Applying to university can be one of the biggest challenges of all. Although I’ve only just completed first year, I have learnt an awful lot. Below are three things i really worried about, and how i overcame them, which could help anyone in the same boat as me.
1. Will I be able to make friends?
… and whether I would get on with my flatmates. No matter how much I’d been reassured by others, there was always that small seed of doubt in my mind that I would not find anyone with common interests. Having gone through this process myself, I would say that this isn’t a big issue, you’ll find friends as long as you don’t keep yourself to yourself.
The more you put yourself out there (especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you), the more likely you are to make friends as everyone is in the same situation. If you’re really struggling (or even if you’re not, this is a good idea), join a sport or society – something you’re interested in. This way not only are you enjoying yourself, you’re put together with a group of people who share similar interests. No matter how unique you think your interests are, there is more than likely a society for you (there are Zombie and Clown societies!).
2. Have I prepared enough?
Don’t overdo it at the expense of a stressful summer. I was relatively relaxed about the university experience itself; but quite stressed about a pre-arrival task we undertook before university, despite having been reassured by a number of teachers and past students that it’s simple. The aim of this was to give a flavour of what you would be expected to do. This was meant to be a brief task, however I ended up writing 7000 words, an extortionate amount, which was a lot more than anyone else. While it is good to prepare for university, remember to have a good summer! The whole point of a holiday is to relax after all, right?
3. How do I manage the work/social life balance?
It’s your first year of university, you’ve just got through ten years of education, and you deserve some social time. While obviously you’ve got to keep in the back of your head that you are there to study, first year for most courses doesn’t count towards your final grade. It’s all about finding the right balance between work and play, so far I don’t think I have the balance quite right, it takes a little while to adapt; but once you’re in the routine your degree should be very enjoyable.
To summarise, university is a great experience, so don’t get too stressed about work before you start. The transition from whatever stage of life you’re in at the moment to university is more than likely going to be smooth, you’ll soon adapt to living by yourself and doing your washing, cooking and cleaning. Once you have adapted to student life, make a timetable or have some way of organising yourself so you can get that ideal balance between work and play.
Finally, good luck getting the required grades and enjoy your undergraduate degree!