Sunday, 16 September 2018

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

I'm now at the beginning of my second year of college, which is a completely crazy concept to me. First year went by so quickly, and while I have grown and changed and learned so much as a person, there are definitely a few things I wish I had known before starting college instead of learning the hard way. I'm hoping to take these things in with me to second year, and hope that those of you just starting your third level journeys can take something from this collection of thoughts too.

The first thing I'd have to say is, don't buy everything on your reading list. I'm not sure if I've ever explicitly stated this on my blog, but I study English, and as one might expect, the reading lists are huge and there are just books and books and essays and poems and so much more that is planned for the year. It's really expensive to try to buy all of them, and you probably won't enjoy every piece of writing you're asked to read, so having a physical copy sometimes just isn't worth it. The other side of it is, the deeper into the semester you are, the less likely it becomes that you're actually going to go to every lecture and read every book. So I'd recommend either borrowing books from the library, downloading free digital copies (think iBooks) or buying cheap editions of books (think Wordsworth editions). Definitely treat yourself to a few books you're excited to read, but owning every book is simply not worth it. 

Secondly, take advantage of your university's societies... but don't join all of them. The temptation to join societies in Fresher's Week is extreme. Everyone seems so nice, and the free stuff they're offering along with the cheap membership rates just makes everything even harder to resist. Maybe joining the knitting society would be fun, maybe I'll learn how to play snooker. The truth is, you probably won't go to the society events if you're only joining on the spur of the moment. Research which societies you'd like to join in advance. So many of them will have social media accounts. And if you know of anyone who's gone to the same university as you before you, you can chat to them about what they know. Joining societies is a great way to create a social outlet for yourself, and maybe even to pick up new skills. If there's something crazy you've always wanted to try, the chances are, there will be a club for it. Just don't join too many!

In the first few weeks of college, there will probably be a lot of free food being offered to you. People want you to sign up (for free) to newsletters, the Student's Union wants to welcome you, some random company you've never heard of will be promoting themselves with packets of crisps. Take the free food because before much longer, the free food supply dries up and you have to buy it all for yourself. You can save up the free food (provided it's snack-style) for days where you have loads of work to do and not the time to buy yourself anything. If the item is something you can't eat or won't eat, you can always give it to your friends who will be more than happy to take it off your hands!

Life is so much easier if you keep up with your readings and homework. It's college! You have so much more freedom than ever before. The temptation is just to party or nap or socialize the whole time. And honestly a balance of those is good, but please, for the sake of your own sanity, keep up with the weekly workload. It's so daunting at first, like how on earth am I supposed to read 3 books a week? but I promise, the more you do it, the easier and faster the whole thing gets. So then, when exam time rolls around, you'll be way less stressed and won't have to do any catching up, just a bit of horrible studying.

That's all I'll say for now, but I hope some of these tips were new or helpful for you! Please share any tips you have for incoming college students in the comments. Let's help each other out!


p.s. photo credz to my sister!

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