So, let’s begin with the hug, of course, *sends virtual, unshitty, real squishy kinda’ ‘you got this’, kind of hug*. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably sitting exactly where so many pre-uni students have sat before; in some void of the unknown. Starting anything new can be daunting, but starting university can definitely take daunting to the next level. There’s so many different aspects to university life, like moving out of your home town, moving out of your house, moving in with complete strangers, studying at a higher level and having to manage money like you’ve potentially never managed money before. These big life changes definitely make room for some ‘oh shit, I’m terrified’ moments, and believe me, I think every university student who made it out of first year alive (partly due to alcohol) had some of those on the lead up to freshers week. So, first of all, what I’m trying to say is, be reassured; be assured that so many people are feeling the way you do now. A lot of people are probably thinking ‘what if I don’t make friends?’ ‘What if my flat-mates don’t like me?’ ‘What if I hate it?’ and equally, a lot of people are probably not thinking, ‘this is gonna’ be absolutely fine.’ ‘Everyone is going to love me.’ ‘I am completely comfortable with diving head first into the unknown’. So, yes, be reassured, like I say, everyone is going to be feeling some sort of nervousness and as long as you don’t let that nervousness stop you, then you’re already on your way! These next few years of your life could be the ones you’ve been waiting for, the ones where you grow individually, academically and in so many other ways than you’ve ever grown before, it’s just about getting over that first terrifying hurdle. (In all honesty, though, I was shitting myself from the moment I got my UCAS e-mail, so I know, it’s completely easier said than done, I feel ya’.) When I was planning this blog post, I essentially tried to think to myself, ‘what do I wish someone had told me the week before freshers?’ and hopefully, these things will reassure you, like they would’ve reassured me. *Ends hug, pats on back, begins*.
Okay so, number 1.
You’re allowed to shit yourself.
Uni is a new thing, and it can be pretty terrifying. Be scared. Feel all the feelings. It can be sad leaving your family, your friends, your relationship and of course, the saddest of all, your pet, behind. It can be sad knowing that your bed won’t be your bed for a few months until Christmas. It will be sad knowing that your Nana’s roast potatoes won’t be readily available every Sunday and of course, it will be sad knowing that you have to iron your own clothes when you want to wear that top at 7am, so bloody feel sad. On the other hand, though, it’ll be exciting. It’ll be exciting meeting your flat mates and getting to know them that first night and throughout freshers week – AND getting to know them in the weeks and months to come. It’ll be exciting meeting your course people, the people who love what you love and equally, if you join a society, the people who obsess over Harry Potter or The Sims just as much as you do. It’ll be exciting exploring your new uni town and your campus, and finding your place and the people with whom your flowers can bloom even brighter and better. Equally, though, it’ll be scary. It’ll be scary knowing you’re not five minutes away from your mum. It’ll be scary not knowing who you’re gonna’ meet. It’ll be scary knowing that when your TV breaks, your dad isn’t right there to fix it, AND it’ll be scary knowing that you have to remember use by dates because you don’t have your mum’s sense of ‘that’s not okay to eat’ smell to rely on. But man, it’ll be fun. It’ll be fun staying up late and chatting absolute shit with your flat mates. It’ll be fun sitting down with them to watch Coronation Street and eating three packets of biscuits without noticing – malted milk and chocolate digestives, of course. It’ll be fun going out and letting your hair down, making your own choices and grooving to music you’ll never wanna’ hear again after freshers week. It’ll be fun not going out, and showing your family around campus if they come up to visit. It’ll be fun decorating your room and making it cosy, comfortable and as ‘you’ as you can make it. It’ll be fun learning to cook and making a holy mess of everything you do cook – will include some pictures – and it’ll be fun making mistakes and having your flatmates and course friends around you to help you out when you’re struggling. Man, it’ll be fun. All of those feelings and all of those emotions you’re feeling towards starting university, they’re all so valid, so feel them, but just know, if you let yourself, the fun, happy feelings will always outweigh the fear eventually.
Give people a chance.
Like I’ve said a few times already, you’re gonna’ grow a lot throughout your time at university. I don’t just mean you might add a few inches here and there – you order that dominoes, don’t think twice – that’s inevitable, at home or at university (or anywhere). But you’re gonna’ learn things about yourself and about other people and this will benefit you in the future. So when I say, ‘give people a chance’, I mean, hang around with people you wouldn’t normally hang out with. Meet people who are completely different to you, with completely different backgrounds and completely different home lives and learn about them. Equally, join societies / sit with people in your class who are like you – you’ll appreciate having people around you who are stressing over the same assignments, trust me (plus, on the reading front, sharing’s caring) – who like the same stuff and who are passionate about what you’re passionate about. These people will all give you something and in turn, you will give a bit of you to them, too. Enrich your social life with people who you’d never meet at home and who knows, you might even meet your best friend, your soul mate or even a lover.
Don’t go mad with money – real talk.
Okay so, I know how it feels. Your student finance comes in and you’ve got this chunk of money that you’ve got to live on. It’s gonna’ be so easy to go on a night out and chuck money at that two for five pounds drink offer, and sure, after that killer assignment, you deserve to throw a tenner at it, but just be careful. Budget. Work out how many weeks till you get your next installment, divide this semester’s loan by that many weeks and there you go. If you’re paying bills and stuff, that’s a little more tricky, but get into the habit of saving what you don’t spend. When you go for your weekly food shop, believe me, you think you need that Crunchie chocolate spread and to be honest, when you start to miss your mum, you might do, but try and control yourself. Get the basics and use them, freeze your bread and make sure you have enough money left over for your weekly supply of malted milk biscuits. Just be careful, because it’s so easy to go mad with money when you have it but not so easy to manage things when you don’t. (But by all means, get the dominoes.)
But equally, make mistakes.
When I say this, I don’t mean blow your whole student loan on a bag of ball pit balls to prank one of your flat mates, I simply mean get drunk a few too many times, start your assignment a little too late and hate yourself on deadline day, but make these mistakes early on. For most universities, first year grades don’t actually count towards your degree. That means, essentially, you have a little bit of a free pass, but don’t fuck it up. Make mistakes and cut out bad habits early on, you’ll appreciate it in second year, when shit gets a bit more serious. If you do start your assignment too late, don’t then do the same thing next time, at least start it the night before the night before it’s due, this time. If you’re gonna’ sleep with a random person, use a condom and make sure you wee afterwards. If you’re gonna’ eat too many malted milks, carry on doing exactly that. Do you get my drift? First year is the year to learn about you, do you and fuck up a little bit, so go for it. Go head first into your university life and learn from your mistakes.
God, university is hard, but man, it can also be the best three years of your life. Going into third year, although terrified, I already wish I had more years left with the best people in my life all in one town, going through the same things and just living our university lives together, fucking up and learning all at the same time. So make the most of it, go out and do what you love with people that you love. HAVE FUN. Be you and find people who make you more you, who love you for who you are and who don’t want you to change. Do things that you’re comfortable doing but also get out of your comfort zone from time to time. Chill with society members, drink tea and fuck those who think that you have to drink to have a good time. Equally, go out, get pissed and drink tea the day after. Just do shit that makes you forget to check your phone and make sure you don’t look back thinking ‘I wish’. DO YOU and you’ll move mountains. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
I hope this helped anyone who’s feeling nervous or anxious about starting uni, even if I did ramble for most of it, haha. Feel free to chat with me in the comments and I’ll try and reassure more if that would help! You got this, the stupidest thing you can do is not believe in yourself!