How to survive university from someone who has (so far)

Photo: Sarah Parrott/ Flickr.

Photo: Sarah Parrott/ Flickr.

Freshers’ week is both the most exciting and nerve-wracking time of any student’s life. A new city, new friends and a new course can all sound pretty daunting at first, so here are The Linc’s steps to help you survive.

Tip 1: Your health comes first
Although it’s hard to avoid, put up a fight against the dreaded ‘Freshers’ Flu’ and all the other bugs that spread like wildfire through student flats by taking Vitamin C tablets and daily multivitamins, as well as eating a healthy and balanced diet. This may sound unimportant, but trust me – those 9am lectures are hard enough to get through without battling the flu as well!

Tip 2: Stay organised

Photo: Saaleha Bamjee/ Flickr.

Photo: Saaleha Bamjee/ Flickr.

Organisation is key when studying starts. The best way to do this is to get a diary and/or a whiteboard planner for your room to keep on top of assignments and events. University can be very hectic so knowing your plans for the coming weeks and months is essential.

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you have any worries speak to your tutor or favourite lecturer. Too many people avoid doing this out of embarrassment but they really are there to help and advise you. A quick email is all it usually takes to find out more information about an assignment, although a meeting can be set up if needed.

Tip 4: Making friends
Making friends is so easy at university, and its also an essential part of your new life. Go to as many events as possible and keep out of your room. If you do fancy a night in, which we all do from time to time, invite a couple of your flatmates, course mates or student neighbours to watch a film or have a games night with you.

Tip 5: Stay busy and social

Photo: Geneva Vanderzeil apairandasparediy.com/ Flickr.

Photo: Geneva Vanderzeil apairandasparediy.com/ Flickr.

Although Fresher’s Week is the time to get out there, meet people and have fun, there are plenty of ways to stay social afterwards. Consider joining a society, writing for your university’s newspaper (a very good idea!) or attending local events across the city.

Tip 6: Make the most of student nights
When it comes to clubs and bars, many of them offer cheap entry prices and drinks deals on designated student nights. These are not only cheaper than the regular nights – and what student would say no to a cheap deal? – but they’re also usually a lot more fun!

Tip 7: Manage your time
Give yourself time to plan your assignments before you get stuck in. Diving head first into an essay with no structure is a difficult feat, so keep it simple by doing a basic plan of what to include in each paragraph. You’d be surprised how easy it gets once the topic is broken down, even if essays are your worst nightmare! Also, if possible, get your assignment finished a week early and send it to your lecturer for feedback. Although they can’t give you a grade, they’ll be able to advise you on how to improve.

Tip 8: Learn to cook

Photo: SomeDriftwood/ Flickr.

Photo: SomeDriftwood/ Flickr.

Eating the typical student diet of pizza and chips may sound appealing for the time being, it’s really not good for you in the long term. Learning to cook a few healthy meals rather than eating out of the kebab shop every day is a good way to start, with many student cook books on offer to suit everyone’s cooking abilities and tastes.

Tip 9: Take every opportunity you get
Don’t miss out on events just to lay in bed. And don’t pass on the first course or flat social to watch Netflix on your own. University is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it truly is what you make it.

Tip 10: Homesickness is normal – don’t worry
It’s completely normal to feel homesick at times, so don’t be shy about calling home once in a while, or even everyday – your family will probably appreciate it just as much as you.

Tip 11: Don’t get down about the grading system
Forget your old grading system. In school and sixth form, getting a grade of 60% would probably seem disappointing, but at university, this results in a much sought after 2:1. The top ‘grade’ is called a first, and requires a score of at least 70%. The assignments and grading system are very different to school, so get to grips with it before feeling disappointed about what is realistically a good grade.

Tip 12: Everyone’s in the same boat
It may sound like a cliche, but it’s true! Don’t be afraid to randomly say hello to somebody in your class or strike up a conversation with your new flatmate, because they will be feeling just as nervous as you. Even in third year, people are always incredibly open to making new friends, so just enjoy the next three years of your life – they really will be the best!

Photo: University of Leicester/ Flickr.

Photo: University of Leicester/ Flickr.