By George Bradshaw-Smith
Coming to university can be quite an overwhelming experience as virtually everything you’re experiencing is new and alien compared to the familiar school corridors you’re accustomed to. You can find yourself panicking with 5 minutes before a lecture starts, and not having the foggiest as to where ‘Humanities Bridgeford Street’ is. Or perhaps you managed to be persuaded by your friends that you would be able to make your 10am tutorial if you went to 90’s night at ‘Fifth’ on a Tuesday night and woke up with a banging headache and the inability to motivate yourself to get out of bed.
So I thought I’d throw together a list of top tips for new students so you can learn from the mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to.
- Know where the building your lecture/ tutorial is before you set off for Uni
Yes a lot of us have been there. You’re already late to your first micro economics lecture and the panic is setting in as you are trying to make sense of the signs and interactive map on the university website. You’re already envisioning walking in late in front of 200 people and having to sit on the front row and being slightly too close to the lecturer as they give you a slightly disdainful look.
Whilst you’re having your Weetabix in the morning just make sure you definitely know where, for example, the ‘Roscoe’ building is by checking its appearance on the University website. You can even use the interactive map online in plenty of time, as opposed when you’ve just got off the Magic bus and have no idea in which direction you are headed.
- Don’t go out the night before an early Seminar/ tutorial
Yes it does seem obvious, but in many cases your friends can be extremely effective in cajoling you to come on the night as “everyone else is.” You’ll roll over the next day to a dry mouth, a lethargic mind and the realisation that its 1pm and your politics seminar on a subject that you actually needed some help with was long missed.
Next time your friend tries to persuade you with puppy dog eyes and a pleading tone stand firm and remember that your degree is a lot more important than cheap vodka shots and “the Fresh Prince of Bel air” on repeat. There will always be other nights out!
- Take some form of snack in if you have a long day at uni
It’s 4pm and you’ve already had 6 contact hours and you’re feeling suitably fatigued. You get into advanced stats and realise that you’re absolutely shattered. You don’t want to end up resting your head on the surface in front of you in a lecture and discover you’ve dozed off and wake up to find a lot of amused faces.
Taking in a moral boosting cookie or banana is a great little source of energy and ensures that you can get the whole day successfully completed. Alternatively there are many cafes dotted around the uni and grabbing a quick cappuccino might be a great option.
- Save a lot of money with a cheap lunch
Meal deals aren’t actually a great deal. £3 a day really does start adding up, and when you realise you’ve spent £60 in a month on some bread and crisps, it does put it into perspective that this is an area you can easily preserve a few quid.
Buying sandwich ingredients from somewhere like Aldi, along with other lunch components such as crisps, will overall cost you around £1 a day. If you also have a water bottle on you at all times, you could be saving £40 a month, which is roughly 3 decent nights out. You might suddenly be able to afford to do more things than you originally thought if you implement this easy money saver.
- Makes sure you get all your records updated
Anything from postal address to your registered GP, get your records updated as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait until you have tonsillitis and don’t feel up to making a cup of tea, let alone enduring the tedium of finding out your old GP’s postcode and phone number in order to sign up to the local practise. On a similar note, you don’t want all of your letters going to your parent’s first, with them having to forward them all on.
Getting everything updated upon arrival at university seems like a daunting and mundane task but it’s always a good thing just to get out of the way! You can book a GP appointment in 1 minute and receive your new bankcard or t-shirt you ordered online a lot quicker.
There we are! Just some pieces of advice I think are useful to give after 18 months of university life. You may find that some of these don’t apply to you, but I hope that the majority can get you started on the right foot.