Written by Siobhan Divers – Student Writer
It is often said that the years we study at school and university are the best of our lives, so it puts a lot of pressure onto making the most out of the experience while learning and having fun all at the same time. Understandably, university is also completely different from school (and college to some extent as well) so transitioning can already be stressful with the added extra pressure of balancing work, study, social life and preparing for adult life also playing on everyone’s minds. But FOMO (fear of missing out) doesn’t have to rule or ruin your university experience. You are entering a really fun and fulfilling chapter in your life – here’s some things you could do while at university:
Don’t forget why you’re there: Not to sound like anyone’s mum but getting a degree is the reason you applied in the first place! Go to as many of your lectures and seminars as possible and try to start planning your assignments in advance. While it isn’t the end of the world if you end up writing an essay the night before its due or even a few hours before the deadline, it is an extra stress you don’t need in your life if you can avoid it so start planning for assignments as early as possible, leaving time to check your work and edit as necessary.
Chat to people: Talk to people on your course, in your lectures, in your classes and labs, in the corridor (you might get sick of introducing yourself to people if you aren’t naturally a chatty person, but I promise you it is worth it). It’s also a good idea to build a contact list for the future so don’t hesitate to start conversations and be friendly – everyone is in the same boat!
Get involved: Join some clubs and societies or use your initiative to create your own society. Not only are you enjoying yourself and meeting new people but you’re also boosting your CV (another reason why most people apply for uni). Making your way into a committee position or putting yourself forward for a student union position could also be a great way to develop transferable skills and increase your chance of employability after university.
Stay open minded: Don’t put yourself off doing things before you’ve tried it. Clubs and societies often host Give-It-A-Go sessions for you to try new things before committing to a year-long membership so take advantage of them! University can be the best time to experiment on things: try new dishes, study a semester abroad, find an internship or work experience in something you’re interested in: there’s so many opportunities for students – grab them with both hands!
Visit local landmarks: From local shops to historical sites, museums and pubs and restaurants, no matter where you’re studying, there will be something you can do in your spare time that doesn’t involve sitting in your flat on your own all the time! And its easy to find out what’s in and around your uni from a quick Google search or a walk around campus.
You can change your course if it’s not for you: If by the end of Freshers Week or the end of your first month at university you decide you aren’t enjoying your course, don’t be afraid to speak to someone. Most universities have a student support network which exists to solve problems like this so make the most of the options at your disposal. You can change specific modules or, in some cases, your whole degree so don’t let one module or one decision ruin your experience or your opinions about university life – don’t force yourself to study a subject you don’t enjoy when there are so many more out there (again uni is about experimenting and trying new things).
Have some me-time: While you shouldn’t forget the reason, you are at university, it’s important to take regular breaks from studying and enjoy a healthy balance between studying and having a social life or (at least) some time away from the books. Binge watch a television series, read a book that wasn’t on the recommended reading list for your course, go on a long walk: the possibilities are endless, enjoy the freedom!
Use your student discount: From cinema tickets to restaurant meals and high street clothing deals, your student card can prove to be very useful when you’re out and about! McDonalds offer a free cheeseburger or mcflurry to students who buy a meal while New Look offer 10% discounts on full price items and The Odeon and Cineworld offer student prices on cinema tickets. While 10% might not seem like a huge amount, it all adds up of course! So, it’s definitely worth an ask when you get to the cash desk (and I guarantee you’ll miss it once you graduate. *cries*)