Making the most of your first year at university.

I am going to Manchester today for my final year of university which is really crazy considering it seems like I only started yesterday. I remember I had dozens of mixed emotions when I did. I was excited but nervous as I was going to a completely new city and living with people I had never met before. There’s so much going on in the first semester of university that it can be quite daunting so I thought I would take the time to give some advice to those who are starting university.

  1. In the first week of university, you meet hundreds of people especially if you live in halls. This is the opportunity to speak to new people, make friends and have fun. Before university, I used to be quite a quiet and shy person, I wasn’t a very sociable person. I promised myself I would change this at university and I’m glad things worked out that way. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone. It’s very easy to just stay in your room, not speak to anyone and isolate yourself but that will make university life so much harder and really quite depressing. Go out, be social and don’t be shy because everyone else is in the same boat. Trust me, at the start of university, everyone is feeling the exact same way as you are. This is majority of the student’s first time living away from home and everyone has the same nerves.
  2. University is known as the place “to find yourself”, see what you like doing and discover who you are and who you want to be. How can you do this? Well there is a high chance that during the first week of the university you’re going to, there will be a fair or some form of advertisement for all the clubs and societies that are on offer. You don’t have to only sign up for one thing, you can sign up for as many as you like and I think it’s so important to find something that you’re interested in besides the degree that you’re studying. It is also the perfect opportunity to meet new people who share the same interest as you. It can be a sport, theatre, campaigning and even just like DRINKING TEA AND COFFEE (yes, I’m being serious there is literally a club or society for everything) and if you have something you’re interested in but there isn’t a club or society for it, you can start your own! Find your passion!
  3. School can be very pressuring and demanding, whilst trying to meet your own academic grades that you might need, society has dragged us into this whirlwind where teenagers are oppressionable and can feel the need to conform. This can be that they need to look good, have lots of friends, get a job, join a club and so much more. To juggle all of this at one can be stressful and if you don’t meet this, there are people who might judge you or make you feel like you’re not good enough. This makes life a lot harder than need be. When you’re at university, I am so happy this mostly changes. People are mature, no one judges you, literally like no one cares.. you can go to your classes with no makeup on, in trackies and that’s totally fine! Everyone is friendlier, more welcoming and people don’t exclude you from social situations! I’m just speaking fron my personal experience so I understand that this might not always be the case but when you’re at school there are way less people for you to be friends with! You might have like 50-100 people in your year group for you to mingle with and find the people who you connect with. Then, you go to university where you’ll have your housemates, coursemates, your housemates’ coursemates and your coursemates’ housemates and then people you meet from clubs and societies… do you see what I mean? There are thousands of new people! University embraces you to just be yourself. It’s the best and most liberating thing you can do.
  4. Okay now let’s get to the more serious stuff, let’s not forget that you are at university to study for a degree. Work hard and please don’t leave your assignments until last minute!! Don’t do it!! Okay!! Study, study, study and get to know your lecturers. Build up your contacts and speak to them about what you want to do after university. These lecturers are professional and experienced, they will know what you need to do and might even give you people to contact that can guide you to your field of interest. They can also give you the experience you might need! The more you get to know your lecturers and make an effort with them, the more they will be willing to help you. You need to go to them, they’re not going to come to you.
  5. Nowadays, employers want you to have experience, not just a degree. University is the perfect way to build up your CV. Do an internship, a work placement, volunteer, get a job, do anything that can make you stand out from potential employees. Transferable skills like teamwork, management, leadership, organisation etc. are so valued and mean that you have a better chance of securing a good job once you graduate. Your university most likely has a career service or a place where you can ask professionals to improve your CV and write it in a way that makes it look really good. These are professionals and know exactly what the employers are looking for, so I see this opportunity as a no brainer!

More importantly, university can be hard being away from home if you are and it can be stressful with the workload but don’t let it stress you out! University can be so much fun filled with opportunities thrown at you and maybe even a new city to discover!! Make the most of it because before you know it, it will be over and you will have to enter the real world with a real job and real responsibilities (ew…gross!). Take advantage of the fact that you’re a student and you’ll have plenty of very interesting stories to tell people (even your children) when you’re even older.

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