Yep, it’s that time of year where all the unsolicited University advice rears its (boring) head.
I could write a packing list or something fun and light-hearted about this potentially very exciting moment in a person’s life, but instead I wanted to write a few tidbits of what I think is important to remind yourself of if you’re feeling a little nervous or unsure about the whole situation.
1. Course transfers are a thing
If it gets to a week or two into your course and you’re starting to realise this path isn’t the one for you, I’d urge you to go and have a chat with a tutor or student union member to discuss a transfer onto a different course.
Most unis are fine with this in the first month or so as long as you’ve got the credentials to move onto the other course, so don’t feel like you either have to stick out a course you hate or quit altogether! There are other options available to you.
2. Don’t feel pressured to go ‘out’ all the time
If going out clubbing and getting pissed isn’t your jam, don’t feel pressured to do it. Find a group of people who are like-minded and do fun stuff with them instead, like movie nights, pub quizzes or late night gym classes. There will be plenty of people who feel the same way as you do, you just have to find them!
3. You don’t have to eat crappy stuff just because you’re on a budget
Plain, gross and unhealthy student meals don’t have to be a thing. Yes sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to eat dodgy microwave meals and beans on toast when you’re feeling lazy, but why not use some of that spare time (trust me you’ll have plenty in your first year) finding delicious, inexpensive recipes online and experimenting in your kitchen.
This is also a great way to make friends with your flatmates, as they’ll definitely appreciate chowing down on any extras you make, or coming to you for recipe ideas.
4. It’s not the end if you don’t get on with your flatmates
That being said, it’s not a disaster if you don’t ‘connect’ with your flatmates. There are plenty of other places to find friends at uni; on your course, at the pub, in clubs, societies or sports activities, for example. So don’t feel down if you don’t have a best buddy in your dorm/flat, there’s plenty of fish in the sea!
5. You can have a life outside Uni
One of the main things I disliked about uni, and one of the big reasons why I left, was how much it can feel like being in a bubble. Yes, studying and making friends can consume a large part of your life at this time, but I wish I’d realised that it doesn’t have to become your entire life.
For one thing, you don’t have to live on campus if you don’t want to. It might be right for you in your first year, but I wish I hadn’t; it felt like being at boarding school. Also, you can get a job and friends and join clubs outside of uni – there is actually a fun world outside campus!
6. Your free time doesn’t have to be spent asleep
I hate it when people assume that all students are lazy and spend all their free time asleep or drunk. You don’t have to live up to the ‘typical student’ label if you don’t want to – you can actually do something productive with your free time!
You could start a blog, or a business, or learn a new sport or language, or pick up a hobby that you eventually get really awesome at. You don’t have to be defined by your course and your ‘student’ label; you can be your own person with your own interests and cool achievements.
7. You’re not a failure if you want to ‘pivot’
After all is said and done, if you’re hating life at university, you can always cut your losses and QUIT. Obviously the earlier you come to this realisation, the better (in terms of time and money), but even if you’re into your second year, it’s not too late to pivot and start fresh.
You can read my story about why I quit University and see how that process went, but I just wanted to say here again that if you’re unhappy, do something about it.
Don’t panic that you’ll be seen as a failure or that your family will be disappointed in you, because you’re not, and chances are, they won’t be – they just want you to be happy. And don’t panic that you’ve ‘wasted’ time and money on these months (or years) because you will have learned new things about yourself, and most importantly, about what you don’t want to be doing with your life.
This got deep quickly, but I wanted to post this because some of these things I wish people had mentioned to me before I went. ANYWAY the most important thing is have a good time and enjoy yourself, and learn some cool stuff, kay?
Already there or returned from University? Share your own advice below:
Never miss a post! Follow on Bloglovin: