For the last three years, my life has been a serious learning curve. Going from being the oldest of three children, living with my parents in the safety of the small hamlet I have always called home to suddenly being thrown into the deep end of independent living.
Of course, not everyone will have the same experience as I did when going to university. For instance, you may have decided to stay closer to home or even remain at home while studying higher education. This, however, was not what I chose to do. I decided to move away to the farthest city that would accept me. This meant packing up my stuff and moving, alone, to the big city. Ahhh!
I’m making it sound like it was all doom, gloom and scary days. Not true. My University days were some of the best of my life so far. I made some amazing friends and I shocked myself with how much I could achieve! That being said, it was also the hardest three years of my life. Not only did I have to worry about grades and my studies, but also living independently, making me friends and making sure I didn’t pass out from dehydration. (Yes, this actually happened.)
So, to celebrate the fact that I survived higher education I thought I would give my top ten tips on surviving university.
One – Read The Assigned Texts: I know this sounds SO obvious, but I really didn’t click with this one until the third year…yeah, third year. Sure, you may be able to get a decent grade by using spark notes but trust me when I say that writing papers are so much easier to write when you really know what you are talking about. By reading the texts you can form your own opinions on the texts that you can discuss in your assignments, this will be what your teachers are really looking for and your marks will go up!
Two – Eat Healthily: Yeh, alright Mum! But really though, as tempting as it may be to binge out now that you parents aren’t there telling you to eat your vegetables, don’t! Eating nothing but crap will only result in a few things, gaining weight, feeling tired, being broke. When I was in my first years I put on 2 stone and felt like crap. I’m not saying you have to become vegan, but make sure you eat vegetables at least three times a week. Doing this will make sure you feel great all year and will help you avoid the fresher muffin top. And remember to drink plently of water!
Three – Join In: For some, this point will be really easy but for others, the very thought might be a nightmare. But trust me, you need to make the most of your student years. You don’t have to join everything club going, but find something that interests you and goes along. Chances are you will find people who are very similar to you and you stand a good chance of making some really good friends. Staying in your room for the whole three years doing nothing but your studies is all well and good, but by putting yourself out there you will be making the most of your three years.
Four – Don’t Take on Too Much: As I said in point three, it is important to put yourself out there and join clubs. However, it is important not to overload yourself. Remember what you are really there for. It is good to have social outlets but if you take on too many they will stop being enjoyable to begin to stress you out affecting not only your work but your mental health as well.
Five- Ask For Help: It is easy to hide away if you start to become overwhelmed, but it’s much better to reach out to someone. Whether it be a friend, your parents or a tutor find someone you can talk to and go to them when you feel down. I had an amazing tutor when I was at Uni, I would go and see here in tears and she would drop everything and make me a cup of tea. University is an amazing experience but it is full on, you’ll enjoy yourself much more if you deal with problems head on and ask for help.
Six – Be Safe!: Chances are, at some point in your university career you are going to find someone you like and ‘get it on.’ Which is all good, but remember to be safe. Whether it is a guy or a girl take precautions and practise safe sex. STD’s are not the experience you want to remember your University years for.
Seven – Don’t Be A Sheep: University is a great time to experiment and discover who you are a person. You’ll try new things, some good, some bad. What you try is really up to you. But it is important to remember that it is your choice the things to try. If something doesn’t feel right, if you don’t want to try something, don’t feel pressured into doing it just because ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Remember, this is your life and the choices you make really do affect your future. Just because your housemates does it and says it’s fantastic, doesn’t mean it is right for you. Trust your gut!
Eight – Grammarly: I’m not particularly great at spelling and grammar, which can get very frustrating when you’re trying to get a good make on an English literature paper. A programme that has been invaluable to me over my students years is Grammarly. You upload your document into the programme at it works like a supercharged spell checker. There is a free version which works pretty well, and there is a premium version which will pick up all the tricky grammar mistakes. Either one is extremely helpful!
Nine – Audio Books: If you’re taking a subject which involves a lot of reading and you find yourself struggling to keep up then there is a solution! Youtube has loads of free audio books, search for all the books on your reading list and listen to the ones that are on Youtube. That way you can listen while you’re doing other things, like the gym or brushing your teeth. Then you can read the other books within you studying time with less stress. This is a trick that I learnt in the second year and it saved my butt so many times! If you’re really committed, then you can also try Audible.
Ten – Have Fun! At the end of the day, don’t take it all too seriously. The world of university is like a bubble and it’s easy to forget that there is the world outside. Enjoy yourself and try not to get caught up in the drama, this isn’t high school! Make friends, study hard and do yourself proud.
These are my top tips for surviving university. If you’re heading off in September, good luck and have a great time.
What are some of your favourite memories of University? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.