22 August 2015

A Guide to Starting University | Tips and Advice


It's about that time of the year where people find out what University they are going to and the move to a different city becomes real. Firstly, don't be disheartened if you didn't get your first choice of University or had to go through clearing; you are going to love your University experience anyway. I thought I would give a few tips for prospective students before starting and for during your first year.



  • Enjoy Freshers week. Ah Freshers week. Looking back at first year I honestly don't know how I did it, but I went out six or seven nights in a row. I am such a grandma now and can't even manage two. Freshers week is so much fun and is honestly a great wait to get to know your new flatmates. My advice for freshers nights out is to check out what other freshers are doing. Maybe knock on a few of your next door neighbours doors and see where other flats in your block are intending to go. Don't be shy because they are probably wondering the same thing! We made the mistake of going somewhere where absolutely NO freshers were as they were all at the Union. This place is actually now one of my favourite places to go out but for the majority of first year I was insistent that I hated it because I had such a bad night! Aside from all the partying, Freshers week is the ideal time to throw yourself into University life. Find out when things like activity fairs are and see if anything interests you - I didn't join any societies in first year and it is my biggest regret. There is such a wide range of societies you can join, there is actually a Dobby's Soc at my Uni which I was sooo tempted to join haha. Oh, you can also play Quidditch loads of places too.
  • Skype is your best friend. During Freshers week, or maybe after it when the excitement dies down you are bound to feel homesick. This is COMPLETELY normal and your flatmates and classmates are likely to experience it too. We are so lucky to have things like Skype and Facetime so we can easily talk to our friends and family whenever we want, so make use of this! I phoned my mum so much in the first few weeks and I remember my flatmate phoning her mum asking how long she cooked her pasta at home because she wanted it to be exactly the same. I will say though it probably isn't the best idea to Skype/Facetime/call/text your home friends and family ALL the time because then you can shut yourself away from the new experiences you are supposed to be enjoying. Make sure you get the balance right, do lots of stuff with your new flatmates and friends but also keep in contact with your old ones.
  • Make your room homely! I absolutely love homeware items so this was a must for me. University rooms all look pretty much the same and quite bare and making it look a bit more homely made me feel so much more at home. I just bought a few cheap bits from Primark such as cushions, throws, photo frames to make my room cosy. I also printed off heaps of photos of all my memories from home and put them all over my room. I also had a Van Gogh posted I loved above my bed but I remember it kept falling on top of me in the middle of the night and scaring me!!
  • Work hard, but not too hard. So when Freshers is over you actually have to go to lectures and do work and stuff, what!? This is not what I signed up for after A-levels. I wanted to have fun! First year is all about finding your feet. It's important to obviously do your work and meet deadlines but for my degree my first year didn't actually count towards my final degree grade. It was still required that I passed everything, but I think they do this so you can get used to new things like referencing, the grading system and the amount of independent study. So although you have to actually do your work and put effort into it, you still have to have a good time! Everyone says to first years make the most of it! You still can go out a stupid amount of times in a week and enjoy yourself if you balance it right. When it comes it final year which I am about to start in September, you spend most days in the library and crying about how you can't do it (or so I have been told). So do your work, but ultimately ENJOY your year!
  • If you can, do a year abroad. So as I study languages, a year abroad was a requirement for me. However so many courses offer the option to do a year or semester abroad and I would say definitely take the opportunity. I don't think I would have opted to do one if I didn't have to because I'm that sort of person who doesn't really take massive opportunities like that, so I am honestly so thankful and happy that I had to do it. It was such an amazing experience and I have the best memories and met the most incredible people. I got to teach little cute Spanish children and live in a great city that also had a beach. (Going back to University is going to be so hard). I won't lie and say that I loved it all the time, there were times, especially around Christmas (the run up to Christmas in Spain was NOT acceptable) when I just wanted to go home and not come back. I also sometimes didn't like working in a school and being away from my boyfriend was really hard. Now that I have finished it though I cannot believe how fast it went and I really miss the Spanish lifestyle. I got to improve my language skills and grow as a person. So if you can do a year abroad, or even a semester, I recommend it!
  • How to deal with flatmates. In first year you just get thrown with a bunch of people you have never met before and have to live with them. Whilst this can be great in some senses it also means you can live with people you don't get along with, people who are messy or people who are very loud. I was lucky that the people I lived with were all lovely, even if they could be messy! You just have to remember that you are a student and it is first year. If the kitchen is STUPIDLY messy or your flatmates play music really loud before you have an exam or a 9am lecture you have a right to say something - you live there too! Just remember, you don't have to live with them next year, so for the time being just rant to your friends - it'll help.
  • Part-time job? I didn't get a job in my first year because I wanted to settle into my new life without having a job. However, some people will need or job or some people will just really want one. Having a part-time job whilst a University can look really good as it shows you can balance your studies with working. I am pretty lucky and it my second year I got a job at the Students Union and it is honestly ideal. As it's a job with the Union they have to take into consideration exams and stuff so I can book off a few weeks when I have to revise or have exams. I can also swap/give away shifts easily or pick up more hours if I need to. If your Students Union has jobs I really recommend applying for one. If you don't fancy that and want to work in retail or something just make sure that they know you are a University student and that you are happy working whilst you have revision etc.
  • Money. When you get your first student loan it is possible that it will be the most amount of money you have ever had in your bank account. It can be so tempting to go on a massive spending splurge and live like a Queen/King for a few weeks. However living this way will make your money go incredibly fast and until your next loan installment you will be living on 10p noodles! Make sure you BUDGET. This sounds boring but if you set yourself a certain amount to spend each week your money will last. I'm still guilty of sometimes going shopping and spending more than I should every once in awhile, but you have to treat yourself sometimes!

    University has been one of my best experiences so far. It isn't for everyone - some people drop out and that is fine, you have to do what makes you happy. I am so excited to be returning back for my final year (I will regret saying that soon I am sure haha), and I cannot believe that three years of my University life have already gone and I only have one year left! So my main advice is to make the most of it and to throw yourself into University life as much as you possibly can!

    Wow, that was a long post! I hope this helps some people!
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15 comments

  1. Read this post through and through and enjoyed it so much! Such great tips, Katie! Uni life has been amazing in own experience but it's so nice to get some guidance on it especially if a person is a bit nervous :) Extremely well written good-quality post, girlie!
    xox Nadia
    http://mielandmint.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so much! Uni life is so much fun, but people are bound to be nervous!! xxxx

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  2. Ahhhh I'm going to uni either this year or next (depending on whether I can get accommodation) and I'm really nervous. I'm quite a shy person so the idea of being thrown into a group of strangers literally makes me want to cry!!

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    1. Exciting! It's completely normal to be nervous, I was too! I'm shy with new people as well, but the good thing is is that everyone is in the same boat so everyone makes the effort. You have nothing to worry about, I'm sure you will have a great time!!! <3 xxxx

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  3. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, these are really helpful as I'm starting university this autumn! :)
    Urban Obsessions // Vegan Food, Beauty & Lifestyle

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  4. Thanks so much for a sweet comment you left on my blog, gilrie ;)
    xox
    Nadia
    http://mielandmint.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. Great tips for someone starting university in 4 weeks.
    Alicia :)
    http://bambidreaming.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them! So exciting, enjoy it! :) xxx

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  6. All of this advice is so on point. Just finished uni myself and I agree completely with everything you've mentioned.

    ♡ Emily from Trendpill x

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  7. i'm planning to start uni next year and i'm excited but also really nervous, i feel like it's such a big jump from high school but these tips are so helpful, thanks for sharing! xx

    http://lovejordanashley.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. You're welcome! It is so exciting and I am sure you will have such a great time!! xxx

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  8. My friend started uni last year, it was so hard, Skype is our bestie also! Xx

    sophiejc.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It can be hard! :( Thank goodness for technology!! xxx

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