As UCAS deadlines to confirm your university offer draws closer, I think it’s appropriate to come up with a couple of university tips- not just a regular kind, but a “stuff they don’t tell you in brochures” kind. In no particular order, let’s begin.

1. Leave your fancy kitchen equipment at home

That matching 6 piece set of rose gold cutlery and crockery along with your brand new pots, pans, chopping board, knives, baking tray, measuring cups, etc. may no doubt make you feel like a ‘real’ adult. But let me just warn you in advance (and this is especially true if you’re staying Rootes which is notorious for its kitchen resembling a crime scene), you’re definitely not going to leave university with all of them intact. I’ll even go as far as to predict that your inner Gordan Ramsey that inspired you to make those purchases will probably end up settling for instant noodles and/or frozen pizza at some point. Not to make student cooking sound horrible-it really does not have to be, but let’s just say you’re better off buying some basic IKEA kitchen equipment.

2. Random society talks are a life saver

I’m now about to let you in on one of the best kept secrets of student life- FREE PIZZA. So, many societies hold talks in the evening and they often provide free pizza in order to entice students and maximize attendance. If you don’t have the time or patience to organize your own dinner, just attend these talks and its sorted! I do realize how hobo-ish this sounds but trust me you’ll soon understand this beautiful phase of student life. And hey- who knows, you might even end up enjoying the talk! As you’ll be on campus for your first year, take advantage of it and attend as many of them as possible. These talks are really interesting as their often based on current affairs so it’s a shame that, since I now live in Leamington, I hardly went to any this year.

3. University is very different to school

This brings me to my next point: learning at university is very different to learning at school. I’m sure most of you know that unlike school learning at university is a lot more self-directed. It is not so much your attendance or, and this is especially true for a Politics degree, memorizing stuff off the lecture slides. Think of it as a gym membership: attending university is like purchasing the membership, going to lectures is like listening to your personal trainer, actually working out is like doing the reading, and finally making lifestyle changes such as eating healthier is like having an open mind when it comes to learning such as attending interesting talks. Weird analogy, I know. But the point is, lectures are not the be all end all- it’s really not the end of the world if you miss a couple either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing skipping classes. All I’m trying to say is take charge of your own learning and university experience.

4. Make the most out of first year

With this in mind, make the most out of first year. They may not tell you this on the brochure but, in my opinion, the things one learns from simply being away from home, society involvement, and travelling is often understated. Even though your course is the main reason you’re at university, don’t drown yourself in books at the expense of forgetting to take part in things that are personally enriching. Did you know you can take part in Jailbreak- a charity hitchhiking event? Or Skydive through Warwick RAG? We’re lucky that for our course the first year does not count so explore new things, find yourself, and make some memories. The time certainly does not come back.