Hey all! I am officially halfway through my first year of university! For those who have just started the application process, it can be a daunting few weeks waiting for approvals to arrive – believe me I was in that exact position a year ago. To ease those nerves I thought to answer some of the questions that may not have been considered, but to make the transition to university as easy as possible.
Student Loans – Should I be worried?
The thought of being in around £30,000 debt can be scary, but it should not be a deterrent to not to go university. When completing your degree, you need to be on a minimum of £21,000 a year to start paying off the loan, of which only 9% goes towards the debt. “If you’re earning £26,000 a year, you’ll pay £450 in loan repayments – £37.50 each month”. For just over £8 a week you are taking into account 3 years of education and living cost allowance.
Halls of Residence or Private Accommodation?
I would certainly advocate halls of residence. In terms of meeting people who are first years and are feeling exactly the same emotions as yourself, halls is the place to be. Also, you have independence and the support of on site staff should you need them. A massive bonus is when something is broken – a simple maintenance form can get any issue resolved within 24 hours.
How Hard is it to Cook For Yourself?
This differs from person to person, but it is not as challenging as it seems. Personally, as soon as I started university I stepped up and started cooking from day 1, but for others it may take longer. Being independent means that you can experiment and find out exactly what you like – and you do find out some tricks to make cooking easier along the way. A term in and I have some staple recipes that are idiot proof, perfect after a long day of studying.
How Often Should I Go Out?
Before I start, I must say, Freshers is an exception! You will drink more, you will eat absolute rubbish and you will go out way too much, but embrace it! The university understand this happens, even advocating it by going easy on the intensity of lectures to aid your hangover. Once uni is in full swing though do try to limit the amount you go out, purely for the bank balance. Student nights are great, usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday and is the perfect time to break up the week on a budget. The weekend is time to cut loose too! Although I must say to ensure you balance going out and your workload too.
How Intense is the Workload?
It honestly depends on your course, if it is more fact based then there will be more to remember than an interpretative course. For me, year one is relatively simple in comparison to A – Levels. I personally have more deadlines and essays at uni but the difficulty and the amount to remember is a lot less. What makes it easier is that you are away from home, which means that you can go to the library in the middle of the night to catch up as most are open 24hrs a day.
If I Don’t Like Going Out Will I Still Make Friends?
Yes! Universities understand that partying is not for everyone, so they will try and provide as many other activities as they can to try and introduce you to other people. In my flat they have a poster of all the events they have on each term, some of which being: pub quizzes, Zumba, coffee nights, jewellery making, cooking classes, film nights and so many more to keep you entertained! Going out partying is not the be all and end all at university.
Words of Advice for Prospective University Students:
- Try and cook as much as you can – takeaways prove expensive
- If you can, make a packed lunch, it is much cheaper than getting food out
- Get to know as many people as you can, then you can pick and choose your friends rather than being stuck with people you do not really like.
- Keep your room clean, they may inspect your room, and the cleaner it is the more likely you are to have a productive workspace
- Find out a study / social schedule that works for you. It is best to balance both to have the best time at uni.
- Make a daily routine, try to do things at the same time everyday. This helps with the irregular napping that will happen at some point.
- Enjoy first year as much as you can. The university have made it less intense for a reason, to adapt you to a different lifestyle, so use that to your advantage.
- Take advantage of offers; it honestly saves you so much money in the long run.
- Try and get any work done as soon as possible (easier said than done), it relieves you from the stress of possibly not meeting deadlines.
- As soon as you have made friends that you really get on with, consider looking for a place to live in second year. The best places go within the first term, so get on it!
Hope this helped anyone going to university – the best advice I can give is to take up any opportunity. You don’t know where it will lead you, but university is the best place to learn and grow as a person, with mistakes along the way, just enjoy every moment!
If you have any other questions, just let me know!