Thursday, 23 August 2012

So You're Starting University?

It's late August, the exams have been taken, the results are in, and some of you have chosen to go to university.  I'm about to be 3 years into a 4 year Bachelor of Science sandwich course, which means this year I am going on work placement to get some experience under my belt before graduating. Now, more about you lot. As someone about to go into my third year of university, I feel like I can shed some light onto what to expect, alongside a bit of helpful advice. 

My car packed up ready to move to halls in 2010!
1) You will meet people!
Whether you have chosen to live in halls or not, there is absolutely no way you can get out of meeting new people. 
- If you've chosen to live in halls you will be living alongside other students - and maybe even course mates. When you're all new, nervous and adjusting to the same environment, it really doesn't take that long to get to know one another. DO NOT hide in your room. Go out and introduce yourself to your flat mates, it may seem terrifying, but they might well be your best friend in a couple of days time!
- If you've decided to commute to uni and think that you'll miss out on some perks of halls, don't worry! Everyone is probably as eager to make friends as you are, so don't ever think you are alone. You'll meet people through your course; sitting next to people in lectures, group work, which brings me quite smoothly onto my next point.

2) Look up societies.
If the drinking culture isn't your thing and you don't quite fancy heading down to the SU to meet some more friends, why not join a few societies? You university will probably hold a Freshers Fair, which showcases everything the uni has to offer in terms of societies, student discounts, and events around campus. Don't miss it! If you think you're into something pretty niche and you wish other people liked it too, the chances are that there will be a society specifically for it, and if not, why not make one? You'll end up meeting people that share that same interest as you!

3) Do your work.
Now this may seem pretty obvious as you've obviously worked your butt off to get into uni, but once there it is scarily easy to forget that you're there to get a degree. Most of the time it's all too easy to get caught up in uni life and meeting new people, that you end up forgetting that you had a deadline. Even if your first year grade doesn't contribute towards your overall degree, that doesn't give you an automatic excuse to slack off. Prospective employers will look at ALL year grades, and will probably question you if you have a considerable dip in your first year percentage. Also included in this point: do your reading. Depending on your lecturers, you will probably get set one reading per week, per module - now this can mean anything up to 7 readings a week, each consisting of anything up to 100 pages each. This may sound horrible, and very easy to put off, but you will certainly regret doing that when it comes to exam period and you have 11 weeks of readings to catch up on before you can even begin to revise them.

4) Never underestimate the power of referencing. 
Once you get to university, you will be suddenly inundated with referencing, something most of you will probably never had to do before. Yes, this is important so make sure you learn the ins and outs of it! At my university, we even had weekly classes just dedicated to teaching us referencing that spanned about 10 weeks, and I needed every minute of those classes! It may sound boring, but put one pesky full-stop or comma in the wrong place in your Reference section of an essay and it could cost you an entire mark!

5) You're not alone.
If your move to university doesn't go quite as planned and you end up hating it, don't start thinking that you're in it alone. Most (if not all) universities will run a mentoring scheme, in which students from the second and third years will be assigned a particular court of residence on campus, and will visit every student in that court each week personally, just for a quick chat to see how you are. If you don't like the sound of that, there will also be something along the lines of a "Wellbeing Centre" where you can receive counselling, advice, or just someone anonymous to chat to. 

6) Don't take it for granted.
I cannot hammer this point in hard enough. Make sure you take the time to just realise how lucky you are to be in this position, and do not miss a moment. Before you know it, the 9 months will have flown by, and you'll be packing up your room in halls, never to return again. You will (most probably) never be in that position again, enjoy the nervousness and butterflies, because it will be over before you know it!

I hope this mini guide was of help to all you lot about to be Freshers, how I wish I was going back into my first year!


  1. I'm about to start uni in a few weeks so this was good to read! Thanks Alice!
    rach xx

    1. Glad to be of help, I didn't get any useful tips before I started so though this post was the least I could do :)

  2. im hopefully going to uni next year, and am abit nervous! great post, thanks so much xx

    1. Good luck! And I'm glad to have calmed those nerves bit :)

  3. Great guide, im starting in 3 weeks eeeeeee :)

    sophierosehearts x

    1. Ah congrats on getting in! So exciting!

  4. I love this post hun, I was lazy and chose to stay at home with my degree as the uni that was close to me was one of the best in the country for media lol. However really enjoyed reading this :)


    1. I'm at home this year for my placement as it means I can live rent-free, so I'm the same now, and thanks!

  5. This would have been so useful to read last year haha, i'm just going into my 2nd year of University. I'm excited to go back, see my friends and my Cheer squad but i do love a good ol' summer holiday and break haha

    Just discovered your blog through #bbloggers and i'm your newest follower, hope you'll stop by mine too and enter my MAC giveaway :)


    1. I wish I had too, so thought I'd help the new students out this year :) Ah thats great, I was sure no-one read those tweets lol, defo checking yours out :)