University student is to know who you live with. Something that I did not actually do that I wish I did (don’t know what rock I was living under, but social media to me back then I had no clue, and I didn’t have Instagram) was to join groups to talk to those in the same halls as me.
I definitely recommend doing this. I know the girl I lived with and my other flatmates messaged each other beforehand and I think it helps ease those nerves and anxiety if you have an idea of who you are living with.
Research the area
If you are like me and chose a University away from home then I would recommend doing some research, even better if you can take a trip and explore the area beforehand. It helps for you to be able to know what is local to you. It could be you want to be near the nightlife or you might just want to know where you can do your weekly shop.
I know it took a few weeks for me to find everything that I need too, however I was lucky that the halls I was living in was right in the middle of where I was having my lectures, all the night clubs, the library and of course town for all the shops/food.
Volunteer or Take on Summer Projects
Something else I would recommend (unless you decide to have a job) is to volunteer your time or assist with any projects that your University might offer. For example, as I studied Psychology there were opportunities for me to be a research assistant. This meant I assisted my professors in their work, but actually it taught me a lot and helped me develop confidence and more skills.
Time at University goes extremely quickly so make the most to utilise the time you do have and build your CV and skills. This will honestly benefit you in the long term.
One of best things I ever did at University, and is top of my tips you should know as a University student was to join clubs. At Fresher’s Fayre (which I am sure all Universities have) you can walk around and see the variety of clubs your University has to offer. It can range from book clubs, variety of sport clubs and even clubs you didn’t even know were a thing.
Whilst I studied at University I joined the Snow sports society (for skiing and snowboarding) and athletics society. Both of these I met some amazing people and it is just a great way for you to be sociable and make friends who all have the same interest as you.
So join clubs and even join those clubs that you have been interested in but have never tried because University is the perfect time for you to find hobbies that you love doing.
Only Pack the Essentials
Trust me when I say that you do not need the whole contents of your current room, and also you don’t need so much cooking appliances. Of course if you are speaking to your flatmates beforehand then maybe you can sort out who can bring what so that you don’t have double of things you could share (such as a kettle, toaster, frying pans).
Also remember that you will have longer holidays throughout Christmas, Easter and over the summer so if there is anything you need then you can get it from home. Therefore, do not over pack! Something I used was some online resources that my University offered (like a checklist) so I could see what I would need.
You don’t need to do the required reading
This is part of my tips you should know as a University student because I don’t think it is essential. If like me you didn’t have the finances to be spending £50 on one book then definitely wait until you begin University and use the library or even use google! However, naturally I enjoy reading about current research and watching psychology programmes/documentaries (learning is cool ok), and I think you can do just fine without the required reading.
Of course if you want to make a head start or look into the reading then that is ok too. I am just letting you know that it is not the be all and end all.
Learn how to Budget
If there is anything I took from University it is that money gets tight (unless you get a job, which in hindsight probably would have helped). However, with the right tips you should know as a University student then you will be able to pass through University without no money worries.
One thing I will say is if you can then definitely pay your rent all in one go as soon as you get your loan. This is because once that is paid at the beginning of the term then you don’t have to think about it again until the start of the next term. Once that is sorted then you can budget the rest of your finances for bills, food and having a social life.
Ensure you Know What is needed to Register
What I mean by this is once you have that confirmation of your place then you will need to enrol. This could be online or in person but make sure you know what to do and you have everything that you need.
This is similar if you are in halls or flat accommodation provided by the University, and you will need some ID and maybe other information before you can get your key. I would say in the tips you should know as a University student that this is important.
Go to a Social Event
It may be scary and you may feel anxious but the best way to make friends is to go to social events. In saying this NEVER do anything you are not comfortable in doing, and know that social events do not have to be clubbing or drinking. But do ensure you make the effort to build your confidence and socialise with others!
Print off Your Lecture Schedule
University is completely different to being at school, so tips you should know as a University student include knowing your schedule.
It is important you know what lectures you have, the timings and where these lectures will take place. I know when you initially begin professors tend to be more understanding if students are late because it might be your first time in the area. However, it still helps to print off your schedule and look where you need to go.
There you have it my top tips you should know as a University student! If you are heading to University for the first time this year then good luck and just have the most amazing fun and time. Also I hope some of these tips help!
Do you have any tips from your own University experience for others? Are you going to University this year?
Thanks for reading,
Gemma Jayne x