Wednesday, 25 February 2015

University: Tips, Tricks and Tesco Value Vodka

At this time of year many sixth form students start to hear back from their universities of choice. Speaking from experience, this is a truly sucky portion of the year. You are either in a state of constant suspense or elation, depending on how far along in the process you are.

For me, I was in the former camp and I was deferring my university entry- not recommended unless you're sure you will get the grades for your chosen university. Having applied to 4 top universities (class case of uni-snob-disease) I was shattered when only one got back to me with an offer. To make matters worse, I received the news while I was travelling Australia solo!

This leads me neatly to tip number one:
1) DO NOT stress it!
You're either going to get in, or you're not. Sitting in your room eating Malteasers and quietly rocking back and forth will not change anything. So, get on with your life until you get your responses. After that you can of course, PANIC!
Cue first embarrassing university photo to make you feel better.

Ok, so you've got in somewhere. First there's excitement...then there's the HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO MEET LOADS OF NEW PEOPLE AND OMG WHAT DO I WEAR AND WHAT IF I THROW UP ON MYSELF OR FALL INLOVE WITH MY HOUSEMATE ON THE FIRST NIGHT AND HOW THE HELL DO YOU CLEAN A TOILET?!?!?!?!?!?

Never fear! You're all in the same boat! And the likelihood is you're not going to be the shyest person there anyway! Just be friendly, say hello and be yourself.
I'm now in my 2nd year at uni and I live in a house with 1 girl that was in my flat in halls and one girl that was in the flat above! These people are going to be your companions throughout university but it doesn't mean you have to get on with all of them. I didn't click with most of the boys I lived with, but it didn't stop us having a good time and making other friendships that have withstood the stress of studying.
Which leads me to tip two:
2) DO make a big effort with your new flatmates, it will be reciprocated and pay off in the long run!

Freshers ball, again, looking very 'mortal'.

Once you're feeling cemented in your halls, it's time to knuckle down. But first year isn't as scary as they make it out to be! For most courses this is experiment time! Usually your freshers year does not count towards your degree so it's the perfect time to express some individuality, experiment in your work style and test out new revision and studying methods (not Netflix is not one of these).

Having said that, do not shoot yourself if you miss a few lectures. The social side of first year is very important and society nights out enable you to meet and network with people you will no doubt want to be around in the future. One of my closest friends at uni is a girl I met in the English Lit society and I've had some amazing times with her that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't stepped out into the university social scene.

So that bring us to tip:
3) DO NOT waste your first year! It's a time for experimentation, finding yourself and finding new friends!

My VERY FIRST night out at uni!

I'm going to end this post with the boring bit. Finances!
Everybody knows that uni is expensive and your loan covers your rent and a loaf of bread a week. I can not recommend summer jobs/Christmas jobs and temp jobs enough!
Having money saved up before I started uni meant that I could relax and enjoy myself more than I would have otherwise been able. I have a friend that went into her overdraft buying stuff for her uni room and hasn't gone into plus figures since! Don't be that kid!

To round up:
4) DO keep track of your finances and DO buy everything from Tesco Everyday Value (yes....even vodka...sigh)



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Maira Gall