September has started and I know many of you will either be starting university or going back to university. Starting university can be very daunting, so I have come up with some tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident. Make sure that you remember to enrol so that you get student finance and are actually able to attend your course.
- Stick to a budget.
I have found that working out how much money I will have left over after rent and then dividing it by the amount of weeks in the semester allows me to calculate how much money I will be able to spend each week.
Student discounts are a blessing and you can get one in most places, so make sure you remember to ask before making a purchase. If you do run out of money, then don’t stress too much as the support centre at your university will be able to help you out. It’s also worth mentioning that most universities offer scholarships, so check out if you are entitled before you begin.
- Join a society
Societies are a brilliant way of meeting new people and making friends. Every university will have a wide variety of societies, ranging from Disney to stage combat. Societies usually have weekly meetings and monthly socials where you will be able to meet people with similar interests and maybe even make lifelong friends.
- Reading lists
Reading lists are given to you for a reason, and they are so important. Doing pre-reading will help you be more prepared for your lectures and seminars as well as giving you a broader understanding before you start your assignments. Not doing the pre-reading may cause you to fall behind and struggle to fully understand what you are being taught. However, if you miss a reading, don’t worry too much as you will have plenty of time to catch up. As Dr Seuss once said “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether you are feeling homesick or struggling to keep up with the work, ALWAYS ask for help. Your tutors are there to listen to any struggles that you may have as well as the university support centre. Chances are, someone else will have the same problem as you so asking for help may benefit others as well.
- Be yourself and make yourself heard
University can be a tough place so be yourself and make your ideas heard. If you’re a naturally reserved person then push yourself to speak up in seminars and group meetings. Set yourself a challenge each week to push yourself and become more confident when talking in front of others. This also comes in handy when you have to do presentations.
- The library is your best friend
Towards the end of the semester, the university library will be open 24/7. The library will have all resources that you will need to write essays, from books to journals. Make the most of the resources as it will improve your assignments and get you better grades.
- Attend as much as you can
I know it can be tempting to stay in bed for an extra hour instead of attending a 9am lecture, but you have lectures for a reason. Make the most of lectures/seminars/workshops as university is all about learning new things that will prepare you for the workplace. Also, some courses allow your attendance to affect your overall grade, e.g. your attendance could be worth 10% of your grade. So if you are only attending 50% of your lectures then you will be missing out on 5% of your grade.
- Cooking can be fun and cheap
Finding recipes on Google is free and easy. Supermarkets often have their own brands that are much cheaper and it doesn’t taste much different. Buying fresh fruit and vegetables from a local market is also a cheap alternative to buying fresh from a supermarket and it supports the local community.
- Don’t leave everything to the last minute
Starting assignments early will make your life a lot easier. Even if it’s just reading books in advance or researching your assignment, it will all help and benefit you in the end. You will also be a lot less stressed and have more time to spend doing things that you enjoy. I know from experience that starting assignments earlier has allowed me to make minor changes and improve my assignment before submitting it. Reading that extra book could be the difference between a 2:2 and a 2:1.
- Have fun and enjoy yourself!
University is all about experimenting and finding yourself in the world. Try new things, make decisions and figure out which direction you want your life to take. Go to parties, drink too much, make friends and work hard.