Having almost finished another year at university, I wanted to talk about all of the things that I wish I had done differently so you can avoid the same mistakes I made! Being the first sibling in my family to attend university, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Not only do you have to get to grips with the university, but you also have to figure out living away from home if you diced to move into halls.
Join more societies
One of the first things I wish I did was join a society in my first year of university. Unexpectedly, this is the easiest year to join a society because there are so many people in the same position as you. Despite there being lots of second- and third-year students re-joining, no one in first year knows what they are doing so everyone is in the same boat!
This is the number one way I found to meet people with the same hobbies and interests as yourself. It is also a great way to keep yourself busy with weekly meet ups and nights out as a society. There will usually be a society night as university where everyone goes out with their society which is great fun!
Of course, you are not limited to just one society which make it even better. You can join and attend as many as you like as long as you pay for your membership.
Make use of the gym and amenities
For the majority of universities, the gym and hiring of the sports halls, etc are usually lots cheaper than external places. For example, my university offered a deal where you could get a three-year membership for £220. This meant that you were paying around £73 a year which is significantly cheaper than other gyms. This also gave us free access to gym classes like spin, yoga and Zumba and free hire of the sports halls eg. Tennis court.
This will also make it easier for you to use the gym before or after your classes as it shouldn’t be to far from campus.
Do a placement year
One of the biggest things I wish I had done differently was to take on a placement year. A placement has so many benefits, not only are the majority of them paid, but they are extremely valued when you apply for graduate schemes.
So if you get the opportunity to change to a placement year course I would highly recommend it! When you start, reach out to your tutor and I am sure they will be happy to talk you through what is available to you and all the benefits it brings.
Research the accommodation available
One of the most imp0ortant things you should do before going into any year at university is to research the accommodation available that year. You will have lots of different options include student halls, student houses or students flats. You can either chose to live with friends or do a house share with other students.
The important thing is to compare all your options based on a few categories, this should include the weekly prices, whether bills are included or excluded, any extras you get such as a gym in your building or a cinema room or anything like that. You will also need to check if your options come with kitchen appliances such as toasters, microwaves and kettles. Also make sure to check things like ironing boards and washing machines. This is important as you will need to know to purchase these things is advance.
Another important factor is to look at where you accommodation in comparison to your campus. Ideally you want this to be within walking distance so that you can avoid paying for public transport.
Attend more Student Union events
Attending more student events is not only a great way to meet new people but its also a great way to blow of some steam and take some chill time. Although the student’s union will do evening events that usually involve drinking, it is important to remember that your student union will also showcase a wide array of event you can go to. Often these can be related to your course that may involved guest speaker events that are experts in your field. So, it is really important to consider all the events your student union has on offer.
My problem was that I was unaware of these events in my first few years at university. You may need to subscribe to a certain email list. Or you may need to dig a bit deeper if you get sent newsletters as they will most likely have the details on.
Join a sports club earlier
Sports clubs is another thing I joined in my third year, and I wish I had joined earlier. The friends you meet through things like sport is amazing! Not only will you meet lots of new people but joining a sports club is also a great way to keep fit.
If you are joining university this year or even if you are returning for your second and third, make sure to avoid the mistakes I made! Research online the available societies and sports clubs that you can join and investigate them a bit more when you arrive at university. Remember that there are so many people who will be turning up to these thigs alone so everyone will be feeling the same way.