One year down, two to go! I honestly can’t wait to get back to Cardiff and to see all my friends and to have so many incredible experiences! I learnt so much in my first year at university from what kitchen utensils you really don’t need despite what your mother may say, to the importance of knowing the library like the back of your hand! I thought I’d do a little fact file/top tips list of everything to help you pass your first year at university, whilst still enjoying it!
You do not need the entire IKEA kitchen section
I arrived at university with a four piece dining set, side plates the lot! Admittedly they were all plastic but still a little too prepared for student digs. Two plates, two bowls, a mug and cutlery is all you need really. Plus my biggest lesson: do not get plastic crockery! You can’t microwave them, or wash them up in too hot water or they crack. Trust me I found out the hard way when my soup proved too hot for the bowl and I ended up covering myself and the kitchen table in soup!
I also had so many pans and casserole dishes, and baking trays and saucepans that I probably didn’t even use 3/4 of them! Two saucepans, two baking trays and one saucepan was sufficient for me, but if you’re a baking god go with your gut!
Plan ahead food wise
By this I mean when food shopping. Know what you want to eat for the week and shop accordingly. Don’t just dump anything that takes your fancy in your basket as it’ll cost you more and you’ll waste it! I usually would cook a massive Bolognese and freeze any sauce I didn’t use. It worked out a to cheaper and a far quicker and healthier alternative when I was in a rush and didn’t have the time to cook it from scratch!
Also I recommend doing one bulk shop rather than little ones throughout the week. You’ll save more money as you’ll be less inclined to impulse buy. It also makes it far easier to budget and plan your week!
If you’re in halls with cleaners; make friends with them!
At the start of the year we didn’t get on with our cleaners. When they asked us to move stuff we didn’t, so they threatened to fine us (which they can!) Don’t annoy the cleaners by leaving washing up piled high as they’re more likely to fine and less likely to clean! Once we got on side with ours they were a lot more lenient if we’d had a messy pre-drinks the night before and often they went that little but further and cleaned more things!
Actually go to the library
Believe it or not, you actually went to uni to learn something so dropping into the library once in a while won’t hurt. If you don’t want to have to pay for the expensive textbooks, scout them out early in the library and either reserve them or check them out! It’ll save you money and will give you the opportunity to ace your work!
9am’s might be tough but try to go
I’ll admit it, I missed a few 9am’s in my first year because I was too tired from the night before. I justified it by thinking I’d be too tired to listen anyway so might as well sleep. However, around deadline times and exam times you’ll regret that decision! When you have all the lectures to catch up on, especially if you have that one lecturer that has very basic powerpoint slides!
This can be said for any lecture to be honest as catching up on lectures is a waste of time when you could of just gone to them in the first place. I know it may seem hard but it’ll be worth it I promise!
Arrive on time for lectures!
It isn’t like school in the fact that you have to register and everything, but, if your lecturer is anything like my European Integration lecturer you do not want to be late! If you were, welcome to your five minutes of hell where you have to stand at the front and answer questions on previous lectures! No one likes that!
Sign up to societies!
Universities have so many societies so go to them! Sign up to them at the societies fair and give them a go! I’ve made the most amazing friends in my societies and they really have been the highlight of my year! I’m now a committee member for one of them and I’m so excited!
Talk to people!
It can be so nerve-wracking at the start of the year, but everyones in the same boat! Get chatting, whether it be about your lecturer’s yellow cravat or about the student union event the previous night! Making as many new friends in the first few weeks really sets you up well for the rest of the year as you can pick and choose! Get out there, and get talking!
Ultimately, make it worth it!
We all know how much university costs; the fees, the lifestyle, the books, so don’t waste it! Make university the best experience for you possible by doing what you want! University is about finding yourself and becoming the person you want to be. It’s the first time most of you will be away from home so embrace that! I happily will admit I could be found eating Nutella out the jar at the back of the library whilst I worked on my essay! At uni, everything is normal, whether that be brining a blanket to the library or having spaghetti filled wraps. That’s what being a student is!
Just embrace it as you’re only a fresher once! After that is when the tough part hits! You’ll hear many things like 40% is the new 100% and how Wednesday nights are the best nights of the week! Just enjoy it for what it is!
I was so grateful for my first year at uni as I learnt so much both academically and personally!
Good luck everyone that’s off to university!