What to expect in your first year at university.

Hello again, 

I hope you are all well and having a good week. As I have just completed another piece of coursework I thought now would be a good time to get a blog piece up on time. As some of you will be heading to university for the first time come September I thought it would be a good idea to go through what to expect as leaving home for the first time is a pretty big step.  Making the transition from high school to university can be a daunting situation. There are a lot of expectations when you start university and of course, there are the student stereotypes of crazy freshers’ weeks, cheap beer and the occasional lecture but what can first year students really expect from their first year at university?

The first thing to note is that looking back at my first year, your student days as a “fresher” are the best as you will meet lots of new friends  who are all in the same situation as you and the opportunity to join lots of new clubs or take part in a new sport are best to do in year 1 as things will only get busier! Whilst the freedoms that come with leaving home for the first time will occupy many students’ minds, the reality of studying at undergraduate level is much different to being taught from the confines of a school classroom.

Workload- Workload in the first year of university is often a lot heavier than many students anticipate. It is a common misconception that there is very little work to do in year 1, especially considering the transition from high school or college to university. Many students (including myself) fall into the trap that because lecture slides are made available online that there is no need to go to every lecture.  Whilst this is true and something which I have used as justification often during coursework you will need to go beyond what is taught in the classroom and having extra notes will help. It is also really important to get a good work ethic started in year one which will  ensure that you meet all your deadlines. Whilst I am more than guilty about pulling an all-nighter this is not the way to go!

Money– Increased university fees are a constant worry for students. Rising prices and the idea of moving from an almost cost-free lifestyle to one where everything has a price is a scary one. It is paying for the students’ lifestyle from day to day that is the biggest concern most students myself included as here in the UK you get a maintenance loan every year which is split into three terms which is all I have to live on as I have chosen not to get a part time job.  Therefore, managing money  is really important but at the same time can be more difficult than one would expect but setting budgets and taking the forgotten extras into consideration will help you to have a better grasp on just how much money you will need.
I find it really useful to use the mobile banking apps and try to check my balance at the end of every week so that I know whether I am able to treat myself at the weekend whether it is new clothes, or a takeaway. 

Fresher’s week- It’s incredible – the best part of the year. You get to know your flatmates and meet new people, all in a great environment where everyone just wants to have a good time. You effectively become nocturnal and your sleeping pattern is completely destroyed, but it’s all fun and definitely worth immersing yourself into. You only get one Freshers’ Week, so make the most of it! 

The Freedom- The independence you get at university is unbelievable, so embrace the fact the world is your oyster. If you fancy a walk at 4am, you can do it. There’s no asking your parents, you just go. Of course, I wouldn’t advise a stroll in the middle of the night, but it’s what I always think about when considering the freedom you have. The independence on offer is an essential factor as to why the first year is so brilliant.

The Food- Now this one may surprise you. You might be thinking: ‘What will I do without my mum’s cooking?’ Well, the independence you have means that you have the licence to buy any food you want.For example, one of my flatmates loved pasta, so had it for every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner. No joke. For me, it was all about chicken steaks, chips, and beans, but each to their own. In your first year, you will either learn to cook, eat microwave meals, or pass out (would avoid the last option).

That’s it for now I’m afraid as I look forward to writing another piece of coursework. I hope as always you have found this somewhat interesting. Leave me a comment if you are going to university in September and what you are looking forward to most.

Have a good weekend!

Love,

Emily xx

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