My Top Tips for Starting University
Starting university is nothing short of a life-orienting experience. Having heard many stories from older family members and friends, we go into this stage of life with many expectations. “At Uni, I will find lifelong friends”, and “I will meet my future partner at Uni”. But we also don’t know what to expect. It’s new. For most of us, this newfound freedom is exciting. Some of us have a bucket list of things to experience. But, also, for most of us, this newfound freedom is nerve-wracking. I know this feeling well, and for that reason, I will share with you tips that can make university life easier.
Reference as you go, not at the end.
If you forget everything else, remember this. Never leave referencing till the last minute; build your reference list as you go. Even if it’s just referencing sources that you’re not sure you’ll use. Better safe than sorry. The risk of referencing at the end is that you could forget something and accidentally plagiarise. We don’t want that. Not with all the hard work you put in.
Network with your classmates/fellow students
Don’t take your classmates for granted. There is potential for a mutually beneficial connection to occur. Add each other on LinkedIn, go for coffee together, and catch up outside lecture halls. We all know the value of networking with people who are already highly accomplished in their respective industries. But, when you think about it, the people who sit next to you in lecture theatres, whom you work with for group assignments, or see around campus will also prosper like you. You all attend this prestigious university, and one day you’re all going to be professionals doing big things in the world, and you might need each other or run into each other at some point.
Don’t over-prepare for Uni!
Now, if you’re like me and you like to plan, I can hear your thoughts, “what?! what do you mean, Khadijat”. Hold on, I’ll explain, and you’ll thank me later. ‘Uni essentials’, ‘pack with me for Uni’ etc. videos are entertaining to watch but don’t let them fool you into thinking you need a doorstop or potato masher. Some things like mattress toppers are great purchases, but sometimes you can spend your money on things you won’t use for your entire 3+ years at university. Take your time with some purchases, wait until you’re settling in, and buy things when you need them. Some courses do not require you to buy physical textbooks. You might not need a printer either or a drying rack. Look at your shopping list again and separate the things you can buy later.
Join WhatsApp/Facebook Groups
The summer before university begins, search for the university’s social media groups. They could be course-specific or created by societies. I found out that the Afro-Caribbean Society have a WhatsApp group through their Instagram. Through that WhatsApp group, I made friends by private messaging people with similar interests and sharing socials in the group. Voila! I had already gotten to know people before Uni started, and we went to events together once Uni started. It is a great way to ease social anxiety as you may feel more comfortable knowing a few people. If you can’t find course group chats, create one yourself. I suggest asking the people sitting next to you for their socials/number, creating a group chat and sharing the link with others in your class.
Written by Khadijat, third year student in BSc Management (Marketing)