There are many things those of us would love to go back and tell ourselves, so we thought we would share our hard-earned wisdom with those of you who have yet to experience uni life.
Learn the Library Etiquette: Navigating Campus Life
Laura: If you don’t know something, ask; after all, you are here to learn. It’s completely okay to stop someone for a few minutes to ask where something is or how to get somewhere.
Katie: The charging ports in the study areas are often hit or miss; check if the socket actually works before you rejoice about finally finding a seat. Unless you’re an attention seeker and want older years complaining about you on Crushampton, learn the etiquette of the library, too; the first floor is for group work, the second and third are for quiet study, and the fourth and fifth are silent.
Buy Colour Catchers: Making Smart Money Decisions
Laura: Budgeting is important because you’re taking care of your necessities while using the leftover money for savings and wants. You can still have a good time at home, whether it’s cooking for yourself, eating cheap snacks, or simply going to bed early… or realistically staying up all night watching something.
Learn to cook with online tutorials. There’s a Tesco and a Sainsbury’s less than 15 minutes down the road from Highfield – just take a quick gander at Google maps for local shops at your campus. Or (probably less likely) get up a little earlier in the morning and bring a pre-made lunch – don’t waste your money in the on-campus shop; things can get expensive!
Katie: Don’t separate your washing into lights and darks; it’s too expensive. Buy Colour Catchers, and you can wash all of your clothes at the same time. The Circuit Laundry app is awful, too; never believe it when it says your washing is ready – give it another ten minutes before you head down to the laundrette, otherwise, you will be awkwardly standing there waiting.
Don’t be The One Who Forgets Their Keys: Becoming More Independent
Katie: You will get locked out at least once per year because you’ve forgotten your keys – don’t be the one who relies on flatmates. Even if you think it’s a good idea to climb the gate to get in through the window, don’t. Your housemate will never let you live down the scratch on her car. Equally, don’t sleep in the porch out of fear of ringing the doorbell. That’s just stupid.
FOMO is Deadly – Catch It Early: Checking in on your Mental and Physical Health
Laura: It’s okay to miss out on things! Trust your gut, chances are you missed out on nothing or missed out on a disaster; take that time to look after yourself. Do not, however, miss out on signing up for a local GP and going to the doctor and dentist regularly; your mental and physical health are incredibly important!
Katie: Do not underestimate Freshers’ Flu. If you don’t feel well enough to go to class, don’t go. Missing one lecture won’t kill you, but if you go to class and spend the hour coughing your lungs up, the embarrassment might just be the death of you. Difflam spray for a sore throat and Sudafed Blocked Nose spray are my best tried and tested products.
Cliques Still Exist at Uni: When it Comes to Making Friends
Laura: Making friends by trying to be someone you’re not won’t last because you won’t be able to keep up the façade. Instead, focus on being the best version of yourself that you can and focus on what makes you special. People are more attracted to honesty. And if they’re not? They’re probably not worth getting to know and you’re protecting your peace – who needs to be sobbing at 3 am over anything but an assignment with a deadline fast approaching?
Katie: If you think that person on social media looks cool, make the first move and message them! Now is the time to stop worrying about what people think of you and make memories that will become a funny story for pre-drinks.
Maggot Infestations and Clogged Plugholes: Accommodation Worries and Fears
Katie: Sharing a bathroom is not as bad as you think it is going to be. Set a standard for cleanliness, but don’t bother with a cleaning rota until you know it will get followed. There will be a flat in your block infamous for the state of its communal spaces – if you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you! Use the kitchen inspections as an opportunity to have a deep clean – the inspectors are more irritating than the inevitable silverfish. Make sure no fork is left behind!
Surviving From A Bag: Living and Studying from Home
Laura: Whether you’re commuting from hours away or 30 minutes down the road, you often won’t have time between lectures to go home to fetch important items. A backpack will save your shoulders and back a lot of pain and have plenty of space for snacks (that hopefully you pre-packed to save money and your laptop from your hanger). You also need to be able to have room for your course materials for the day (try and get as many PDFs/ebooks of your materials as possible), your keys, wallet, ID card, snacks, and potentially menstrual products – so choose your survival bag wisely!