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.
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