3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University


In about a months time, teenagers all over the world will be getting ready to start university. For many, this will mean moving across the country (or even the world) and into somewhere completely new. Although this is extremely exciting, I know how nerve-wracking and scary the whole process can be.

Before I moved into halls, I was so nervous I was actually dreading the moment we arrived. What if I didn't like my flatmates? What if I didn't meet anyone? Would I have to attend freshers events on my own? Thoughts like these are all too common and it's completely natural to worry about starting uni.

There are a lot of things I wish I'd known before starting uni, but I've managed to limit it down to my top three. It's important to remember that everyones university experience is different, so what applies to me may not apply to everyone.

1 .    Y O U ' R E   N O T   G U A R A N T E E D   T O   M A K E   F R I E N D S   W I T H   Y O U R   F L A T M A T E S   O R   C O U R S E M A T E S .

When I first moved into halls, I instantly bonded with (most of) my flatmates. I even ended up moving into a flat with them in second year. Since I got on so well with my flatmates, I was surprised to hear from other people in halls that their experience was the exact opposite.

Flats in halls are put together randomly. Some of you may be lucky enough to get on with your flatmates, and maybe even become good friends. However, for a lot of you your flatmates will just be people you share a kitchen (and possibly a bathroom) with. Not everybody is going to get along, but it doesn't matter because there's many other ways to make friends!

During the first week, there were a lot of kitchen parties around campus where people would socialise and get to know each other. A lot of the people I know made friends that way. My halls also hosted a freshers fair and speed meeting events, which could be a great way to get to know people.

Top Tip: Don't be afraid to attend freshers events by yourself. Everyone is in the same boat when they first start uni

Although I was extremely lucky with my flatmates, I didn't get the same luck when I met my course mates. I didn't really seem to bond with any of them straight away, everyone just seemed so different to me. I was friendly with some of them, but I wouldn't actually class any of them as friends. Eventually, I made friends with two of my course mates and we get on really well. This was my experience, although I know a lot of people who have made really good friends with the people on their course.

The most important thing to remember is that you will make friends, but everyone meets people differently. So don't worry if you don't like your flatmates or if you don't get on with your course mates, you will make friends! Just don't lock yourself away in your room. Get out and enjoy your first year of uni before the real work begins!

2 . Y O U   W I L L   H A V E   D O U B T S   -   A   L O T   O F   T H E M .

I didn't experience this so much in my first year, but during second year all I wanted to do was leave. It got to the point where I had tons of assignments and no inspiration or motivation for them at all. The fact that I was working practically full-time didn't help either. If I wasn't at work, I was at uni, and if I wasn't at uni I was writing assignments.

Honestly, I just feel like everything got on top of me and I just wanted to quit and not deal with the stress of it all. This feeling isn't uncommon. I know a lot of people who felt the same way as me, and some who did actually quit.

When you're feeling like this, it's important to remember why you came to uni in the first place and the amount of hard work you put in to be there. If you quit at the first hurdle, what was all that for? Not to mention the amount of money you've spent (or student finance have spent) on your course, which you will still have to pay back regardless of whether you actually graduate or not.

Of course it is your decision at the end of the day, but please don't let a bad week (or even month) stop you from graduating. Don't let all the effort you put in go to waste.

3 .   B U D G E T I N G ,   R E N T   A N D   B I L L S .

For many of you, this will be your first real experience with budgeting on top of paying bills and rent. This is something that a lot of uni students struggle with, especially when they're given a big sum of money and told to make it last for three months. Here are a few tips on making it last:

- PAY YOUR RENT IN ADVANCE. If you get an allowance through Student Finance, you'll be given a portion of your loan every three months. The best thing to do is pay three months rent in advance so you know how much you have left to spend on yourself.

- WORK OUT YOUR WEEKLY BUDGET. Get your calculator out and divide it all up. That way you know how much you can spend.

- DIVIDE IT BETWEEN BANK ACCOUNTS. If you have more than one bank account, put all your money in one and transfer your weekly allowance over to your main one. This will help you budget yourself. If you can't do this, try sending the money over to a family member who will help budget it for you.

- ALLOW FOR BILLS. If you have set bills each month, make sure you take this out of your allowance so that you're never short.

- USE YOUR OVERDRAFT WISELY. Having a student overdraft is the most useful, but also the most dangerous thing ever. Only use it when you really need it and avoid going too far into it. You will regret it.

If you're getting ready to go to uni in September, good luck! It seems scary but it will be one of the best times of your life so make sure you make the most of it. I hope these little tips make your university experience a little easier.