27 September 2023

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting First Year

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Freshers and first year can be a whirlwind, including the million pieces of essential advice that everyone feels you have to know before going. 

Here is our condensed version, as told by a third-year student…

1. Downsize on the crockery

When you start uni, it can be easy to go crazy on the crockery, buying everything you need for a family of four. Advice on this one? Buy the essentials (mugs, plates, cutlery) and build the rest up when you get there. My five different sized pyrex bowls are already gathering dust…

2. Make a serious effort to get involved

Now this one you may hear a fair bit – but GET INVOLVED. The best thing about first year is that you can try everything. Even if it feels a little scary, make your best effort to be a social butterfly and you could (and probably will) make friends for life.

Join that corridor party. Say yes to a Twister game. Go for drinks at your local pub. Try new things. You might end up surprising yourself.

3. Remember that you have a degree to do!

Listen, we all know that uni is a fun time in your life (and it should be). Clubbing, skipping 9:00ams and enjoying some independence from your parents definitely doesn’t hurt. 

However, just remember to try and work as hard as possible regardless of opinion. At the end of the day, you do pay for your degree, and getting a good grade is an amazing achievement that will massively help you in the future. So don’t waste precious time!

4. Get a part-time job

Getting a job at uni can boost your employability and help you secure a placement or internship. Employers look for time management and organisational skills in their candidates.

So the sooner you’re able to show this on your CV, the higher your chances of securing a role. 

Having a job allows you to meet new people and make new friends outside of your course too. Oh, and the money doesn’t hurt either… especially when you’re trying to save for that weekend getaway to Dublin with your besties!

5. Be a good housemate

One of the biggest pieces of advice you could hear would be this. Be considerate of other people’s property and communal spaces. Ask if there’s something you need to use or borrow. People will appreciate you for respecting them. And are likely to respect you back.

6. Societies, societies, societies

Join them! Even if it’s something a bit more out there, societies are a great way to make friends and develop new skills like presentation and public speaking. First year is the ideal time to try as many as you can. 

There are lots to choose from like sports and debating societies to subject-based societies like business and science. So it’s totally up to you. Whatever floats your boat.

7. Remember to enjoy uni

While some students enjoy uni a bit too much, it’s also incredibly easy to feel the stress and get yourself down.

Remember it’s not the end of the world if you socialise instead of study as long as it’s in moderation. Sometimes, taking a break from work actually helps you re-energise.

8. Save as much as you can before starting

Uni is spenny and this means you need money. Use summer to save as much as you can and try and budget when you get there. Money Helper has a cool budget planner tool to help you keep track of your finances. Definitely use it. It’ll come super handy.

9. It’s okay to go home once in a while

Uni is a lot sometimes and nothing makes you feel better than a little recharge at home. We don’t mean every weekend, but it is A-okay to go home and have a nice roast to feel better.

10. Look after your mental health 

TOP TIP: remember to look after your mental health – keep your space clean, exercise and check in with people if you’re not feeling your best. It’s easy to neglect things when you’re knee-deep in studies. But health comes first. So please make it a priority.

Listen, you’ll hear loads of advice when you leave for uni and there is no right or wrong way to “do uni”. As long as you have fun, focus on your work and look after you– that’s all that matters!