Tuesday, 7 February 2012

UNIVERSITY | Things I Learnt From My First Semester

I'm now in my second semester at university and while I'm not claiming to be The World's Greatest Student™, I do feel like I've picked up a few bits of knowledge along the way based on my experience. I feel like I should share what (little as it may be) I've learnt so far because, as shown by my choice of Hello Kitty stationery, I take this university stuff very seriously...

Fresher's flu - it happens
Twice, actually. I basically spent the month of October bedridden and surrounded by used tissues (grim). My advice to you: always keep a supply of cold medicine on hand. University is full of germs, guys.

Snacking is expensive - learn to cook
Presumably, you'll be paying for all your own food now so when you finish that packet of chocolate digestives, the only person who's going to go out and buy another is you. After a while, all those biscuits add up and you don't feel quite so flush anymore. Instead, try and eat 3 decent meals a day so you don't end up blowing all your loan on junk food (spend your biscuit money on a student cookbook if you're totally hopeless - they do help!) and put your leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow's dinner.

Say yes to new things, and don't be afraid to go alone
You'll have heard it all before, but it's true - there really are so many new things to try at uni. Definitely sign up for a few societies or clubs, go along to their meetings and keep an eye out for interesting lectures. Yes, it can feel absolutely terrifying to go alone sometimes (trust me, I've been there) but once you're there, you'll meet other people and feel really stupid for being so worried. Take yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. There's nothing wrong with doing things for yourself and/or by yourself.

University can be a lonely experience
Television and films may lead you to believe it's all getting drunk and going out, which isn't totally false, but you also spend a lot of time alone working. Whether it's in the library or in your room, uni can sometimes feel quite isolating, especially when you're away from home. Just don't go into it expecting to have fun constantly. You will have a lot of fun, but there's also a lot of downtime too.

Make friends with everyone, not just your flatmates
Yes, it is easy to settle into a little group with your flatmates and they may be lovely people. But there are other people out there too. Bear in mind: you are not with your flatmates out of any mutual interest, most of the time you'll be put together through sheer random selection. Talk to people in your classes, lectures, societies, the pub, wherever. There is a world outside your flat; explore it.

No seriously, don't leave it 'til the last minute
Your first year may not necessarily count towards your degree but it never hurts to get into good habits. Yes, I sound like a total swot saying that but it is a really good idea to make sure you don't slack off too much (you're still allowed to have fun). When you get an assignment, start it sooner rather than later and definitely not a few hours before it's due in. 


  1. Thanks for this, am headed for my first semester of Uni in two weeks. Anything specific that I should pack?

    1. A lot of post-it notes! They are actually a lifesaver. Also some fancy-dress clothes wouldn't hurt, you never know what strange themed party you might end up at.