Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it’s not something you get until it’s too late. When starting University for the first time it can be difficult to know what you should and shouldn’t do, and it’s not until it’s too late that you think about what you could have done differently. Therefore, we’ve created a list of the top 10 things ‘I wish I knew before starting University’ so you don’t make the same mistakes as students before you.
- Try new things
There is so much going on when you start University, so many societies and new experiences to try. Make sure you put yourself out there and try some new things. You don’t have to try absolutely everything, just pick one or two things. It is better to have tried and not liked it, than to have never tried and regret it.
- Find the balance between University and home
It can be difficult to find a balance between the time you spend at University and the time you spend at home. It’s important to find time for you friends and family at home but you also don’t want to miss out on the University experience. Just find a split that you are happy with and that gives you the best of both worlds.
- Meet your personal tutor
Make sure you meet your personal tutor at the start of the year. They’re who you will go to if you have any problems throughout your time at University, so it is important you know them and have a relationship with them. They’re also who you will request a reference from when applying for jobs after University, so it’s pretty useful if they know you and like you.
- You don’t have to go on every night out
In Newcastle, it is completely possible to go out every night of the week. There is always something on and it can be hard to say no. Remind yourself that it is okay to say no, if you’re tired or you’re running low on funds, skipping one night out probably isn’t a bad idea. Don’t let FOMO consume you!
- Get some earplugs
One of the simplest yet most crucial things you can take with you to University are earplugs. Student accommodation is never quiet, there is always someone up and about making a noise. If you’re a light sleeper, earplugs will be a life saver!
- Don’t leave everything till the last minute
It can be tempting, when you have deadlines that are weeks away, to put off starting your assignments. DON’T. Time goes very fast and before you know it, your assignment is due tomorrow and you haven’t even started. There is no harm in completing your work before the deadline. In fact, it will save you a great deal of stress and late nights in the library.
- Reference as you go along
This will save you so much time and so many headaches! Every time you use a source in your essay, add it to your references then and there. You do not want to get to the end of your essay, think you’re done and then realise you haven’t done your references. You’ll then have to go back and find all the sources you’ve used in your essay – it’s an absolute nightmare!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
It can be daunting, in a lecture filled with students, to speak up if you have a question, but it will make your life so much easier if you can get the answer to your question then and there. If you don’t want to speak up during the lecture, lecturers often hang around for a couple of minutes at the end so make sure you ask them then. It will also help them get to know you and put a face to the name.
- Buy your books second hand
Textbooks can be ridiculously expensive if you buy them from a bookshop and even from Amazon. Check out eBay or any University Facebook groups to see if anyone is selling the textbooks you need. Often, students will sell these after they have finished with them. This could save you a lot of money that could be used for more exciting things.
- Your overdraft is not free money
It can be very easy to just dip into your overdraft if you are running low on cash but it’s a slippery slope. Once you get into your overdraft it can be difficult to get back out and remember you will eventually have to pay it back!