The whole process of applying to and going to university can be pretty daunting but it’s worth every minute! Here’s just a few things I wish I’d been told before I came to university which I know would have helped me
1. The worst accommodation may just give you the best first year
I spent my first year in Ricky Road and despite its appearance, it’s the most sociable accommodation you’ll find! With large communal areas and a communal feeling of “this place can’t get any worse” comes a brilliant liberation every student needs in their first year. Think cosy evenings in huddled around Domino’s pizzas, the whole block piling into one flat with the music turned up high, and lounging about with a brew discussing the night before.
Make sure you check out the cheap and cheerful accommodations when viewing universities!
2. Your friends will be there when you return
Don’t worry about applying to a university near where all your friends will be – you’ll make new friends at university and when you return home things won’t have changed one bit! You’ll still have a lifetime of friendship behind you and they’ll be excited to hear about all of your term time tales and you can listen to theirs. Distance makes the heart grow fonder after all.
3. Freshers drains your bank account
This is by no means a complaint – for some it’s the best week of your life! But a week of going out every night, finding your feet with food shopping, stocking up on textbooks and then trying to do as many sociable (usually costly) activities with your new flatmates is going to make a dent! It’s definitely worth the investment, just make sure you’ve prepared by saving up or getting a job to help towards the cost, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out because you’re out of pocket
4. A ‘party city’ may still be a great choice for the non party animals
Newcastle is known for being a good’un for a night out but there’s also so many other things to do here! It’s an absolutely stunning city with something for everyone, whether you love restaurants, shopping, music, sight seeing or little jaunts to the beach for fish and chips! Don’t rule out universities due to their stereotypical reputation, there’s often so much more beneath.
5. You won’t be spoon fed
University is about independence – your lecturers won’t help you every step of the way. If you have questions and concerns they’ll address them, but they can’t hold your hand through your degree. Start now by working hard and as independently as you can with your A Levels/BTECs. Make the most of your teachers now but don’t rely on them.
6. Learn a few basic recipes
Stand with your mum whilst she cooks your favourite dinners, ask for pointers and try to do a bit yourself so you have a mini repertoire of meals. You can’t live off takeaways and pizzas from the corner shop! I tend to find student cookbooks pretty much useless, but find some tried and tested recipes off the internet and create your own recipe file of healthy, filling dinners.
7. Flick through the textbook
Universities have a clever knack of only showing the very best bits of the course on open days, leaving some of the nastier bits a secret! Try to get hold of a textbook you know will be used on the course (if you ask on open days they’ll be more than happy to let you know which one you’ll need) and read at least a bit of it to see if it’s the right course for you – I found I didn’t get on with some modules at all, something I could have avoided had I just looked!
8. Get used to life admin days
Leaving home and being independent means having to do lists the length of your arm. You’ll have to sort out finances, shopping, washing, tidying and all sorts of other boring but essential things. Learn to do those basic but somehow initially mind boggling tasks whilst at home and it won’t all seem so difficult when you have to do it all for real!