As I’ve just finished first year, here are a list of things I wish I could advise myself in September.
1) Join a society
The biggest thing I regret is not joining a society and although I’ve made many great friends in my first year, wishing to be part of the sports team companionship as they drunkenly dominate student nights and missing out on the chance of saying ‘I’m a proud member of the coffee society’ is greater than the fear of not fitting in. So try out for the football team, regardless if you have two left feet, or join the school newspaper if you even have the slightest desire to free you inner author. Societies are the best place for you to find friends, interests and an excuse from all the reading you’ll be putting off. If you’re going on to second year like myself, there’s always next year!
2) Utilise freshers
If you’re in the UK, you have no excuse not to go out clubbing. I mean, what other country literally funds it’s students to have fun and get wild before university starts?
For me, the myth of making close friends during freshers and never seeing some of them again was reality. Regardless, this is the time to ease yourself into university, make some friends and have an excuse to go all out at a low cost. You don’t have to go to every single event (do take a break and nurse your hangovers), but if you’re not so much a clubber, do attend the society fairs or course parties even if it’s for an hour.
3) You’re not stuck with the first people you meet – you’ll meet people throughout
This seems like unspoken common sense, but some of my friends have ended up planning to live with people they think they click with at first, then realise later they’re not the best people to be with.
Also, you might not meet all of your best friends within the first month or make any close friends at all, but don’t let this discourage you! Your ever-changing seminar groups or nights out might lead you to some of the best people.
4) Looking for apartments in London
The most important information I received about this is that if you’re living in London and looking for an apartment, the best time to look for housing (if you’re starting in September) is around April-June. The turnover is quick and the competition is tough, but the good side of housing being secured later than you would in other cities is that you’ve got time to sort out who you want to live with.
5) Flatmates + kitchen
You will get into arguments over who has left their dishes by the sink for four days. You may rage about flatmates taking your food or using your stuff. You might even have weekly kitchen inspections, in which you either become the kitchen dictator, the flat rat, or a ghost witnessing the armageddon happening in the group chat.
You’ll realise people’s definition of clean is the polar opposite of yours. Just don’t take things without asking and for God’s sake, clean up after yourself. (Yup. I turn into Hela when I can’t cook because the stove is covered in oil and can will set the kitchen on fire.)
6) You’ll forget names, faces, see people on your course you’ve never seen before
It’s okay. There’s more people on your course than there were in your school.
7) Call tutors by their first name
You should be old enough not to call them Mum or Dad by accident.
8) Take pics
If you love being sentimental or just remembering what you did, take pictures!
Want to remember every single day? There’s an app called ‘Day One Journal’ where you take one second videos that will be collated every week or month.
If like me student finance barely covers your rent, you need to budget. Make a list for your groceries, or if you really want to get your budget set, do your groceries online and see how much everything would cost.
If you live in London, factor in your travel costs, nights out and whether or not getting a mayo chicken instead of a McChicken sandwich would impact you a lot (because it can be two bus rides).
10) Contact your family at least once a week
So you’ve moved out, and you’re considered (kind of but not quite) an adult now. Adults still miss their parents, and your parents miss you too. Also, it’s a great way to get your mum to transfer you money.