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Freshers: Advice I Would Give to My First Year Self

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Because boy, there is a lot.  

Here are my top five pieces of advice for newcomers to university life:  

#1 You will embarrass yourself, and that’s okay  

Whether it’s on a night out, first day of class, or in line for a coffee at Kilau you will do something stupid. You’ll deck it down a flight of stairs, get stuck in the wrong lecture room for twenty minutes or spill your coffee all over the cobblestones and you are going to want the earth to swallow you whole. 

But Good News! No one cares! Because everyone who saw you tumble down those stairs were too busy transferring their mate money to get the next round with, everyone in the lecture hall is too busy focusing on not falling asleep to see you sneaking out of the door, and those people that saw you drop your coffee were in such a rush that once they walked away they completely forgot about you.  

The point I’m making is you are going to get things wrong, mess up, and feel like an absolute idiot sometimes but you shouldn’t! Everyone else is making the exact same mistakes as you, so don’t be ashamed of being perceived as ‘embarrassing’ and you certainly shouldn’t let these feelings prevent you from doing things you want to.  

#2 Don’t add everyone you meet on social media  

This one is short and sweet, you are bound to meet a whole host of people in the first few weeks of uni, but don’t feel the need to add everyone on your socials. You WILL get to third year and have to spend precious time deleting people you haven’t spoken to in literally two years. Save yourself the hassle.  

#3 Vodka and squash > any other drink  

Trust me, you will get sick of lemonade very very quickly. So, pour your vodka, squash of choice (summer berries is always a good shout) and then top up with water until it looks good to you and enjoy!  

Honorable drink mentions: Revolution de Cuba’s frozen daiquiris, Revolution pear drop shots and Paramount’s Charlie Sheen shots.  

#4 Being besties with your flatmates isn’t everything  

There is definitely this myth that when you go into uni halls you will meet your flatmates, immediately hit it off become best friends for your whole degree and eventually ride off into the sunset together.  

News flash: this doesn’t happen for everyone. The whole point of halls is that besides sometimes splitting people by gender (how boring!) you are placed with complete strangers from all walks of life and with a whole host of different interests. This is half the fun of moving in!  

However, it is simply impossible to click with everyone, and you tend to meet people that align with your core values more once you’ve been to your classes or joined a few societies, so it really isn’t a big deal if the people you live with make you want to bash your head against the wall.  

This being said, some people are just downright mean, and you shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a place you call home. If you do feel like this, there are support services from the uni that you can reach out to and ask for help or advice. Click this link to see some of them from AUSA, our student union: https://www.ausa.org.uk/ausaadvice/  

#5 It’s fine to want good grades, but keep your goals realistic 

Another phrase that gets bandied about quite a lot is ‘first year doesn’t matter’, and I wholeheartedly agree. The first two years of your degree are genuinely for you to find out what subjects you like, which lecturers you get on with best, and the quickest way from your flat to Bridge Street. Therefore, it is absolutely fine to enjoy yourself, and not get too caught up in the grades. 

Obviously, you don’t want to be stressing or scraping the barrel, but doing coursework and exams at uni is a very different game to school, so don’t stress about that bad mark, or not getting something right the first time. I even had a lecturer tell me they expected students to go wrong in their first essay or assignment, and they didn’t mind because they could then spend time telling them how to get it right for the next time in the feedback.  

Overall, it’s good to have goals and aspirations, but don’t squirrel away at a desk getting stressed all day when you could be doing something far more productive, memorable, and good for your mental health.  

If you are new to the uni, let us know what you are most excited for the new term and for those returning – what advice would you give to freshers. Let us know via our socials!  

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