Picture the scene. It’s a couple of months from now and you’ve moved into your university accommodation. Your parents have just left and you’re staring at the four walls of your uni room thinking, now what? Your first year of university is going to be life-changing. You’ll meet new people, study a new subject, maybe discover a new city and you’ll have to get to grips with life away from home. It can be overwhelming but don’t stress. In fact, here’s some advice for incoming first-year uni students (written by a current first-year uni student themselves.)
Meet As Many People As Possible
As a first-year uni student, almost everyone you meet will be in the same boat as you. It’s likely that you won’t know anyone before you move, but there are so many things you can do to get to know people both before and after you arrive. Group chats can help to ease some anxiety before you move, then once you get to uni, you’ll meet more people from your hall, your course and other societies. And you never stop meeting people, so the best piece of advice I could give to a first-year uni student would be to put yourself out there as you never know who you may meet and what sort of impact they might have on your time at uni.
Organise, Organise, Organise
Organisation can take so many different forms but it is still incredibly important. At university, you’ll be solely in charge of yourself, so you’re gonna need to learn to organise. Academically, you’ll need to organise yourself to find the balance between your studies and your social life, keeping on top of your deadlines and other weekly work. You’ll need to find time to do laundry, cleaning and all the other adulting responsibilities and on top of that, maybe a little time to relax. That’s why I would recommend getting a planner or using Google Calendar, or whatever other form works for you. As first-year uni students, you will soon find that there’s not enough time to do everything you want to do, so you’ll learn to organise the time that you do have.
Check out this list of some of the best planners for students.
Learn To Budget:
This relates to my last point, but it’s important enough to need its own section. No matter if you’re in catered or self-catered accommodation, budgeting is an incredibly important skill. Your student finance will not last you the entire year and there’s only so much in your overdraft. That’s why keeping track of how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on is critical. It won’t come immediately, but using your first year to learn and get used to being in charge of your money will help you in the long run, both for the rest of your time at uni and as an adult.
Check out this guide with advice on how to budget at university.
Make Use Of Office Hours
This depends on your degree of course (although this does apply to everyone) but especially if your degree is essay-based, going to office hours will help you a lot academically. Establishing relationships with your personal tutor and seminar tutors through going to office hours will help you in the future when you’re looking for references in the future when applying for internships or jobs. In my experience doing an essay based degree, going to office hours and discussing essay plans really helps as it allows you to talk it through and make sure you’re on the right track, which will hopefully help you get a better grade on the essay. Getting into this habit as a first-year uni student will help you later on into your second and third years, without a doubt.
But, the most important piece of advice for an incoming first-year uni student is to prioritise yourself. Know your limits, both socially and academically. If you don’t feel like going out one night and would rather stay in your room and watch Netflix, then do that. If you feel like you’re struggling with your degree, then talk to someone, whether it’s a friend on the course, one of the department staff, or anyone else. Prioritising your physical and mental health, above all, is the most important piece of advice for a first-year uni student.