It can seem like there’s a never-ending list of potential uni worries. But here I am, alive and well, starting my second year! A few months into being a fresher, these worries seemed laughable…
Three years’ worth of maintenance loans and tuition fees promised me a debt of £42,000 which just so happens to be equivalent to the number of tears I shed over the prospect of paying it back. I soon learnt from trawling through multiple student-directed sites that fretting over it is about as effective as an expired NUS discount card. It’s vital to remember that none of it has to be paid back until you’re earning over £21,000, and even then Student Finance won’t demand it all back straight away. I can sleep easily knowing that I’m not going to get a job and immediately be greeted by bailiffs hauling my belongings out the door.
I had no idea how I was going to manage my finances once my loan had come in. Whilst watching an abundance of students wearing or drinking their money away, I learnt that Microsoft Excel was to be my new best friend. Spreadsheets soon became essential for keeping an eye on my spending habits; a running total of how much money I had left and a list of everything I’d bought plus the prices coupled with shopping in less lavish supermarkets meant I rarely had the horror of checking my balance and seeing a negative number staring back at me in disappointment.
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) October 15, 2018
3. Keeping on top of studies
I quickly learnt that working until 3am was lethal and not only did my social life suffer but my work did too thanks to my fatigue-induced lack of productivity. I organised a meeting with my tutor where I decided to stick to a routine of waking up early(ish), having breakfast, and then targeting work before allowing myself to relax in the evening. I ended up working more effectively given that I was no longer enduring dangerous levels of exhaustion and crying myself to sleep over uni-related stress. Yay!
Routines work a treat, so to diminish my revision-related concerns, I created a detailed timetable and flooded my room with colour-coded cue cards and post-it-notes, highlighted every keyword imaginable to drill everything I could into my brain, and made sure I stuck to it. Regular, uninterrupted revision will always be effective – the hard bit is ignoring how boring it can feel, but it’ll all pay off!
5. Making friends
I’m shy at the best of times, so being thrown into an unfamiliar environment with thousands of equally unfamiliar faces was intimidating. So, I made sure that I sat with someone in seminars rather than veering towards the most vacant spot in the room and joined all the societies that interested me. A year later, I have friendships that I’m sure will last a lifetime, all thanks to putting myself out there. If you’re reading this, however, and social situations aggravate feelings of anxiety, then I’d recommend joining forums or uni groups on Facebook where you can meet likeminded people and develop friendships online.
Ever the optimist, I hope that through reading about my needless uni-related worries, some of yours have been diminished too. Good luck for your first year, make it one to remember!