How to Make the Most out of Your Time at University
We’ve all heard about how the three years you spend at university can be some of the best years of your life! So it’s really important to make the most of your time as a student – both academically and socially. Embracing all the opportunities that come your way will make you the well-rounded individual that employers are looking for.
To help you on your student journey, Student Hut have come up with a list of the top 10 life hacks to help you make the most out of your time at university.
- Make lots of friends
“What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What Halls are you in?” – all questions you’ll be sick of hearing and asking by the end of freshers’ week, but essential to getting to know as many people as humanly possible!
Arriving at university not knowing anyone can be a daunting prospect, but you will have loads of opportunities to make lots of new friends (yay, friends!). It doesn’t matter about that embarrassing thing that happened at school or college that’s been following you around ever since – It’s time for a clean slate! You can even re-invent yourself if you feel the need. But remember to give everyone a chance and try not to judge people too heavily on your first impressions of them – freshers is a time of questionable decisions for everyone, and we all make mistakes…
- Embrace the independence
Living away from home comes with great power and, unfortunately, great responsibility too (bills, cleaning and cooking to name a few…). Left to fend for yourself, there are bound to be a few panicked calls home but in the long run independence is a positive thing! Just think of the freedom! No nagging parents, you can stay out as late as you like, and eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner if you wish..
- Learn to Cook
A few weeks into term and mum’s cooking is a thing of the past – little more than a distant, pleasant memory. Survival instincts kick in and before you know it, you’ve eaten 6 takeaways in a week. If you’re really lucky, one of your new flatmates is the next Jamie Oliver; if not, it’s time to get to grips with the basics. Constantly buying takeaways will eat into your student loan a lot more than taking the time to learn a few simple recipes – and think of what all those takeaways will do to your health!
- Get involved
Take on some extra responsibilities and boost your CV. Writing for your student newspaper, putting yourself forward for a committee position, or becoming a brand rep on campus are all easy ways of gaining transferable skills to increase your employability!
- Join a Society (or start one!)
Gone are the days of partaking in parent approved extra-curricular activities only. Uni is your oyster – whether you’ve dreamed of being a cheerleader or a hide-and-seek legend, now is the time to follow your dreams and try something new. There are vast amounts of weird and wonderful societies to get involved with – from Role Playing Societies (it’s not what you think…) to Hummus Societies. Yes, hummus appreciation is a thing.
Going to socials is also a must. They are a great way to get to know people outside of your halls and course. FOMO is real and can leave you full of regrets, so if you’re worried about being alone, why not bring a friend along! But remember – getting involved doesn’t mean necking a bottle of wine just because the netball social sec ordered you to!
- Stick to a budget
After rent, student loans don’t stretch far. If you blow your student loan in the first few weeks of term, you WILL live to regret it. As you prepare for university, try becoming accustomed to shopping in the likes of Lidl and Aldi; be frugal – hunt down the best offers and avoid unnecessary purchases.
Make a budget and stick to it. Break down your weekly expenditure into categories to make it clear what you can afford. The most common costs besides rent will be for food, toiletries, social activities and your phone contract. Remember to factor in pesky hidden/extra costs such as birthday presents, train tickets, and printing.
- Take advantage of Student discounts
Student offers are a saving grace in the student world of high rent and other unavoidable expenditures (e.g. pizza and alcohol…). The majority of cinemas and high street stores offer at least a 10% student discount with a valid student I.D., so it’s always worth an ask.
There are also great deals to be found on websites such as Student Hut which features offers on just about everything you could need as a student.
- Go to Lectures
After the realisation that you can get away with it, the temptation to skip lectures will grow. Whilst in a hungover state, staying in bed watching ‘just a few more’ episodes of Netflix may seem like the most attractive option – but you’ve got to be strong and resist. You’re at university to get a degree after all! Missing lectures will mean you’ll have more notes to catch up on, which will make writing your next essay even more of a struggle.
University isn’t cheap, so if you’re still not convinced, work out how much each lecture is costing you – then you’ll be the first one at Monday’s 9am.
- Choose modules carefully
Sounds like a bit of a dull one but you don’t want to give yourself any more reasons to avoid going to lectures. Think about what interests you most as opposed to picking the ‘easy’ option that you’re less likely to engage with. It’s worth doing your research and making use of student reviews to inform your choices.
- Consider a year abroad or work placement
Work experience is vital for securing your dream graduate job. A year in industry or studying abroad is an option provided by most universities and demonstrates your willingness to broaden your skillset and push yourself out of your comfort zone. From spending a term abroad as an exchange student to a full year in the workplace, the opportunities available are varied, so it’s worth doing your research.
If a year out is not for you why not take advantage of the many opportunities only available to students, such as special travel visas and work allowances which enable you to travel and work abroad? Companies such as BUNAC provide opportunities for you to spend the summer working in America which is a popular option among students, especially since you have a month to travel when you’ve finished working!