10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

Posted on 03/12/2018

Here at EDUopinions we aim to help and advise prospective students, through honest reviews from past and present students, describing their experiences at university. We also provide articles on universities around the world to give new students a better understanding of university life and which university could hold their dream course.

In this article I aim to outline the ten things that I wish I had known before I started my psychology course at Edge Hill University, in hope that it will help any potential university-goers better understand what being a student is like.

 

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1. Budgeting

When you receive your first student loan in September you feel like the richest student in the world, however, it is important to remember that you must pay your rent and sometimes bills on top of this if you are not living in halls. In most cases, this can remove over half of your funds, with money still needed for food, clothes, and having a good time. Therefore, it is important to create a budget and work out exactly how much you can spend each week. You don’t have to worry too much about sticking exactly to your aims, as if you go over budget, you can lower your budget the next week and vice-versa.

 

2. Referencing

When I was in Sixth Form, I didn’t understand how referencing worked, I thought you solely put the name of the author and the date of publication, although whether you are referencing using APA or Harvard Referencing, it is a lot more complicated. However, there are always helpful guides to follow which make referencing a lot easier. A further tip, try not to leave referencing until the end of an essay and the last minute as it can lead to making mistakes and therefore losing easy marks.

 

3. Stress Management

When getting overwhelmed by assignments it’s easy to get stressed by your workload, but you must remember that everybody is in the same position as you. Everyone has assignments to complete, so you don’t need to worry, you’re not on your own. Furthermore, I find that creating To-Do lists helps me reduce stress, I write down everything that I have to do that day, week, or month, however little or insignificant it may seem and cross it off when I’ve completed it. As well as this, I like to print off sheets with all my assignments and due dates on them and stick them to my wall, so I can see exactly what I have to do during a semester.

 

4. University Societies

You are always told how important it is to join societies at university, but you are never told which societies to join. Often the mistake that first-year students make is that they join every single society that they have the vaguest interest in and try and attend everything that they do. Clearly, this is impossible, so my advice in hindsight would be to try and play a vital role in one society and if you desire less vocal roles in a couple of other societies. This leaves you time to study and socialise in a less structured format.

 

5. Freshers Flu

Everyone has heard of Freshers Flu, and it isn’t a myth! Unless you spend your first month of university locked in your bedroom and refuse to converse with anybody, you are going to get ill, but don’t panic, Freshers Flu isn’t major – just bring some soup, and painkillers with you on Freshers Week and you’ll be just fine.

 

6. Railcard

If you go to a university far away from your hometown and plan on visiting home frequently or even just for holidays and birthdays, it may be beneficial for you to get a railcard. Travelling by train with a railcard reduces costs by a 1/3 and sometimes with a long enough journey one trip can pay for the cost of the railcard on its own. I would recommend a railcard to all students as money saved on train journeys can be used on more enjoyable things.

 

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7. Cooking

Before going to University everyone tends to learn the simple recipes such as pasta and noodles, however when you’ve had pasta and tomato sauce for the fourth time in a week, it can get a little bit boring. I would advise all prospective students to learn a few more exciting recipes to spice up their meal times, for example, pasta bakes, chilli con carne, and stir-fry are all simple, cheap and can be made for multiple people, or meals. Check out our piece on the 5 easiest meals students can make.

 

8. Know Your Limits

At university it is important to know your limits – with everything – be that alcohol, socialising, or your workload, you need to know when to stop and take a break. It’s okay to stop and take a night off if your friends are going out, to catch up on your work, or just to relax and watch a film, and likewise, if work is stressing you out it is okay to take a break from that and go out and have fun. Furthermore, if you are out and don’t want to drink anymore, you don’t have to, its okay to order a water or a soft drink from the bar.

 

9. Be Social

When you first start university it can be scary, but it’s crucial that you make sure you socialise, be that with your flatmates, course colleagues, or fellow society members, or else it can be very lonely. When in your flat try and sit in public areas or keep the door to your room open to encourage people to come and speak to you, and so that you look inviting. As well as this, try and create or join as many group chats as possible so you know when social events are going on.

 

10. Have Fun

In my opinion, this is the most important tip out of all ten I have given. At some points, you may forget about this due to being focused on work but try to remember to have fun at university as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You will meet some friends for life and create memories that you will never forget so always remember to have fun.

 

In Conclusion

I hope I have helped any prospective or current students reading this to further understand university life. With these tips that I have learned through my own experiences at university you should have an enjoyable time and be able to come out with great memories and grades. However, at the end of the day university is a learning experience and you will eventually learn everything I have told you in your own way.

Written by
James
Coming from a small town in the Cotswolds named Stow-on-the-Wold, James Clarke has recently completed his degree in Psychology at Edge Hill University. He has studied Clinical & Abnormal Psychology and Psychology in the Virtual World, among other areas. Currently, he wants to further his career and become more independent.
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