Oh boi! Freshers has just started and for those who are still arriving on campus (even though it’s mid- October), can be feeling either nervous, excited or the stress has already kicked in. And to be honest that is completeky normal. However, to help kick-start your accademic year into good shape, I think that there are 7 simple steps that will help you survive your first year. FYI they have all been tested and they all work!
1) The Treasure Chest
For some of us leaving home for the first time, this could seem a little daunting. And quite often we underestimate or sometimes not at all think about the basic items we will need in our student accommodation. Items like bedding, stationaries and clothes, are pretty much the first few items we think of. However, food staples, first aid packs, basic medication, kitchen utensils are oftwn overlooked. Moreover, it doesn’t help with the fact that we are seeing such large sums of money showing in our bank accounts by Student Finance, at the start of the year. Also, because we get too excited by this large amount of money sitting in our account (waiting to be taken by rent), we become too optimistic with our money and then Pop! There goes the last £100 to spend for the next 3 months. I tell you that feeling is not nice at all. And this when the treassure chest of goods that were donated by family and friends from home, becomes your best friend and essentially your life saver!
Check out http://www.studentgiftparcel.co.uk (see above). This is a great place for your family and friends to get a good idea on what to pack in your box of goodies. They can choose from seasonal to freshers or nutritional parcels, which is then packed up and delivered right to your door!
I remember when I was preparing for my first year at university, my mother had an idea to create a treassure chest of basic goods. In it were random bits and bobs of canned items, 1kg of salt, 1 bag of sugar, pasta, ramen noodles, chopping board, soy sauce, rice, tin opener, (I hope you get the gist). This box helped me go through some of the toughest moments at school, where I had no money for food, however it allowed me to be creative with the stock I had. And believe it or not, at the end of the year I even came home with some unopened items!
So what are you waiting for? Get cracking! Start of by asking people to donate food staples ie pasta, tinned food, salt, sugar etc, which doesn’t require a fortune but helps you get a long way while you are at uni.
2) Staying 100
Freshers flu is Real!! And it doesnt have to occur durring freshers. Nobody likes being ill! So why risk your body to the cold weather which is fas approaching. As much as we want to enjoy ourselves and maximise every uni event on campus, you should always remember to keep yourself warm and healthy, as much as possible. Even if it means covering up for most of the day and taking a jacket with you whenever you leave home to an event. I mean £2 on cloackroom is really not bad compared to £4 on cold and flu pills or syrups and feeling completely crap about yourself. Also, stocking up on your vitamins is another preventative method to avoid being ill. These are easily purchasable over the counter at your local chemist or supermarkets such as ASDA, Tesco or even health food stores like Holland and Barret. Increasing your dosage to the reccomended dailly allowance on vitamin C, D, B, A, K, calcium, iron and antioxidants, will help you stay in better shape over the cold months and hopefully avoiding the ‘Flu season’. You coukd howe0ver get in the groove of eating healthy, by maintaining a diet plan. And no its not for people on a diet… its a good way to make sure that you are staying in shape and can also be used as a budgeting tool to watch over your spending (look at the next point1). Lastly, just as eating healthy is important, so is exercise! Get in the habit of working out an hour a day. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym for an hour, you could easily find simple workout YouTube videos or apps that allow you to exercise at home, and doesn’t require a lot of sweat.
3) Savings Saved Saves: Budgeting and Accounts
Saving as a student can sound like a BIG MYTH! I know because I’ve been there! My first 2 years at university, called for extreme saving, where I basically set myself a realistic budget comprising on daily and weekly allowances, based on the amount received by Student Finance and subtracting my rent and bills.
With the amount remaining, 10% went towards my savings account and anything remaining from that amount was then divided by up for groceries, entertainment and anything extra. If that seems difficult, then it might be also time for you to get a job on campus!
4) Don’t be broke!
Every student needs that extra bit of mulla to spend on something (often unnecessary) and that’s ok. Campus jobs in my eyes are the best way forward, in ensuring that you balance your academic career, whilst generating some cash on the side and gaining some experience. Whether it is the university, student union or any third party organisation providing a service on campus, they all abide by the rule of having to understand that your work is scheduled around your education and not the other way like off-campus employers. This means that there is a lot more flexibility in changing your hours, in order for you to catch up with your studies etc. Also, the pay for on-campus jobs can be quite decent. Some of ehich are above the minimum wage. In some cases, some universities like mine have a general rule where students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hrs per week. So look at your university/ Student Union job board for some of these opportunities.
5) Staying Organized and avoiding the “P”- word
I cannot stress how important time management and organisation is at university. But very often we (as in studemts… including myself) find ourselves doing things last minute. This my friend is subjected to what we know as PROCRASTINATION! Procrastination is when you pick up your book or open your work on your computer/ laptop and have the intention to study but further delay the actual action by watching TV, engaging in deep thought conversation or others, before realising how much time has passed to then catch up with work as quickly as they can. This is a REAL issue that every student falls into. To minimise falling into that trap, I would suggest getting a mobile app like ‘My Studylife’ (see below) which will allow you to view your timetable, as well as schedule when your work is due and make plans as to how much should be achieved between “now” and the due date. You can also set yourself reminders along the way to let you know how many days you have left in order to complete your assignment.
6) Study Groups
Ultimately, university can introduce you to some amazing people. From meeting the smartest people you have ever come across, to those who like to keep lifw simple, or the ones that like to question every hypothesis to finding the most awkwardly talented person. All these different types of people bring great attributes to your life, which in effect could enhance your university experience. Forming study groups with people on the same educational pathway as yourself will allow you to either catch up with work that you’ve missed or be able to get a second opinon/ explanation of a topic that you didn’t quite understand. Also, following in from my last point, being part of a study group can encourage all of you to try and stay focused on the assignment and possibly decreasing the chances of procrastinating because the sole purpose of meeting up as a group is to get on with your work.
7) They say becoming a teachers pet But I call it networking with academics!
Your lectures and tutors know exactly what you need to do in order to ACE the class. I mean of course, they designed the program and they know exactly how it should run. Just by speaking to them and asking frequent questions, you might be able to get a little insight as to what they are expecting from you. They may not say it to everyone in class but if you speak to them, you will be given a lot more hints regarding your assignment and voila, there you have a 2:1 or a 1st!
At the end of the day, the best way to survive your time at university is to have fun while you study, be yourself and avoid getting into little “dilly- dally” troubles. It’s a time not only to learn about your course but also to learn a little more about yourself.