Hey guys, as it is A Level Results Day 2017, I thought now is an appropriate time to share some tips for any of my readers getting ready to go to university this autumn. First and foremost, if you are in this position, huge congratulations to you! Completing sixth form/college is an amazing feeling and a huge achievement.
However, if for whatever reason you’re not going to university this year and you were planning to go, please don’t be too disheartened. Setbacks and redirections are a part of life and you will grow from it… even I didn’t end up going to the university that I really wanted to go to and in hindsight, it was definitely a blessing that I was rejected from my “dream uni”. You won’t always immediately recognise what wonderful things God has in store for you, so be encouraged no matter your circumstances.
But if you are going to university this year, it’s time to prepare. Today I’m going to aid your preparation by sharing 5 tips that I think every fresher should know before starting university.
1. Less is more!
This one is for all of you moving away from home, probably for the first time, to live in university halls/private student accommodation/a flat etc. Do not over-pack! Honestly, when it comes to packing for university and deciding what to take and what to leave behind, remember that less is more. Not everything can be an essential and you’ll probably find that a) you won’t end up using half of the things you packed, b) there’s no space in that tiny student room of yours to fit your stuff, c) moving all your stuff back home becomes stressful. I packed about 20 pairs of shoes with me to go to university in first year because I genuinely thought I’d make use of them all and that it was necessary. Big big big mistake, they just took up space and how many pairs of shoes could my two feet really wear at once?! So I advise you to reconsider that spare toaster, 50 hangers and 4 season wardrobe. It’s excessive… learn from my mistakes people.
2. Self discipline is essential for survival – academics, finances, personal development etc.
I cannot stress this point enough. Based on what my friends and I experienced, it’s fair to say that there are little to no actual repercussions (aside from obviously failure/not performing well) for not keeping on top of your academics at university. The success of your academics is your problem – there will be nobody screaming at you to do the work. It’s not like sixth form or college where you get “afterschool detentions” or scolded for missing a deadline or not turning up to lectures and seminars. The same goes for your spending and saving habits whether you’re receiving student loan or not, you have to be disciplined. Flee from attractive student bank accounts with seemingly never-ending overdrafts – it’s a trap! As for your general lifestyle, if you want to wake up at 12pm in the afternoon everyday and sleep at 3am the following morning (not advisable), then nobody will stop you but yourself. It’s easy to “drop the ball” in university if you lack self discipline so my advice is to be very mindful about forming good habits from the start. Make an effort to create a productive routine that enables you to keep up with your life and workload as best as you can.
Saving tips: whenever you’re buying anything, always ask if student discount is available and try to do your big food shopping in the evening when supermarkets like Sainsbury’s have reductions.
3. University is a bubble?
This only really dawned on me after I graduated but it’s true (any graduates can comment below if you agree with me lol). University is a bubble. What I mean by this is that although some people would argue that university is supposed to give you life skills and perhaps prepare you for full-time work, it’s actually not an accurate representation of “the real world”. This is especially true if you’re going to what is known as a campus university, where everything you need is in close proximity e.g. your friends’ accommodations, lecture theatres, places to shop, the library etc. Life is comfortable, most things you need are just a stone throw away. It’s like your university is a mini self-sufficient town within a town. But now that I’ve been a graduate for a year, I can honestly say that most universities are probably doing students a disservice by sheltering and coddling students from the harsh realities of REAL life. I guess my advice for freshers in this regard is just don’t get too caught up in university life and being a student, because it can’t last forever.
4. You’re paying way too much money to not enjoy the process, so have fun!
Let’s talk about the fun and exciting parts of university. University is a great place to make friends for life, create amazing memories, hone your talents and pick up new hobbies. Make sure that you don’t let the 3, 4, 5 or however many years your degree is pass you by without enjoying yourself. All work and no play makes university a very, very dry experience. So my advice to you is to join societies, put yourself out there and actually approach people to build friendships in the first few weeks of university and beyond. Of course, the “friends” that you make during the first few weeks or even the first semester at university won’t necessarily be there with you at the end of your final year… but some friendships are seasonal and that’s perfectly okay. P.S. You’re definitely going to need to master the art of maintaining a social life whilst staying on top of your studies. You’ll be a pro by final year, you’ve got this!
Sidenote… what even was life before I got my camera? 80% of my favourite university pictures are so grainy lol, #ThrowbackThursday:
5. God is everywhere
Finally and most importantly, always remember that if you are a child of God, as you go to university, God is with you. Use this fact both to comfort you when you’re down/feeling lonely and to convict you when you’re succumbing to sin. Some people say that university life is very worldly or “the Devil’s playground” and that God isn’t in some places at university e.g. at the club, in the rave, at the overnight sleepover… but God is everywhere! God sees everything that you do and He will never leave you even if you choose to ignore His presence. Put simply, don’t neglect God just because you’re embarking on a new chapter in your life. And on that note, don’t ever let your sin separate you from going back to God. No sin is too great for God to forgive. Going to university should be a time to draw even nearer to God because I’ll be honest with you… university can be a very tough experience to handle all on your own. It’s only God’s grace that carried me through.
I hope these 5 tips were useful and gave any of you starting university soon something to think about. University overall was an amazing time in my life and I often miss the experience so if you’re fortunate enough to be going, please make the most of the opportunity.
For those of you that didn’t know, I studied Law at Queen Mary (M100 LLB) so if you have any questions about my degree or my university experience, feel free to read my blog post or shoot me a question: Email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
Share this post with anyone you know that is starting university!
God bless you!
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for God has said: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” — Hebrews 13:5