If you’re preparing to go to university (or panicking now that you’re already there), it’s time for some real advice. Sure, you’ve had loads of adults telling you what to do, and by now, you’re probably pretty eager to start learning how to be an adult your own way.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to know a few tips and hints as you embark on this incredible new journey.
Below, we found some of the best advice and top tips for first year university students. Maybe these tips will help you avoid some of the worst mistakes of others, while helping you discover a little bit more about yourself.
Keep making friends
Make as many friends as possible, and keep making them all year round. Sure, it is intimidating going up to someone new and just talking, but they’re in the same boat you are. And you have one thing in common already: you’re at the same university. You know why you’re there; ask them why they came.
If you need a bit more than that, join clubs and societies. That way, you are given things to talk about, things that already interest you – and your new friends.
Use the notes
Lecturers give you notes for a reason. Get them printed out the day before you lecture, so you have them in front of you. That way, you don’t have to try to write down every word the lecturer says. Instead, you can focus on the things he or she highlight as important, or the things you find interesting or confusing to talk about with tutors later.
Use the tutors
Don’t be afraid to approach your tutors to ask for more help, get feedback on your work or learn more about a certain part of the course. The tutors are there to help you, even if sometimes they seem too busy. They will make the time to help if you need it. And don’t be afraid to bring up problems that may affect your ability to complete your coursework. Your tutors will be your first port of call if you are struggling, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting you need some extra help.
Learn to budget
Budgeting is just simple sums. Figure out how much you’re likely to spend each month on housing, bills, food, drinks and fun stuff, then subtract that from the money you get each month. If you come up with a negative number, find a job with higher wages or find another (non-pay day loan) way to increase your income. Or figure out what you can cut back on. With tuition fees as they are, you’re likely to get in enough debt anyway. Don’t add to your debt just because you can’t be bothered to figure out what’s affordable for you.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Don’t leave your coursework to the last minute. This, along with ‘don’t drink too much’ is probably the most ignored, yet most useful, piece of advice university students get. But it’s a classic for a reason. The odd all-nighter might seem like an important part of the uni experience, but in truth, you just exhaust yourself so that you can turn in work that isn’t your highest standard. It’s not worth it, if you can avoid it at all.
But if you are going to ignore this advice in general, please remember this: do your referencing as you go along. Otherwise, you will be spending precious time trying to find some tiny quote in a giant book at 2am, instead of cleaning up your essay’s argument.
On that note, we’ll leave you to start navigating this world on your own. Try to be sensible. But not so sensible that you don’t have good stories when you’re older. Good luck!