As a student going into third year, I’ve spent a good portion of my summer simultaneously wishing that uni can hurry up so I can return to my friends again, and trying to slow down the days as much as possible before the inevitable happens and I graduate.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – university is great. If you’re a fan of sleeping in, going out during the week and occasionally throwing out an essay, you’ll probably enjoy university life. Technically, your weird cousin who said that university is just full of drug taking, binge drinking idiots is kind of right, but enjoy it, relish it, because when you’re in my positon in two years, you’ll wish that you could start your degree all over again just to have three more years of fun.
So with that in mind, here are some things you should definitely do in your first year of uni, before scary second year starts and your friends start choosing the library over £1 shots.
First year kind of counts but not really and probably not unless you do maths or medicine or something so go out as much as is humanely possible:
I am not one of those grumpy third years who complains about freshers in the library, because towards the end of first year I also spent a fair amount of time revising. But only at the end of the year. Go out with your flatmates, your course mates, your society friends, your society friend’s friends – everyone. When second year comes along and you still want to go out but your close friend group are busy studying, you’ll regret not chatting away to everyone you know while they’re out. This also means that you’ll develop a formula depending on what type of night you’re out for – I.e your flatmates may be up for a house night but would never set foot in the SU. The answer? Message a coursemate instead. Boom.
Actually eat vaguely healthily and maybe even join a sports society too:
There are essentially two types of student at university – those who cook and those who do not. The Freshman 15 is no mystic legend and actually does exist but works both ways: some students lose and some students gain. You’ll likely either develop a love for garlic bread and Dominos pizza and nothing else or you’ll go all out and start taking packed lunches for your lectures. It’s obvious that you’ll end up spending a lot of your student loan on pizza (Dominos very helpfully will give you lots of vouchers at the start of each term) but if it’s possible to occasionally have a carrot or do some form of exercise then when second year comes and all your flatmates are a bit fatter you’ll feel ever so slightly superior.
Leave (on average) 2/3 of whatever your mum tells you to bring at home:
First year is the year where your mugs get broken, your plates get smashed and your saucepans grow mould. However, first year is not the year (there is no year) when you will require three blenders and a sandwich maker. All those green smoothies you intend on making with your healthy flatmates will not happen. The likelihood is that the only time one of your three blenders will ever be used will be for pre drinks, when someone thinks it’s an excellent idea to blend milk, vodka and chicken strippers, or something equally gross. See also: colanders, washing up liquid and drying racks.
Don’t bother saving everyone’s name in your phonebook that you meet on a night out:
“Dave Corp” is not someone you are ever going to text and arrange a coffee with. The same can be said for “Sophie Wednesday” “Adam Last Night” and “Hot Pete”. These are not people whose paths you will likely ever cross again, and therefore it makes no sense to bother saving their numbers. On the off chance you and Hot Pete do ever rekindle your 24 hour romance, you can feign surprise and throw the ‘my phone broke’ excuse if you have to figure out who is texting you at 3am on a Thursday morning.
Save your money and don’t buy all of the required reading books or the ones that second years try to throw at you for £100:
Let’s face it – you will have to do a bit of reading. Realistically though, you will not do all of your required reading every week before your seminar. Your lecturer probably won’t ask you about it and you’ll go away, £30 poorer and probably not that much smarter from it. You can get a lot of your course books out the library for free and then buy any others off of Amazon – not direct from your lecturers who invariably are the ones writing them and profiting from your student loan. A further tip? Ignore the second and third years who will try to sell on their used books to you. Unless you’re getting a really good deal and they’re books you know you will definitely be referring to, you’re probably going to be ripped off.
Be careful who you arrange to live with early in the year:
There comes a point early in first year when you’re out with your flatmates and you drunkenly agree to live together next year. This is nice. Until you wake up in the morning and remember that annoying habit Daniel has of throwing his pasta in the sink and Rachel’s way of slamming every door and singing in the mornings and Samantha’s weird boyfriend who always stares at your for slightly too long whenever he’s round. These people are nice, yeah, but are they nice enough to live with for a whole other year? Depending on your student city you may have to make this choice very early in the year, but if you can put it off then do so until around Christmas time. Your flatmates may seem like the kind of people you’ll invite round for Sunday dinner in a decade’s time but there’s only so many times someone can block up the sink with their gone off tuna before you want to throttle them.
All in all though, first year (much like Hannah Montana says) is what you make it (so let’s make it rock) so just enjoy yourself. University is a step up from A levels but it’s also easier in the sense that you’re focusing on one subject you enjoy, rather than four that you kind of like. If you want to go out four times a week – go for it. You’re not going to look back and remember those evenings you spent watching Netflix in bed and, as I always said to my flatmates before coercing them on nights out, you can’t put a price on memories.
Photo credit: Flickr // yosshi