So just a few more weeks and my first year fresher life will be up and I’ll be going on Summer break and coming back a second year student! My life as a fresher has had its good points and its bad points and its damn well ugly points! So I was thinking what things do I wish I had known before I came to University last September? Well…
Loans and Overdrafts run out VERY quick, It’s all cool when you look into your bank balance and you see a shining beautiful sum of cash within the thousands, but believe me that runs out faster than you can blink. I discussed this a lot of the time with my friends about where our money goes when we have nothing and everyone says roughly the same thing ‘I don’t even know what it got spent on?!?!’ Many times have I withdrawn £20 and the next day it’s all gone and all I have to show for it is a packet of crisps and a basic shop? I’m not sure if there is a magical Uni overdraft stealing fairy but I wish I listened to people who warned me before I came that money goes so quickly.
Pre-meeting your flatmates helps A LOT! I only met one flat mate before I moved in and we met over Facebook, but now looking back to it everyone had already met everyone by the time they got to Uni so I felt like that’s probably something I should have thought about before hand.
I will be kissing goodbye the luxuries I enjoyed everyday. Now looking back I wish I didn’t take things like sweets, magazines and such for granted because now I rarely get a chance to get them because I’m so broke.
Bring extra cutlery. It’s not cool when you have someone over for dinner and you only have one set of cutlery and one plate…Awkward. Plus a lot of the time people either take/steal or ‘borrow’ your kitchen ware which can get annoying as most of it never actually returns! When I first came to University we only packed like one plate, few bowls and cups and couple knives and forks but by the end of my second semester I had like one plate left in my possession. BUY EXTRA!
So it’s coming to the end of my first year at University and I was just reflecting on what I have learnt from being here away from home with complete strangers in a tiny flat and going to University with thousands of other students each day. University has been an experience, there was funny moments, sad homesick moments and damn right strange what the hell moments.
So without further a due here are my top 10 things that University has taught me:
People will eat your food, even if they don’t live in your flat and they’re just visiting another flatmate. If it isn’t locked away in your cupboard it’s going to be gone when you go looking for it. The fridge is open game for anyone, you have to share one space for everyone’s dairy and meat products which means thing’s like milk, cheese and bacon which is like the price of gold when you’re a broke student goes missing very quickly. Countless times has my cheese been eaten, grated, taken and my newly brought milk has been drunk before I can even get myself a cup of tea.
You have to learn how to do things for yourself. The washing machine wont pull out extendable arms and throw your washing in for you and do it all for you with the right measurements of powder and comfort, nope you have to learn that all. I even started hand washing my clothes because I got so good at it! From my first year I’ve learnt to sew broken/ripped clothes, cook meat the right way, how to do washing, how to look after myself when I’m sick and all because I had to be independent.
Introducing yourself and making friends can be easy but also hard as well. When I came to University everyone seemed to have their cliques all sorted out, friends previously made, this was daunting but eventually you’ll meet people just like you who is finding it hard as well and there! you have your first friend. However University has also taught me that someone that you swap phone numbers with in the first week wont necessarily be your friend at the end of the first year.
Take away’s lure students in by the dozen by offering cheap prices that are a little suspicious to say the least! Then you find out that £1 chicken and chips has given you the worst belly ache the next day and your new best friend is the toilet for the day. Uni has taught me and thousands of other students that not all fast food is a good idea because take away’s know we haven’t got the money to be fussy.
Not everyone has the same hygiene standards as me. Regular urine puddles on the toilet floor, sick over the rim of the toilet and an overflowing bin. Need I say more? But It’s University, you have to deal with living with these people for one year, might as well not start a war over it. Just look forward to that second year apartment where you know you’ll keep it spotless without them living with you!
The days of buying brand name food goes out the window once you start Uni you start saving the pennies by cutting back on things like not eating Heinz and going for the cheaper dodgier super market own brand beans instead which eventually taste horrid anyway. Every penny counts! When I got to University I was shocked to learn that alcohol is cheaper than a glass of apple juice in all the local restaurants and pubs, so many students drink heavy amounts.
When your loan comes through it looks oh so beautiful right? You get the sudden urge to act the billionaire and flash the cash and what happens if you do that? You end up begging your flatmates to share their food cause you’re so broke you can’t even get some food shopping. Save the Loan!
It’s very easy to dislike someone. At University there are thousands of students and chances are you wont like all of them, you may not even like any of them. It’s easy at University to become frustrated with flat mates or people on your course, especially when they feel the same way about you as well, things can get a little out of hand in that scenario so try to avoid conflict.
Students get lots of discounts! No joke! Supermarkets, stores, retailers and various other outlets pour out student discounts, offers and lock ins all year round. Prime time to pick up discounts and things is at freshers fairs! I think I came home with two bags of freebies and offers at the start of University in September. So take advantage of this!
It’s good to join societies. People told me this before I came to University and I was like ‘Why would I join that…’ but it’s true, the easiest way to make friends or get involved is by societies. I joined a few and gained high authority positions within the societies within 2 months of starting Uni and I never felt more involved in University. Yes in freshers week everyone pressures you to join their society at the freshers fair, but as daunting as that is take the opportunity to eat all the free cake, sweets and goodies (believe me there will be loads) but sign up for things that interest you. You wont regret it.