Last week is, and always has been, a very crucial week for many people. Of course, I am talking about the dreaded A-Level Results Day – where teenagers everywhere find out if they’ve achieved the grades needed to secure their university places.
Thankfully, a lot of people do. And for those who don’t, there is always the chance to go through clearing and find another course just as exciting.
It’s an exciting time for everyone, but also a nerve racking time. For parents, for friends, and for the soon to be first-year undergraduates themselves.
Going into university, there are lots of things you may be concerned about – I, myself, felt extremely nervous and unprepared, and so I thought it would be a goo to address some worries and share some tips that helped me prepare for life as a university student.
Concern Number One –
It is very clear that university, as a whole, is expensive, and with growing concerns as to how to tackle such high costs, soon to be students hit panic mode.
Tip Number One –
Keep on Top of your Finances.
Your income – more specifically your Maintenance Loan – is based on your parents’ income [*something which I’d like to point out seems quite unfair*]. This means there is a chance that your accommodation and food may not be covered in its entirety by the loan. If you believe this is possible, I suggest having a thorough clear-out before you leave. If while packing, you find things you no longer want or need, car-boot them/ sell them, and save up for the new items you’ll need at university.
Concern Number Two –
The Fear of Forgetting Something.
Because there is so much to sort out in one go, examples being your accommodation, ID, online university email address, health care forms, etc, you may feel overwhelmed and worry you’re forgetting to do something important.
Tip Number Two –
Checklist. Checklist. Checklist.
I cannot stress enough how helpful a checklist is, especially if there are deadlines for submission. It may also come in handy when making a list of items you need for university. Going from room to room in your house and looking through cupboards and drawers may prompt you to remember the smaller things you need to take. Always remember, that there is no harm, ever, in being too prepared.
Concern Number Three –
Even if you’re not normally shy or introverted, university can make you feel that way, at least for a little while. For every student, the question of Will I make friends? will crop up at some point.
Tip Number Three –
Once you have been accepted into university, it is normally the case that you’ll be added to a chat [*normally via course subject or accommodation*] on Facebook. This was the case when I got my place at Warwick. On there, you’ll be able to introduce yourself, and this may ease the nerves of first day meetings. Two of the people I spoke to in my chat ended up in my twelve person flat, and so it was nice to have some familiarity on the first day.
Concern Number Four –
Getting Familiar with the Campus.
Moving away from your home town to university can be daunting, and so can familiarising yourself with your university campus.
Tip Number Four –
Most campuses have interactive, online maps, as well as paper versions. And although the campus will seem so large in the beginning, you’ll eventually fall into a routine of knowing where to go and what to do. And remember, no lecturer or tutor is going to be mad if you get lost in the first week or two and arrive late – it happens every year.
Concern Number Five –
Is University for Me?
Realising university life isn’t your thing, when there is such pressure on our generation to go, may make it hard to admit you don’t actually want to commit to your chosen degree.
Tip Number Five –
Be Honest with Yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your university or any university at all in fact, it is better to say something than not. Having waited a year to attend university myself, and having multiple friends who have gone and then dropped out, I can safely say having a break before committing yourself is a fine and well thought out idea. Never feel pressured to stay somewhere you don’t want to be – if you’re getting into such a ridiculous amount of debt, you may as well do it at a university you like, or doing a course you like, than one you don’t.
I hope for any of you heading to university, that this blog post has eased your anxieties slightly. I wish you all good luck with your first year, and hope you have a wonderful time!