As I am going into my third year of university, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on what I wish I’d known before I headed off. I hope it can help you prepare to go to university and just give you a sense of knowing what you’re getting into.
You’ll meet a lot of people, don’t feel pressure to attach yourself to the first people you meet – There is so much going on in freshers that you can get caught up in meeting so many different people. Remember the first person you meet may not be the person you will form a friendship with and live with in second year. That’s not to say you won’t ever speak to them again but just see what happens. Find those people that things just click into place with and you can see yourselves being friends with for the rest of your life.
Uni culture is very much tailored to those who drink but you can definitely have fun if you don’t– I’m sure you’ve heard by now that university culture is very much centred around alcohol and clubbing (It will be interesting to see what happens with this now that clubs cannot open). This is great for people who love a night out but for those who don’t there is hope. I never really thought about it as I am someone who does drink and go on these nights out but you will definitely still find people if you don’t. I know people who would just stay home when their friends went out or would go out sober but there were also those who surrounded themselves with people who didn’t drink like them. If this is something you are a bit worried about, don’t, there are so many ways to find people without drinking.
You get out what you put in – I’ll admit in first year I never really liked to contribute to lectures and seminars in first year. It seemed daunting and I wasn’t confident enough so I’d only very occasionally put my hand up. However, in second year I really got into discussions and I’m so glad I did, I really do believe the more you put into these sessions the more you will get out of them. Get in touch with lecturers if you have issues and questions, that’s what they are there for. Remember at the end of the day you want to do well in your degree, you might as well get the most out of the resources you have.
Be sure you want to live with the people you sign for a house with in second year– Now I was very happy with the people I moved into my house with in second year but it is a big step. You go from seeing these people around to being constantly on top of each other. It can be such an exciting idea to get a massive house with all your friends but just remember you have to live with these people for the next year. Be careful, you don’t want things to become awkward or like you don’t belong in your won home. Also be wary about where you live, we had such a nice house but it was so far away from the university, this year we’ve moved to somewhere a lot closer. Just think what you want from a house and be sure to ask questions when you go for viewings.
It may not be the perfect place you expect it to be, you’ll have ups and downs – I love university but going into it there are many unrealistic expectations. Teen movies tend to glamourise university/college to the extreme and it’s not necessarily always this amazing place. Things will take time, you probably won’t meet the love of your life as soon as you walk through the door, you most likely won’t get full marks on your first assignment, the first thing you try might not be your focus for the rest of the year. Don’t feel like you’ve failed the university experience because things don’t all fall into place in your first week. You have at least three years of uni and the rest of your life ahead of you.