As September is drawing to a close and the leaves are starting to do their thang, my thoughts naturally to turn to Pumpkin Spice Lattes and stationary.
Call me a cliché but I blame this on six long years of study. I’ve managed two University attendances, one Bachelor of Arts followed by one Bachelor of Science, six freshers, six rounds of exam survival and a tonne of debt – and yes I’m still standing.
Subsequently, I believe this makes me somewhat qualified to deliver some straight talking advice on surviving University. So if you are starting, or have started University, then this is the post for you. Below are the tips and tricks I personally feel are worth a sharing on the subject.
1: Say Hello! to people!
Sounds simple enough right?! But it’s all too easy to retreat into your uni room and just close the door. Instead invest in a door stop (pending any fire regulations) and keep it open. You’ll be surprised.
Be careful though, go overboard and people might think you’re a little bit…well mad.
2: Don’t go to every party.
Ahhh freshers, as I’ve said I did six of them, and I’m still recovering. Just kidding! But the main thing I took away is don’t feel under pressure to attend all the socials. Just go to the right ones. This creates an air of ‘mystery’ if you will, and encourages people to get to know you. Also you also don’t want to burn yourself out at the beginning and miss all the fundamental basics of your course, which can be crucial later on. Also, lecture attendance matters! Honestly I know it may not feel like it but dragging your butt into all scheduled parts of your course will pay off. So party, but don’t make yourself ill for the whole first month.
3: Learn how to cook a Sunday Roast!
Everyone wants to be reminded of home and cooking is one of the best comforts. Get everyone to ante up £5 and put on a meal. Its sociable, you’ll be popular and you may even have some change for drinks at the end. Even if it’s not a roast, if you can cook a meal well you will be on to a winner. But don’t do it all the time and make sure its cleared away after (make sure you also adhere to Tip 9) and not growing mould 3 months later (I’ve been there and it ain’t pretty folks).
Whatever your local supermarket is (and I’m talking main supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda) find out the times that they start to reduce things! Check out the Money Saving Expert’s Supermarket Shopping Tips to get you started. Remember you can also freeze a lot and get the most from a sell by date.
Make sure you are also stocked up on your basics. This means baked beans, spaghetti, tinned tomatoes and mushrooms and a spice such as chilli flakes or even smoked paprika. You can make all sorts!
Not surprisingly Aldi for me is a winner. You don’t even have to wait for things to be reduced as they are so reasonably priced.
5: Get a job in your Student Union.
Whether this is in the student bar or handing out flyers, be part of your Uni and get paid for the privilege! It’s also a fab way to meet people and makes sure your not ‘out out’ every night.
6: Avoid getting into debt wherever possible.
This is coming from someone who has made the mistake of getting into debt, and yes it will be many, many years before it gets cleared. Be wary of student overdrafts and any type of borrowing. It sounds obvious to say but that money comes with a cost and you WILL have to pay it back.
7: Have an Emergency fund.
Try and put aside £100 for REAL EMERGENCIES! Shoes, clothes and nights out do NOT qualify as an emergency.
8: Be yourself.
If people don’t like you, tough.
9: Be a good housemate.
This tip transfers as well into life after Uni. Living as part of shared accommodation in London at the moment this is equally still applicable for me. Tidy up after yourself. Sounds basic but all too often people give into laziness but mostly tiredness. Don’t be afraid to wash up for others. But don’t do it for everyone all the time. Just make sure you are tidy in the kitchen.
10: Remember why you are there.
University can be the best time of your life! There are so many opportunities available and I encourage you to grab them all! But don’t loose sight of the main reason why you are there which is your course. It’s a massive stepping-stone for the rest of your life. So find a balance. Know when to say no and stick to your guns.