My Top Tips for Starting University
Starting university can feel overwhelming but it would be one of the most rewarding and memorable years of your life. Everyone around you is looking to make friends and get new experiences so do not feel like you’re the only one. Here are a few of my top tips for starting university:
1) Value and Manage Your Time: In university, you’ll have a lot more freedom and responsibility compared to high school so hanging your time well becomes more important. Start the year organised, by tracking your classes, deadlines, and activities. A planner or a digital calendar might come in handy.
2) Personalise your space: It might be the first time you are living away from home. Carrying photos, an old soft toy or some moments from home will help you make your new home, your own.
3) Step out of your comfort zone: University is a time when you can explore new paths, and be open to new experiences. Are you a shy dancer? join the Tango society, never thrown a ball? sign up for Sporticipate, learn a new language or pick up the drumsticks – the only thing you will regret are the chances you did not take. Trust me, almost everyone around you is going through the same thing.
4) Sign up for activities: Take charge and sign up for new activities like a leadership role at your University Halls which usually open for nominations around October ( one of the most rewarding leadership roles I have taken up), participate in external competitions ( I participated in the Undergraduate of the Year by TargetJobs without any expectations and ended up being in the Top 10).
5) Start exploring career routes: Do not wait till a month before summer to start applying for internships or worse, for the final year to start preparing your CV. Talk to people who are a year above you, join academic societies or reach out to the careers service but start thinking about your career from the first year. Applications for Spring Insight Weeks open around October for most fields.
6) Use resources and ask for help: The university has a lot of resources like books, academic writing and research guides, workshops on how to reference correctly, drop-in sessions and much more. Make use of these and trust me, do not hesitate in asking for help – there is a lot of support available.
7) Prioritise your mental health: University can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it, whether it’s from campus counselling service – Nightline, friends, or family.
8) Manage your finances: Make a budget and track your expenses from early on. This will give you a good idea of your regular expenditures. There are a lot of part-time jobs available – so if that is something you want, you can apply for those through the Student’s Union Job Board.
9) Cherish these years: One of the most important tips is to enjoy, be present in the moment and make the most of these amazing and probably one of the most fun years of your life. I remember looking at my graduation year on my student card in the first week of university and thinking it is so far away and I cannot explain how fast it all flew away. So go out, make new friends, strike up conversations in university halls and sign up for activities.
Written by current posgtraduate student, Parnita