The tail-end of the holiday season is among us, ladies. Honestly, where on earth is the year going? It’s like, 2018, how dare you run away from us like this?
Are you a soon-to-be university student, and nervous about starting a newer, bigger season as this one is about to end? In the spirit of all things back-to-school, let’s talk about your must-haves for the year(s) ahead. Not the kind you think, though. You’ve probably got the pens, pencils and laptop bag shopping cornered off, but what about preparing yourself for spaces, faces and quite possibly unexpected daily challenges?
As someone who’s rode the university/college train twice, it can be quite the overwhelming ride, and I mean both times around. But how do you go with bravery, buckle in and make the most of every second of it?🎒#University can be quite the overwhelming ride the first time around...So how do you go with bravery, buckle in and make the most of every second of it? 📚🖇#UniversitySurvivalGuide Click To Tweet
Consider moving from home and staying close to campus
My first time going to uni, I didn’t attend one I was particularly in love with. I kept to myself as much as possible and tried to stay off campus whenever I didn’t have a lecture or meeting.
The second time was when I’d moved to England. A choice I made wholeheartedly and wanted for a long time. Let me just say, the most life-changing student experience typically happens when you’re sort of gently nudged away from home. So consider this a gentle nudge from me. While I didn’t live on campus, I was still technically ‘away from home’ in more ways than one. Even if you’re in your city and country of birth, moving away from home when you start university allows you to be 1000% immersed in the student environment and all the fun it has to offer. (Hey, it also helps that you’re a stone’s throw away from class and can sleep in a bit later than most.)
Whether you choose to live on campus or near to campus on private accommodation, finding student accommodation near you is effortless nowadays. I’ve found that living near to my university made the exhausting days more bearable (rejoice for short commutes after all-nighters stuck in the library and back-to-back lectures). It also helps you to occasionally ‘turn off’ from student responsibilities, totally free of guilt.
Taking on new responsibilities
Consider it a tall glass of Adulting Lite, if you will. If you let it, university-life can be one big teaching moment, and I mean outside of the lecture room. Never been the type to oh, I dunno, iron your own clothes, do your own laundry or create and stick to a budget? No better time than this one to get some practice.
You learn a lot of things becoming a student at university and moving away from home, but one of the biggest will be the added responsibility you start to have.
What’s the most challenging responsibility you worry is awaiting you at university?
Soaking up all the social happenings around campus
Part of being a student means that you can enjoy the almost endless social events on offer. The night outs, the chances to meet people, try new experiences and have some fun. I’m all for a well-rounded student life, and odds are your university has a bit of everything for everyone no matter your interests or quirks. Quidditch club, anyone? Yup, it’s a thing.
PRO TIP: If you’re a little overwhelmed at the idea of going out and interacting with completely new people, join a few student societies or volunteer projects during the first official week of classes. Forming friendships this way works because everyone around you is new as well and probably equally as nervous about being surrounded by new people. Connecting over a shared interest or hobby gives you the perfect tool with which you can break the ice. My favourite go-to question, after we introduce ourselves to each other? “How long have you been (fill in the blank)? Works every time.
Embracing the friendships you can make
Finally, many would say that the friendships that they make at university are the ones that last a lifetime. Some even meet their future husbands and wives at university. These are, after all, the people you’re sharing this new chapter of life with, These are the ones with whom you’ll share some of your wildest, and most unforgettable memories (y’know the stuff you’ll frame for the walls of your new home, and tell stories about to your grandchildren). The friends you can trust not to tag you in that one Facebook photo from a wild night out where you looked every bit as tipsy as you felt. The friends you’ll share the “Remember when we _____!!” moments with.
One tried and true way of keeping friendships going strong is by showing a genuine interest in the people that you connect with. Try to ask questions and listen more than you talk. Ask open-ended questions taht really allow the persons to share how what they think and why. Remember as much as you can about what they share with you, so when you meet up again at class, or at the next student entrepreneurs meeting, it won’t be another awkward moment! P.s. people love when you remember things about them, and when you allow them to share things about themselves.
If you’re considering going (or going back) to university, I hope you’ll consider these four ways of making it the most memorable and life-changing experiences ever. My first go-round, I didn’t do very much of these things, but the second time, for my Masters degree, I pulled out all the stops and it has really been a life-changer. The experiences will change you, the memorable moments will bring smiles to your face, and of course, there’s always Facebook where you can look back and reminisce not only on what you learnt in the classroom, but the people, places and experiences you learnt from.
So go for it, and I hope my little ‘university survival guide’ was helpful! Let me know how your first day went!