If any of my friends or family are reading this, I just want to give a big thank you to all of you that have supported me over the past three years!
Me and my brother! I'm clearly too cool to wear the hat properly!
I've decided to put together a few tips for anyone who is starting/thinking about going to/studying at uni - mostly tips I wish I'd knew over the years!
- Don't get into a relationship before starting uni. If you've been with your bloke for a long time and you are in a stable relationship then ignore this! But there's really no point trying to be serious with anyone when you start uni - you will want to have fun at freshers. I don't mean that in any specific way, but yes you may want a couple of cheeky snogs or hook ups and you certainly don't want to worry about putting time aside for your boyfriend when its freshers and you're going out meeting new people, really having no worries. If you do have a boyfriend though, do consider his feelings - if you've moved away and you're out getting drunk and clubbing and meeting new people every night then it's no surprise he's going to worry a bit. So if you are in a relationship, try and see things from his point of view, reassure him that you're relationship is stable and maybe agree to always have one or two nights a week to skype with each other or something. It's not worth having boyfriend worries when it comes to your second year because you'll have enough stress as it is!
- Really put yourself out there. After uni a lot will change so essentially this will be one of your last chances to have a bit of fun. Do go out all night on the cheapest, busiest night of the week - even if you have a 9am lecture the next day. The following week just put your uni priorities first. What I mean is try to have a good balance - but take chances too. You don't want to look back and regret not getting a good grade because you didn't buckle down - but at the same time you don't want to look back and regret not having as much fun when you were still at that age.
- Be safe! This one is self explanatory but be as safe as you can. Never get taxis alone (especially when drunk), always keep a spare tenner in your shoe/bra aka away from your other money so if you spend it all on drink you've got that last bit of cash to get home etc. Also, register with a doctor and dentist immediately and look around to see what the uni has to offer. My uni did free condoms (lol!) and they also had a scheme with the local taxi rank - if you couldn't afford to pay your fare then you gave the taximan your student card and simply paid the taxi fare within the uni to have your card returned to you! Also, don't listen to what other people think! If you are single, there's nothing wrong with having fun, as long as you are safe and you are not hurting anyone/cheating in the first place!
- When it comes to living arrangements ALWAYS make a rota and lay out some ground rules. It sounds boring - but get it done ASAP and you can always do it whilst pre-drinking or whatever. I never did with my two flatmates and at the end of the year everything escalated into massive arguments. By the end of the second year they were bullying me and by the third year we weren't even talking. So a simple thing by not setting out ground rules (i.e who takes out rubbish on what day, even things like checking to see who has early starts and when or who has to revise for exams so you know not to come in late being loud and such) can lead to something as serious as bullying which will most definitely effect your work.
- Money save all the time. Moneysavingexpert.com is useful, as is using cashback websites. Don't forget if you're running low on supplies, mum will always be happy to post up/bring up some resources! And look around too, you can get a travelcard which is useful if you travel back home by train, and loads of shops offer student discount.
- Finally, have fun. It will be hard and it will get on top of you (which is usually about the time you ring mum!) but it will also be one of the best times of your life. Keep your head down, but also go out and party. Celebrate big, or drown your sorrows big too if you fail an exam. Hook up (safely), make lots of friends, and take lots and lots of photographs!