7 Things to Remember When Starting University

7 Things to Remember When Starting University

2nd September 2015   |   George Atkins

Going to university will probably serve as one of the most important events in your life to date. Many future students require some level of university advice about how to adjust to these new surroundings, with no parental supervision and usually grouped with a selection of strangers in uni halls. There are some important questions that need answering and myths that need dispelling; luckily, we at #CV are here to help! Here are our 7 things to remember for university.

Remember to pack the essentials
It’s almost inevitable that your recently-purchased IKEA crockery set and cutlery collection will get jumbled in with the rest of your flat’s kitchen itinerary the INSTANT you move in, but don’t let that put you off bringing lots of stuff regardless; you’ll need as much help as possible when adjusting to life at uni and it’s certainly better to bring too much than too little. Just don’t take any family heirlooms or anything equally expensive and breakable with you; something will probably get broken at some point during your first year, given the constant waves of students that will be breezing through your kitchen after a ‘big’ night on the town, sending kitchen appliances flying but if it’s a £10 kettle then it’s not the end of the world! However, if you are particularly worried about someone using your favourite spatula then it might be in your best interests to leave those items in your room or in a locked cupboard.

Budgeting sensibly is the key to happiness
Here is a particularly important piece of university advice for you; be sure to budget your money! Those of you who are not the most frugal spenders will quickly learn to appreciate money more than ever, given that without it first year will be a fairly miserable existence at uni, so BE CAREFUL. Socialising especially is quite unfriendly for your wallet/ purse, so be sure to set aside a certain amount for this period and try not to mix your leisure with your lifestyle when it comes to expenditure; it’s a mistake that students make every year! If you feel that money is going to be a real issue, try looking for part-time work and/ or in your student union job shop, both of which provide credible ways to earn a little extra cash to help you along whilst still allowing you adequate time for your studies and socialising. If you are looking for a part-time job at university, be sure to check out our Job Search feature and see if there’s anything suitable for you!

Embrace social media
Another vital piece of student advice is to set up at least one social account, even if you aren’t yet convinced of its virtues. It’s an incredibly tool at university and is one of the main avenues through which you can find out about upcoming events, meet fellow students, organised fresher’s week events, join societies and more. The sooner you utilise websites like Facebook the better, with a online community at your fingertips ready to offer up important university advice surrounding coursework, timetables, seminar locations and general degree-based information. It is regularly one of the ways that lecturers communicate with their students (via group pages for specific modules). Seriously, it is more than just an excuse for procrastination!

Don’t worry if you can’t cook
Some people are born natural chefs (which is annoying to the rest of us), but don’t worry if you lack basic culinary abilities; you will quickly discover what tastes alright and what doesn’t. A recurring piece of student advice is to use pasta, allowing you to cook a range of cheap meals easily, with almost endless variations, limited only by your imagination! Equally, you will become acquainted with your local supermarket’s ‘budget’ range, which when combined with some sensible buying strategies will enable you to do each weeks shop for a reasonably low price. Also try buying food which can be used for more than just one meal; items like onions, tomatoes and the aforementioned bags of pasta can be used in a variety of dishes, helping you cut down on food costs.

Try and join a society or undertake an extra-curricular pursuit
Meeting as many like-minded people as possible is recommended for the first year student and joining a society is a great way of making friends easily. Most of these societies will require a fee to gain membership but is a small price to pay if you are CERTAIN you want to be part of that community; take advantage of the freedom you have in fresher’s week and research your favourite choices. Alternatively, if there aren’t any societies that interest you, then start going to gigs, club nights and visit specialist stores (such as record stores, for example); you are bound to bump into other people who share your interests, giving you somewhere interesting to go outside of uni. Just be careful not to prioritise these activities over degree commitments and workloads; it’s all too easy to be drawn away from the library and straight to the society president’s toga party!

Don’t Buy a Libraries Worth of Literature
Always be sure to research your degree literature first, see which books will be the most useful and focus on buying those core texts. Certain referenced texts can be found online and more often than not only a few chapters/ references are used in lectures from each textbook, be aware of this when purchasing your reading list for each semester. If it is necessary to have access to a whole book for your degree, always see if you can borrow it from your department’s library first, but be sure to get enquire early in the year; these popular texts go fast!

Don’t worry about your flat mates/ living arrangements
You won’t be alone in feeling nervous about starting your degree and moving into uni accommodation, with everyone being as much a stranger to you as you will be to them. Remember, you’ll be living with this group of people for the next few months so be friendly to your neighbour and introduce yourself promptly at the beginning of fresher’s week! It’s always easier to develop community relations when nobody has met each other yet, so try and move in as soon as possible. On the topic of moving home, regardless of whether your residence is a state-of-the-art, minimalist studio flat or something that resembles a dilapidated 1960’s bungalow, you WILL inevitably form some sort of bond with your fellow co-inhabitants, with those residing in some of the grottier accommodation bonding closely, with community spirit and moral levels being more regularly maintained on a day-to-day basis (usually bonding over collective grief like mouldy shower curtains or broken radiators).

But above all else, remember to have fun! Network as much as possible in fresher’s week and go to as many social events as possible, that way you’ll quickly establish a strong group of friends. If you follow this university advice, your experience as a student will be an extremely happy one with a wealth of memories to take away along with your well-earned degree.

Tags:    Education

George Atkins Hashtag CV Creative Writer

George Atkins | Creative Writer @ Hashtag CV

George is a 22-year-old graduate from Cardiff University, having studied Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, where he wrote news articles and interest pieces for various student magazines. He currently lives just outside of Birmingham, playing records and DJing in his spare time.