So, it’s nearly that time of year when things start to change again – children move up year groups in school, change schools, teachers prepare for new classes and some people start University for the very first time. It can be a nervous but also very exciting time. I know when I was a fresher (three years ago, sob) I loved reading blogs about starting Uni – it made me even more excited and a little less anxious, so I thought I would write my own! Next week I’ll be posting a similar blog but focused specifically on those doing teacher training, so make sure to come back if this applies to you! For this week though, here’s some generic advice for all your freshers – enjoy!
Get yourself out there and meet people.
But at the same time, if you don’t have your own twenty-strong squad by the second week of Fresher’s, don’t panic. Uni is painted as this place where you meet friends for life on the first day but it’s not always the case. Just get out there and meet as many people as you can and you’ll be fine. You’ll naturally meet more people as time goes on.
It may seem obvious and you may have heard it a thousand times before, but PLEASE DO. Above everything else that Uni offers you, you are there and are paying to earn a degree. You won’t get it at the level you want it unless you work hard. I know others who didn’t work hard and look back massively, regretting it. Many people and some students will tell you it’s not really that hard but I don’t agree. I worked really hard for my degree and especially something like teaching, where you’re assessed on your written and practical efforts is tough. And yes, sometimes that means sacrificing pound-a-pint night because you need to put in an all-dayer at the library the following day. Just saying.
But, at the same time you need to enjoy yourself too!
According to some, students don’t deserve time off as they don’t work hard enough. Well FYI people, during most of my terms I would have lectures 9-6 and then have assignments to do alongside. Most worked jobs as well and then we were on placement. So actually, students can work incredibly hard. This is why you need to manage your time so you can have fun times too! Not only going out partying but just having time to read a book, go for walks with your friends, enjoy yourself. After all, Uni is some of the best years of your life. Enjoy them!
Manage your money.
Boring I know. But as we know student finance aren’t exactly going crazy on the handouts. It can be hard, but try your hardest not to go into your overdraft. Treat it as the safety net it is, not as a free bank. Hate to sound like I’m showing off but I managed to get through every year of Uni without going into my overdraft and without getting handouts from anyone else, not even my parents. I did get a high grant which definitely helped but really try hard to manage money. Do you really need that third takeaway of the week? Or would it maybe be cheaper to cook in bulk? Do you really need to buy a third round of drinks for those people you’ve only just met, or can they maybe get their own just this time? Little things, but you’ll thank yourself at the start of January when you go back to Uni and the prospect of eating toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner isn’t exactly inviting.
Do not procrastinate.
Uni can often feel like a cycle of guilt. If you haven’t got a scheduled lecture, you should be revising. If you’re not revising you should be reading. If you’re not reading, you should be at a seminar. If you’re not at your seminar then, quite frankly, what are you doing? There will always be something to do but you just need to manage your time and DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. While laying in bed all day refreshing social media seems tempting (and trust me, I’ve been there) try to get up at a reasonable time and get things done. Then you’ll feel a lot less guilty and be able to enjoy the time you’re not working more.
And for God’s sake – SLEEP.
Please sleep. Just a bit? Find the time. You’ll feel so much more able to complete the day’s tasks if you get enough sleep. I know the consecutive nights out are tempting and all that but you’re not going to get the most out of your course if you spend the whole three years running on empty. (This also doesn’t mean you can sleep in until 3pm every day either, it means get a regular sleeping pattern).
So, now I well and truly feel like your Mum lecturing you, I think that’s enough advice. Above everything, I urge you to enjoy it. The years will fly past quicker than you can imagine and, for most, you only have the one shot. So seriously, enjoy them. They’ll likely be some of the best years of your life.
Come back next week for a similar post but specifically focused on a teaching degree!