As the new term starts and with people starting at a new school, college or beginning their journey through university, I couldn’t help but think back to when it was my time to go to university. It still feels like only yesterday that I was itching to get to university, excited at the prospect of this new adventure into the unknown. And as former student, I want to give my words of advice for those of you starting out…
Go to university with an open mind and say yes to new experiences, cultures and events, as you will learn so much about yourself. I grew up in a small town and university, particularly study abroad- which I said yes to– really opened my eyes to many things. Not only about the world, but I learnt so much about myself. I always held really strong opinions before university, and although in certain situations I may have to voice them, I really listen and understand everyone’s perceptions and don’t have a this is right and this is wrong mentality anymore.
In America, (so it seems, help me out if this is wrong), but societies seem to be a huge deal, and over here we are trying to do that, but in the UK there is also this ‘cool’ thing. In school joining an after school club meant you were a nerd, and its hard to shift that mentality once you get to university, but please take the time and go to the freshers events, where you can meet all the societies and realise how many there are and that being part of a society is actually cool. It’s also a really great way to meet people and make friends, for me one of my societies really benefited me in career experience, so lets stop with the cool label its so 90’s!
If your university runs trips away, a study abroad scheme, or any kind of travel experience then go! University is an eye opening experience in itself and is one of the craziest and best things, but travelling through university, particularly when it counts towards your degree as well, really is amazing! Everyone I met on my study abroad experience hold a special place in my heart, and no one but them will understand how amazing it was; it was a once in a lifetime experience. After years of searching for the real me, I found myself on study abroad- and hey that’s when my hair went natural as well!
So lets remember the reason you are at university in the first place, aside from the parties and buzzing social life- your there to learn. Your there to develop skills, not only for your desired job, but in life as well. I mean before university I didn’t know how long to cook a jacket potato for, and I followed recipes religiously (or lived off noodles when the tough got going), but now- a cookbook what’s that?! I just make up meals and they turn out really good (without blowing my own trumpet too much), I am known as the queen of breakfast, and I don’t think I would have realised how much I enjoy and can actually cook, until university. Oh yeah and I learnt everything I wanted to know on my course too.
Know your true friends
You meet a lot of people at university and will make friends with a host of people, some of which are unlikely friends but they’ll end up being your bestie. But in first year, know who your true friends are and not just want to see you to get drunk with. Yeah these people are fun, but they won’t be there for you in tough times and when you need someone to have your back. But if you and them both know its purely a drinking affair, then your good.
Live on campus
I could have no way stayed at home during university, I think this just adds to the whole experience of it all. The fun, sometimes difficult scrimping, the parties, arguments over who’s stole whose milk- it just adds to the experience of university and living with a bunch of total strangers who turn out to me your favourite people.
Stay true to you
And most importantly, stay true to you. Yes your views and opinions may change, but they should be for the better. Remember we are all embarking on a journey to reach our full potential and be the best version of ourselves.
Be kind, be humble, stay safe and have fun!