The ABC’s to surviving a year of uni

Students have been back at uni for a month or so now. How do I know? More and more window sills are becoming symmetrically lined with classy student trophies, (aka spirit bottles), and buses are so full they’re comparable to actual tins of sardines. No matter how many lists, stories and top tips you read, nothing prepares you for a year of uni. I thought this was unique to freshers, turns out second year isn’t quite so straight forward either. But. For the sake of entertainment, read another list of wisdom – my abc’s to uni life.

a) album. take lots and lots of pictures. of everything. of your room. of your housemate dancing whilst they’re making coffee. of the empty library.

b) budget. get urself a good student bank account, with an overdraft but try sooo hard not to use it. with your student loan and any savings, work out exactly your weekly budget and, I know it’s hard but – stick to it.

c) cry. you will cry, it’s normal and healthy. don’t worry – it’s okay not to feel like you’re having fun 24/7. the whole uni thing is kind of a big deal.

d) dorms. make your room a haven. don’t associate it with work or stress, make sure where you sleep and relax is a place you can genuinely call home.

e) ethanol. the drinking culture at university can actually be insane. enjoy being a fresher and student, but remember why you’re actually at uni. if the people you’re with are ‘too cool for school’ and make you feel like your social life is the be all and end all – get. rid.

f) fun! with this said. oh my gosh have fun. You will have some of the best days of your life here. get involved and make memories!

g) gym. if you’re a regular, committed gym-goer (camera pans to my group of ‘gains’ obsessed mates), then by all means buy that gym membership! if not, the likelihood of you miraculously suddenly becoming one is unlikely (camera pans to the potato that I am). wait at least a month until you buy a gym membership

h) hustle. (not the club) . work work work. for a lot of courses 1st year doesn’t count. that doesn’t mean you should be aiming for 40%. aim for the stars!! be inspired by what you do. upper years, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s starting to count now (deep breaths)

i) isolation. uni can be isolating, and feeling alone is normal. you’re surrounded by people who are completely separate from your home life, and this can lead to feeling like nobody understands you and you have no one to turn to – especially if you’ve travelled a long way from home. keep in contact with friends and family and meet as many people as you can until you find ones that lift you up and support you (camera pans to squad)

j) job. it’s not uncommon to work alongside uni. If you don’t want the commitment of a part time job, you can easily earn a nice lil boost to your bank account by working for the uni or department on open days and similar other events! Keep an eye out for opportunities!

k) key ring. buy a recognizable and big key ring so that if you lose your keys you can shout “anyone seen my keys? They’re the ones with … on them” – annnd on nights out you can easily find them in your bag (or in my case on the dark floor of the club, lit up occasionally by neon lights)

L) Lets. there may be a MAD rush to secure your second year house/ next student house. don’t rush into a decision. within the first few months of freshers, you really don’t know anybody, and despite the rumours, don’t worry. the type of house available may change, but there will be houses available for you alll year.

m) mum + dad. phone them.

N) naps. a fantastic past-time/self care tip/way of life.

O) oops. you’ll make a lot of mistakes. it’s okay – as long as you learn from them. (cliche but true)

p) pastoral care. get it if you need it. if you find yourself overwhelmed by everything and struggling to cope. there’s no shame. and yes. you. the student who’s struggling but not quite enough for the staff to notice. you need it more than you think. go get it.

q) quarrels. you’re surrounded by new people all the time. Even in second year and beyond, you’ll meet and have to spend time with new people – but especially in first year flats, where nobody chooses to live with each other – arguments aren’t uncommon. try to be respectful to people and talk about problems sensibly (really easy to say, hard to do)  – and acknowledge everyone will probably feel homesick, stressed and short tempered at times. Just resolve as quickly as possible – it’s normally not worth the hassle.

s) sunsets. go and watch them. it really helps.

t) teaching. you’re paying for a degree, go to as many lectures as you can. I know. I KNOOW it can feel like an impossible task to attend the 9am. you’ll normally feel better if you go.

u) underwear. literally take so much underwear. take several weeks worth of it. you really don’t wanna wake up and realise that ALL of ur underwear needs to be washed.

v)  viruses. you will get freshers flu. except it. prepare for it. it’s disgusting. it’s pain. it’s inevitable. sorry

w) waffles. waffles topped with honey, banana and optional ice cream. when you’re feeling sad. waffles. when you’re feeling happy. waffles. when you want to treat yourself to a nice breakfast on Sunday morning. waffles.

x) x-cited. be excited. be really really excited about this amazing opportunity to grow and learn and experience new things.

y) you. it’s easy to lose yourself at uni. remember you, your values and your personality. don’t change for anyone.

z) zen. so anything that is your go-to thing when you feel sad. films, books, yoga mat, stress ball, a teddy bear. whatever it is, take it with you. it’s something that you will appreciate when you miss home or feel sad.

so there you have it. hope this is kinda useful and gd luck, especially all you FRESHEEERSS

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