Lessons learned from starting university
Everyone learns different things about themselves — and the world — when they start university. For my first blog, I thought I’d round up some random lessons I’ve learned, big and small. Some of them are a bit idiosyncratic, but some might help you!
- Your personality will not completely change when you start uni.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I definitely did this when going from primary to secondary school, year 11 to 6 form and 6 form to uni: I have a mental image of what my life will be like and it involves a version of me who doesn’t exist. Case in point: I brought several nice dresses to uni. I’ve never really been one for parties or clubbing or wearing dresses in general. Why did I think I would be at uni?
I also thought I’d instantly meet my best friends for ever – that’s what everyone does in freshers’ week, right? Nope, turns out I’m still socially awkward and take a while to get to know people.
I think getting to know and love yourself, warts and all, is far healthier than expecting to be different and disappointing yourself by being the same old you. You will change at uni – but it will take time.
- You don’t have to be ultra-frugal.
I know a lot of students go a bit too far the other way, but for some reason I decided starting uni should be an exercise in living on as little money as possible. I didn’t really buy snacks or ‘treat’ food at all. And do you know what it did? Made me miserable. And hungry. Even if you’re not earning, your maintenance loan is there for a reason and you might even be lucky enough to, like me, have a family who can bail you out in an emergency, or some savings to live off.
Work out where you can save (bike over bus, make your own food, buy second-hand, etc.) and don’t deprive yourself of all joy.
- Try out societies before you buy a membership.
Most societies don’t mind if you turn up for a few sessions without a membership – some will even have taster events. It’s definitely worth giving loads of interesting-looking societies a go, but you don’t have to buy loads of memberships straight away. This is a good way to save money.
- There is nothing wrong with going home.
Another case of “what the hell was I thinking?”: I thought that all students were confident, independent adults and if you had homesickness at first, you just had to tough it out and you’d be fine.
I’m really close to my family and got horribly homesick in my first year (something I’ll definitely write more about in the future so stay tuned!) but for some reason thought going home lots was a sign of weakness.
Now, I’ve realised loads of students go home regularly and its nothing to be ashamed of. I basically go home whenever I can, and don’t feel nearly so homesick anymore. After all, what’s embarrassing about having an awesome family you love being with?
- Keep bread in the fridge.
Look, just do it. A family of six and a single person consume bread at different rates. It will go mouldy if you don’t put it in a fridge or freezer.