Surviving and Enjoying the First Year

Freedom, new friends and of course some studying...making sure you get through it and have a great time

You may be feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety at the prospect of starting university. If youíre living away from home for the first time donít worry about not knowing where the nearest corner shop is or whether youíll like your room. The other new starters are in the same situation as you, so take comfort in this fact and look to the positives: freedom, new friends, studying what youíre interested in, and well, more freedom.

This year could well turn out to be one of the best youíve ever experienced, youíll form new and exciting bonds with people, have countless adventures and most of all youíll feel deeply satisfied at knowing you can fend for yourself. The tips below might help you along in the beginning.

The First Few Weeks

If youíve moved into a new area, find out where your nearest GP, supermarket, post office and corner shop are in the first few days.

Keep all correspondence you are sent relating to you degree, student loan, tenancy agreement, etc in a safe easy to find place, you never know when you may need these.

Join clubs and societies to make friends. Also, simply by going out and socialising in the evenings youíre bound to meet people. Check out the Student Union bar and other Uni events.

Tempting as it may be try not to spend your entire student loan at the beginning of your course by going out every night. You can save money by using your Student Union card to get into places. Think of cheap activities; a bottle of wine and a DVD round yours, house parties, or scout events listings for free things to do.

Exchange numbers or email addresses with a few people in your class so you can get notes if you miss a lecture. Find out whether there are handouts available, or whether the lectures are available online.

Be disciplined about your study time. As boring as it sounds, it makes sense to dedicate a little time to your coursework/studying right from the beginning. Cramming it all in on the eve of exam day means a stressful sleepless night and not feeling your best the following day. If you find you start off on the right foot and then slowly let your social life take over every evening take a step back and plan your time. Perhaps you have a couple of free hours during the day at the weekend, or an evening when you donít go out like a Monday night?

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