September. Cheers of delight from A Level results day melt into cheers of “down it, Fresher!” from the student bar. Starting university is a huge upheaval. Freshers’ Week typically involves a lot of heaving, of various kinds, before the practicalities of living away from home, finding a new group of mates and studying solo set in. It can be scary, exciting, bewildering, confusing and ball bustingly fun, so here our wise third year student, Alex Badrick, offers out some words of advice to all you freshers out there…
As I enter my final year, the last two are mostly a blur. I know I’ve learnt a lot – the majority related to the Biology degree I’m forking out for – so I’ve racked my brain for the best nuggets of advice I can provide.
Here we go:
- Try hard to avoid glandular fever. The kissing disease is about as pleasant as a live performance by Cheryl Cole and equally as debilitating. University is often a place of excess. Enjoy yourself but stay safe. Try and be a bit sensible. The moral of the story is, don’t kiss too many strangers.
- Make sure to kiss some strangers though. Leave your inhibitions at home with your school uniform. I arrived in my first student flat stuttering and shy – find things that boost your confidence: join a society, learn a language, take up competitive knitting – do the sort of crazy things only students have time to do. Then find a balance, there’s nothing at all wrong with retreating to bed occasionally with The Wire and a pizza.
- Talk to as many people as you can. They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. It’s better to make a bunch of new friends you can whittle down than to spend three years on your Larry. You’re all in the same boat, so grab any opportunity to mingle by the balls and go for it. What;s the worst that could happen?
- Find opportunities to procure free food. Art shows are good for this, as is volunteering. Foraging could work, but maybe not if you study in a city. Remember to eat. It’s harder than you think, and lay off the takeaways a little – gyms are expensive. Impress your flatmates if you have any culinary skills, and be prepared to amaze people if you can iron.
- Volunteer. See above. It’s a great way to meet new people, try new things and really, really boosts your CV. Don’t forget, you’ll probably need a job after you graduate, but don’t just focus on your degree. I mean, how many geography teachers does one country need? No one expects 100%. Round yourself out, do interesting things. Try for at least a 2:1.
- Call your parents. They worry about you. Don’t forget your friends from home.
- Ignore me. As with all advice, it’s probably best ignored. You’ll find your own way in the end. Think about what you want from university, and go get it. This is the freest and most energetic you will probably be. Don’t let life pass you by. ENJOY YOURSELF.