Our guest blogger Briony shares her most unexpected experiences after starting university last September….
- You’ll never have enough spoons
No matter how many spoons you bring when you first arrive, you’ll soon realise it isn’t enough and they’ll keep disappearing. There are two sensible options here, either buy more or get into a routine of doing the washing up more often. However I’m pretty sure most students resort to just giving them a quick rinse and sticking them back in the draw as if clean. Anyway, a few germs can’t hurt, right?
- You won’t meet your best friends during freshers
The first week is definitely not the best time to make new friends. You might get lucky and meet some people in the lift who are equally as clueless as you and who you happen to stick with for the rest of the night, but that’s about as good as it gets. You’re also likely to be spending most of the day in bed so you’re probably not going to want to put the extra effort into socialising when you could be sleeping. Don’t worry though, during the next few weeks when you start your course and societies you’ll start to meet more people who you actually want to talk to for more than a few minutes.
- You don’t need to buy all the textbooks
Although this is something your lecturers will advise, it really isn’t necessary, especially since they’re so expensive and most of them are available online anyway. I made the mistake of buying all my books for my first semester and ended up only using a couple of chapters from each one. If I knew in advance I would only be using them this much I would’ve definitely just borrowed them from the library and saved on the £180.
- Don’t expect to be best friends with all your flatmates
Even though some people get on great with their flatmates and end up living with the same people throughout uni, it’s not unlikely that you’ll not get on or you’ll just end up with some antisocial people who’d rather stay in their room all day. In some ways this can actually be a benefit as you’ll be up for meeting more new people rather than just stick with your flatmates and do everything with them. You might also find that you have more in common with the new people anyway.
- Make connections!
Probably one of the most important things during the first couple of weeks is to make friends with some people on your course. Just by making conversation and being generally friendly in the first few lectures can get you some valuable friends. It’s always handy to have a couple of people you keep in regular contact with and even if you aren’t too keen on them, you won’t regret it when you need help or accidentally sleep in. Who knows, you might even become good friends.
- Expect to have to teach yourself
Your sixth form teachers were right when they said it won’t be like school anymore and you’ll soon realise that the subjects you studied at a-level haven’t prepared you enough to sail through like previously. When you come to revise for your first test, you’ll find out that you actually should have done the extra reading you’d been advised to do every week. You might also be surprised to find out that the job of being a lecturer seems to only involve reading off Powerpoint presentations and being able to talk too fast.
- You’ll need to cook
Being able to prepare at least three proper meals is one of the basics when you move to uni. Yes they may all be pasta based, but that’s better than nothing (and it’s cheap!). You’ll soon realise that Tesco value meals aren’t something you want to be eating on a regular basis, if at all. Just make sure you have big enough pans to cook a family meal all at once in and bring plenty of plastic tubs for freezing the leftover portions.
- Get used to sweatpants
Although they might not be your choice of style, you’ll certainly see enough of these things around campus, especially at the 9am’s. At first uni starts off similar to what school was, everyone seems to care just as much about their appearance as before. However after a couple of weeks, once the tiredness has kicked in and everyone’s found out the best clubs for each night of the week, sweatpants start popping up everywhere and it’s clear that people stop caring about what they wear to lectures. This means that as well as sweatpants, you’ll also be seeing a lot of leavers hoodies and even onesies. It’s best to prepare for this before you leave home.
- You need to make it to those lectures
As tempting as your bed is when you’re up to leave at the dreadful hour that is 9am, you should definitely go, or at least try. Suddenly being able to make it to 9am’s becomes a near impossibility at uni and you wonder how you were ever able to get up and leave at 8am for school (of course, going out mid-week doesn’t help). However, it is important that you make it to lectures, it’s much harder to catch up afterwards (if you ever do) and it’s probably best to try and get yourself into a routine so that the days you have to get up “early” aren’t so hard.
10. Always take advantage of free food
During freshers there’s likely to be loads of companies offering really cheap, or sometimes free food to try and get your attention. You’re also going to be bombarded with freebies including coupons and deals. This is great, take full advantage of these and get all the freebies you can. There’ll be events throughout the year where free food is given out, so even if there’s a housing fair and you’re already sorted for next year, just pretend to be interested and you might get a free pizza. Although you may come to regret this a few days later after forgetting you subscribed to the Greggs newsletter just to get a brownie.
How did you find starting university? Was it everything you thought it would be? Or, like Briony, did you find it was full of the unexpected? Let us know on Twitter @SheweeWC or Facebook us at facebook.com/shewee