Firstly, congrats to everyone on their results coming in and for getting into university/college or getting a job or taking a gap year. I know how horrible it is to wait for the email, text or envelope with your results is, but you got through it and you got through school so well done you! Now, to stress about university and whether you’ll enjoy it or if the classes will be too difficult. But I can hopefully help a little here as someone who has been through it all.
1. Don’t feel like you need to go to every freshers event
Freshers is fun, but it can be very tiring so don’t feel like you need to go to everything or drink till your blackout drunk. If that is what you want to do, then go do that and have fun but don’t feel forced to do it. Everyone has a different pace when it comes to nights out and drinking and if yours is slower or you don’t like drinking don’t push yourself, your flatmates and friends you make will understand that completely.
2. Join societies or teams
This is something I didn’t do but really wish I had, it is a really good way to meet people who enjoy the same things as you and to get better and learn more about something you already enjoy. Most universities have really good facilities for sports and aim to push people to get better at sports they already enjoy or try out something you’ve always wanted to try. Joining societies can get you involved more with people with similar and opposing views to really push your way of thinking.
3. Try to make your student room as homely as possible
This is something I failed to do in my first year, I ended up spending a lot of time in a room that to me, felt like a hotel more than my bedroom, this led to a lot of homesick nights and visits home which only made it worse going back to university. Make university your home and home your family’s house would be my main advice about moving into halls. However, if you feel more comfortable going home most weekends don’t feel like a failure or like your missing out on anything, as long as your still studying and all caught up on university classes, don’t feel like a failure.
4. Don’t feel like you need to be friends with your flatmates
This is something I see time and time again, and something I did too, trying to become best friends with people your going to live with for a year can be difficult. You will disagree with them on things and they will annoy you by not doing their dishes or being noisy the night before an exam, as their flatmate you can shout at them, as their friend it puts you in a difficult position. There are amazing ways you’ll meet your friends, most of mine are through other friends (my current flatmate and best friend), through my job (the amazing Jade over at Student Wandering), at lectures and classes (so many people) and blogging- they know who they are!
5. GO TO CLASSES
I know, I’m not your parents, but for goodness sake don’t miss classes for silly reasons, despite how much you’ll say you’ll catch up on it, you wont. I know 9am lectures aren’t fun for anyone, but you’ll never concentrate outside a lecture hall like you do inside it. Also, pick classes you’ll enjoy and have a genuine interest in, it’ll make you that bit more lively in classes and more open to debate and discussion.
6. Don’t take yourself too seriously
Yes, you are in first year. Yes, that is a huge achievement. Yes, we are all proud of you. But don’t take yourself too seriously because of that. Still allow yourself to have a laugh and enjoy your first year, its stressful at times and you will no doubt have late nights in the library, but don’t get too caught up in it all. Go have a laugh with your friends, invite your family up to that cool burger place that no-one has heard of, talk about stupid reality TV shows. No one expects you to completely change due to university and don’t force yourself to either.
Enjoy first year, have drinks, have laughs, make mistakes (but learn from them) and just try to have a great time at university. You will make some friends for life at university I can promise you that, it is so fun despite all the stressful times and horrible essay deadlines. But if you do it right and organise it correctly, it can be one of the best years of your life. Good luck to everyone going to university next month, I’m excited to meet all the University of Stirling first years.