You’re going to university: Results day advice

First, breathe, university will be some of the best years of your life. So bite your nails, have nightmares about results papers getting lost, but most importantly keep your cool. Whatever happens, a plan will be made. Whether that plan is the same one you have always had, or is slightly different to what you thought, it’s still a plan, and it’s yours. For those of you who’s plan is university, here is my advice, from one freshly defreshed fresher to you sparking new ones!

Your life is about to change a lot, but its all good because you’re going to love it!

Expect parties, expect beers and value bottle vodkas, expect 9am lectures which you turn up to incredibly hungover and 9am lectures which you don’t even make. Expect flatmates who you might not get on with, course mates you hate and lecturers who make you want to cry. Expect 100’s of new friends and 100’s of new adds on Facebook and Twitter, but best of all expect that select group of these friends who you will now know for life, and who you will love like you knew them since they were in nappies!

Packing. Do not pack EVERYTHING, it is a nightmare getting it back home. Do pack all of your clothes, posters, favourite bed sheets, favourite pictures, a few fairy lights and the kitchen essentials. Take plastic cups and plenty of them, cups go missing like no tomorrow when you are running around to different flats for drinks, pre drinks, post drinks and hungover tea drinks, so stock up on them. Remember your laptop, yes I did forget to take mine. And for goodness sake do not be afraid to pack your teddy!

Move in, make your room your own, meet your flatmates, smile at everybody you see, and invite anyone you say more than 3 words to around your flat for pre drinks. Only half of them will turn up, but they might turn out to be those special people I was talking about earlier. Remember, everybody is in the same boat, they are all so nervous that they want to make friends with anybody and everybody, and a smile goes a long way! Then grab your flat mates and go shopping together! As stupid as it sounds, food is an excellent topic of conversation, because everybody eats it, likes it and dislikes it. Joke about your fears of tomato or your love of macaroni cheese with banana, then get home, get ready and hit the town.

For the next few weeks you will dance, drink, dance, dress up, dress down, laugh, dance. But don’t forget to eat.

Cheap food and supermarket own brands are your friend, but only to some extent! 30p bags of pasta, 37p crumpets, 31p tinned tomatos; go for it! 21p ketchup, 27p tea bags and £1 bin liners; don’t bother. The ketchup and tea will taste vile, and the bin liners will rip so easily that you have to use 3 each time, trust me I’ve tried them.

Go to your lectures. Get a feel for your new course and your new course mates, then organise a social! All get together at someones house/flat, play drinking games and go out. Many people on your course are likely to share the same sort of interests, or you wouldn’t be doing it together! You and your course mates are a team, they are the ones you can go to and moan about that assignment, that lecturer, that exam, and they will actually understand.

My course at the beginning of the year`

Don’t go home too much, get involved with university life. When will you ever get the chance to spend 3 years living, where money is allowed to be an issue, it is acceptable to go out 4 times a week, and you have so many friends around you all in one place! Once you’re finished you’ll all scatter back round the country or the world, find jobs and finally have to curb your candle stick burning. But you don’t have to worry about that yet.

Keep in touch with friends from home, ask how they are getting on, but don’t get worried if you dont speak to them every week. You are all busy, and will have plenty of time to catch up at christmas. If they truly are your friends, constant contact isn’t needed, and it makes reunions all the more exciting! Oh and keep in touch with your ma and pa. Send them a few texts a week and give them a ring. They’ve probably done a lot for you so don’t take it for granted.

More than anything, I hope this makes you excited about moving out and starting a new life at university. Because it is so exciting. It’s ok to be nervous, in fact it’s good for you. Take everything in your stride and get involved, take millions of pictures, upload them to Facebook, Twitter and send them to your family (or in some cases dont…) Take the time to look through them and laugh, cry, cringe, but most importantly remember the good times you are having! University is what you make it, so make it good.

Just remember to smile!

Feel free to leave any advice or words of wisdom which you may want to add :)

A snippet of my first year at Bournemouth University

Me and my uni girls at the BU Summer ball, it’s fancy dress and is set up like a festival, so we went as WW2 land women and had an amazing night

Dressed as Cows. Pack ALL the fancy dress you own
Freshers week


3 thoughts on “You’re going to university: Results day advice

  1. First off, let me just say that everything within this blog posting is pure gold. Actually it’s better than gold, it’s platinum. After reading this I wish that I had a time machine. The first thing I would’ve done is made a hard copy of this blog. I then would’ve got in my time machine and gone back to just before I went to university and made sure that my past self read it and fully understood it. I really think that I would have got a lot more out of my university experience had I gone about things the way that that The Vegaquarium did.

    I’m not saying that I did anything horrifically wrong or that I had a bad experience at university but I believe, had I followed The Vegaquarium’s advice I could have enhanced my experience tenfold. Once again I’m not saying that I had a bad university experience but I truly believe that I did not take full advantage of the city I was in (Montreal) and the University I was attending (McGill).

    My first mistake was not having a place to stay when I arrived in Montréal. I can vividly remember getting off the train and going up the escalator from the arrival platform carrying two suit cases and two large canvas utility bags (commonly called hockey bags) and wondering “What am I doing here?” My right shoulder ached, not from carrying large, very heavy bags but because I had just recently had surgery performed on it. I was not completely healed and I paid a steep price for stressing it. I even thought for a brief moment of getting back on the train and going back home. I had felt confused before, I had felt lost before, but never both at the same time and this was utterly alien to me.

    I was someone who had always been prepared. Now I was in a strange city where many people spoke a foreign language and I had no place to stay and the fault was all my own. I had seven days to find a place to stay register for my classes, go through orientation, buy books, supplies and start classes. These were the days when you could not register for classes on line and registration was a wait in a five hour cattle line.

    I ended up spending half my available cash on a hotel for three days, the time it took me to find a place to stay. Having arrived so close to the beginning of when fall classes started (and of course being an idiot and not having applied for a dormitory room) there were not many nice places to stay that were inexpensive and close to campus. Although the city itself had a fantastic public transit system, I was not familiar with it at that time. My plan was to live close to campus then expand my radius and get to know the city afterwards. I found a nice room in a really a ratty looking house in the middle of the student ghetto, not a racist term, (an area close to the main campus made up primarily of privately owned homes that were not in the best shape, were primarily rented to students, and you couldn’t beat the rent).

    As The Vegaqurium described above, she participated in everything that her new environment had to offer and embraced it. I went to my courses and made a couple of great friends right off. The entire university along with its’ individual departments all encouraged new and returning students to socialize. There is always something going on somewhere that was designed to have students meet and mix new people. In my particular department you were encouraged to join clubs which held social events and you were usually welcomed at these events even if you did not even take the time to join the club itself. I went to a gathering once where some of the older students, some of them third year and some graduate students made you feel more than welcome. They wanted to get to know you. I of course being extremely shy and introverted and of course a fool, resisted the outstretched hands of possible friends and did what I always had done since the beginning of high school, kept to myself.

    Now I have to admit that keeping in touch with friends that had not gone to the same university that I did (actually no one from my high school graduating class went to McGill), was a tad more difficult when the only means of contact was a very expensive telephone call or snail mail (yes i went to univeersity in the 80’s). I had effectively cut myself off from all of my high school friends, my parents and with the exception of a couple of new friends, was doing my level best to do exactly what I should not have done, keep to myself.

    Not to worry, things didn’t stay this way forever. I got a room in the one the nicer dormitories the next year (this forced me to be around a lot of people for a lot of time) and after about a year and a half of living there my floor mates realized that I was not some kind of strange warrior monk who had taken a vow of silence.

    Listen to The Vegaquarium when she says embrace this new time, explored the new place that you are in, make new friends, say hello to complete strangers, make a lot of new friends and yes Absolutely, Smile.

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