11 lessons you’ll have learnt by the end of first year

Before you know it you’ll have finished your summer exams and be packing up your room to journey home for the summer holidays, with a whole year of crazy stories and new friends under your belt.

Unifresher has put together this list of the lessons you’ll be pretty certain you’ll have learned by the end of your first year.

1. You can’t actually drink every night – Despite how successful you were at going on consecutive nights out for the first few weeks, your hangovers will progressively get worse over first year, until eventually the thought of two nights out in a row will be anathema to you. You’ll still definitely go out for pretty much a solid week after exams, but wise end-of-first-year you will be bewildered by the energy freshers-week-you had for doing so many nights on the trot.

2. It wasn’t as scary as you thought – While you undoubtedly will have had a lot of fears before uni, you’ll suddenly realise about halfway through first year that you’re having the time of your life, and you had no reason to worry whatsoever. Those sleepless nights spent fretting away towards the end of summer will seem foolish in retrospect, and it’ll seem hilarious that just months ago you were so terrified driving up in the car with your parents that you didn’t want to get out of the back seat.

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3. The work took ages but wasn’t as hard as you thought – Even though you’ll have spent many a whole night stuck in the library, becoming increasingly delirious as you inch closer to that word count, you survived your first year of work. And if you’re being honest, you probably enjoyed it a fair bit more than pre-uni work as well. While the stress of essay deadlines can be overwhelming at times, finally only having to study for a subject you love makes a huge difference.

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4. Your ‘best friends’ in freshers aren’t your best friend now – You’ll have made many a drunken decision that certain people and groups were gonna be your friends for life while you were in the throes of freshers’ week friendship-hysteria, but those will all seem a bit funny now when you consider who your best friends are at the end of first year. You’ll definitely stay good friends, or even best friends, with at least a few of the people you met in freshers’, but by the end of third term you’ll be awkwardly avoiding people you recently thought were gonna be giving speeches at your wedding. Whoops.

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5. You were better at independent living than you expected to be – Even if you weren’t really worrying about it, you’ll definitely be pleased by how well you managed to survive all on your lonesome after your first year of university is all said and done. You’ve been going to lectures, working on a degree, making friends, doing laundry, eating enough food to avoid starvation, and even staying clean all by yourself, and it will feel pretty good to realise this.

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6. Your student loan wasn’t limitless – As great as those first cash injection felt when they came into your bank account, you’ll be struggling to make ends meet until you make it to summer and hopefully manage to get a job. After summer exams will be a tough week or two on your wallet, as the last pennies in your bank balance will have to be stretched to accommodate the post-examination binging that will undoubtedly occur. Even after learning this lesson, though, you’ll probably end up making the same mistake in second year.

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7. The scaremongering about housing was over-exaggerated – The oft-quoted rule that you have to find your second year house by the end of December at the very latest will also seem, in retrospect, to have been slightly silly. Most of your mates probably will have found houses before you go home for Christmas, and it will definitely be a little bit harder finding a property if you’ve left it until the summer months, but it’s not at all impossible to find places in second, or even third, term. Obviously get it done as quickly as possible if you can, but looking back on it you’ll probably wish you’d taken a little longer to decide who you wanted to spend the whole of next year with.

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8. You’ll feel like you were so young in freshers’ week – It will only have been a year, but your first three terms at university will definitely be a learning experience in many aspects, and personal development is one of these. While you won’t really have changed all that much, you’ll look back at your younger, freshers’ week self and really be able to see some progression from the person you were when you first came to uni, to the person you’ll be going home for summer as. Just imagine how you will feel post-university …

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9. Weeknights are the only days to go out – When you first get to uni it’s likely that you’ll still be in the college mode of going out mainly on Fridays and Saturdays. That will completely have changed by the end of first year. You’ll be so used to Wednesday sports nights and Thursday society nights, and basically hitting the town on any night of the week other than Friday or Saturday (Sunday nights are a fun novelty which you’ll also quickly get used to) that returning to a weekend-centric partying routine over summer will seem utterly bizarre.

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10. Post-night-out food only gets better and better – Once you’ve figured out where your favourite place to stop after a night out for a kebab, a pizza, a burger or some other horrifically unhealthy foodstuff is, you’ll probably become a bit of a regular there. You’ll look forward to your post-night-out food more and more the longer the year goes on, and your future self will hate you for it. Once you have a favourite choice though – go for chips in curry sauce, trust us – it’ll end up being one of the high points of your night. Every single time.

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11. A year does not feel as long as it used to – While the years you were at college all seemed to blur into one long session of messing around punctuated by hugely unpleasant exam periods, your first year of uni will have gone in the wink of an eye when you look back on it at the end. How did this happen?! It seems like only yesterday that you arrived here and didn’t know anyone or anything about your new city. Now you’ve got friends wherever you go and new favourite restaurants, clubs, cafes, scenic routes, parks and more, and it will feel suspiciously like someone’s stuck your internal clock on fast forward when you reflect on how quickly it has gone. First year is one of the best years you’ll ever have, so try and appreciate it as much as you can, because the next two years go even more quickly.

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