Thursday, 29 August 2019

Fresher Advice - Holly's Declassified Uni Survival Guide

Welcome to the second post in my back to uni series, 'Holly's Declassified Uni Survival Guide'. In a University full of freshers flu, last-minute assignments and the occasional hangover, Holly Smith, that's me, and well it's just me, try to do the impossible, create a guide that will help you survive university.  
(Writing that gave me major nostalgia over my childhood- what a programme!!) 

Anyway, I will try keep my usual waffle to a minimum and jump straight into the post. Today's post is all about freshers advice and things I wish I had known going into first year. University is just a roller coaster and first year can be a huge adjustment so I am here to impart some wisdom and hopefully make things as easy as possible for you, from friends to adulting. Let's get to it!

1. Don't just stick to the first people you meet.
Those first few days can be pretty overwhelming and it is so easy to cling to the first people you meet, typically your flat mate. Now while you may end up having the best flat mates ever, I think it is important to make sure you're not limiting yourself to such a small circle. Meet as many people as you can and eventually you will find your tribe. Hopefully you'll end up with a wide group of friends for all those different parts of your life. 

2. Be the plan instigator.
It is all too easy to sit there and hope somebody asks you to hang out, but I totally recommend being proactive about it. If you meet someone you click with, try arrange a plan. This is how real friendships are formed and especially during those first few weeks, keeping busy is ideal, so even if it is a little intimidating, give it a go! You could go for coffee, attend a uni event (there will be loads going on) or even just have a little movie night.

3. Don't buy everything on your reading list.
I know this can be very course dependent but typically, you don't read everything on the reading list, especially if it involves suggested wider reading. My advice is to wait until first week where they usually say if you must buy any specific text book. Also, your uni library will likely have any books you need so be sure to check that out.

4. Actually attend your lectures & seminars.
The cold hard truth is that you will very likely miss at least one, wether that be from illness or prioritising plans, but try not to miss them. Surprisingly it is a lot easier to learn the material (and do well in your exams/ assignments) when you've actually attended. Once you miss one it becomes a lot easier to miss another, and another, so unless you really can't attend (always put your health first of course) then try to turn up.

5. Get independant. 
Going to university is a big change for most people as you find yourself with this new found independance. That being said, it can sometimes feel a little intimating to try and actually be your own person and do things on your own. My advice is to really push yourself to do things on your own. Found a society you'd love to try but none of your friends are interested? Go along for a taster. Want to explore the campus? Go and find your favourite spot. All the socialising is great (it really is) but this is the time to focus on you, so make sure you do!

6. Get involved.
I can say from experience that the times I have enjoyed uni the most is when I get involved. This can mean so many different things and it is all about finding what you want to do. From volunteering to societies to attending an event, there are so many ways to immerse yourself in the university experience (besides partying - although that bit is good fun too) and for me it made a huge difference in my happiness. I recommend doing a little research, attend your freshers fair and find out how you can get involved because it can make your uni experience so much fun!

7. Stay safe (please!).
Not to sound like the mother that I am, but nothing is worth the expense of your safety. This applies to everything really but I included it here but I think it is particularly important during freshers week. For alot of people going to university provides a whole new level of responsibility and it is easy to go crazy with it. If you're drinking, just be aware of your limits and if you experiment with any other things/ substances, just please be as safe as you can. I   have seen people find themselves in not very nice situations, often alone (because you haven't made those friendships yet and some people just are not good people) so take it easy, look after yourself and others and remember you've got a whole year to enjoy. Safety first kids!

8. Register with the medical centre.
Just one more point from mother Holly - register with your uni/ closest medical centre. You might never have to use them (hopefully you won't!) or you might fracture your foot within a month, develop severe migraines and get sent to urgent care with a bad case of the flu (I guess you could say I am a little accident prone). Either way, knowing it's there for you is a relief in those times of need. Plus, it will make your parents happy- just sign up, it takes five minutes. Alright, think that is all my parenting for today.

9. Be realistic and take things for what they are.
My final peice of advice is one of the most important onces. I have seen so many people go into university expecting it to be the best thing of their entrie lives. Then, things don't go as they hoped and it totally ruins their experience. Now often there are more things at play but I am so thankful I was given this advice before I went to uni because it helped me so much. I went into my first year so excited for my course and the experience but I also new it would be difficult at times and people might not always be nice and it might take a while to find your friends and you might hate some days and THAT IS SO OK! Just because things are not perfect, doesn't mean they are not great. Enjoy it all and have your hopes and dreams and things that you want from uni, but just know that its ok if things don't go to plan. Embrace it all and enjoy what you have. Be sure of yourself and don't change for other people. It might be the best, worst and most amazing years if you allow it to be, or maybe it won't. Either way that is totally fine. It is your experience and everybodies is different. Embrace it.

I feel like I go on for ages about all this but I think that covers the main points. Have you started University yet? If you have, would you add any advice to this? Let me know.

If you're about to embark upon the wild ride that is University, I am sending you all the love, hugs and confidence to tackle it face on, just know I have your back. Enjoy it! 


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