Hi guys! For today’s post, I thought with results day literally around the corner and people starting university for the first time, I thought I’d give some little tips about starting university and give some of my experiences.
I’m studying in Swansea University and just about to start my second year studying a joint degree in English Literature & Media Studies. I’m no expert by any means, my university life so far has been far from easy but I guess that’s the whole point of it. So, here’s some little tips:
#1: JOIN SOCIETIES:
Before I came to university, I knew that I wanted to take part in societies, so I did my research. I’ve been interested in acting and drama growing up in school and got out of it during in college for some reason so I wanted to join the drama society and it was such a brilliant decision to make. Swansea University’s drama society, Shoreline Theatre, is just amazing. The group of people in that society have made my university life so much better and they are such great friends and I can’t thank them enough. I was going through a lot of shit in my life and finding it hard to adjust to uni life but with them there, it was so much easier and a lot more fun. While also finding my confidence as a person, I have found so much confidence as a performer. I know what my acting techniques are now and I love creating characters in the amazing productions that they produce.
Societies are a great way to create friends, or even a second family, when you move away from home. They will be the core group that you will spend more time with. Personally, I didn’t have a strong bond with my flatmates so it was Shoreline that I had that community around me and helped me have a great first year at uni. Universities offer a great broad spectrum of different societies which I’m sure, if you look and do your research, you’ll find something that fits you perfectly.
Looking back, I would have liked to join some more societies and it is something that I am looking into going into my second year. I felt that I didn’t do much in the first year, which I did probably, I also joined the TV society and hosted a radio show once a week along with my degree and Shoreline, but I still don’t think I did enough. It’s something that I’m interested into looking further.
#2: DON’T PANIC!
This is easier said than done, I know. But honestly, don’t panic. Everyone gets a little lost (sometimes literally) when they first start uni, myself included. But don’t panic. You’re just nervous and excited and you’re just a little over excited. Just like everybody else.
Moving away from home is terrifying. It’s new. It’s alien. It’s really bloody scary. For myself, I only live like a hour or so away from my uni, but still, it was weird. Moving away from home wasn’t the thing that I was most worried about, I wanted to move away from home and have my independence, it was everything else that worried me sick. But it was still weird having my own little room and having to do everything for myself. But I thrived off that. I just took it to myself that this was the first time that I could actually be me.
But when in uni, I realised that people have moved homes from different countries just to study here at the university. Now, that must feel really scary moving to a different country. A new world, even. But that’s what I love about university too: a mixture of people from everywhere, all walks of life, different cultures, different beliefs, everything…
But honestly, don’t panic. It takes a lot of getting used too, it does. I think for me, I didn’t get ‘used to it’ until my second term at university. But as long as you find your feet and make good friends, a community around you that you can trust and have fun with, I’m sure you’ll be all good. Just don’t panic too much. Everyone’s the same.
#3: BE ORGANISED:
University is completely different to college and school. You have to be in charge of your own deadlines for coursework and essays and of course if you don’t get it in on time, you’ve failed. That simple. And nobody wants that to happen, do they? That’s why you should stay organised.
I would recommend getting a diary (talked about this in my last post); a diary really helped me keep on track with my essays, exams and events that was happening in uni. I knew what I was doing and I found it really satisfying ticking the tasks off the day off with a red tick. SO SATISFYING. I would also get a weekly planner, I got a whiteboard weekly planner from Wilko. It really helped me know when my lectures and seminars were along with my deadlines and my social events. I would also recommend writing them out in different colours so you can distinguish what is what from each other and keep you mind at ease. It helped me, anyway and hopefully it will help you too!
When you’re starting university in a new and different country, city or town, you should go and explore the community around you. Honestly? I didn’t explore much of Swansea the last month before I left for summer break. Oops. But I think that was because I was seeing Ryan and we was going out more and with him living and growing up in Swansea, he showed me the sights. Swansea has so much to offer too; I especially loved seeing the boats on the marina. When I saw them, oh my god, my eyes lit up and… I can’t wait to go back there next month! I’m sure there will be a blog post or two about the boats…
But yeah, just explore. Create a list of everything you want to do/see in the area around you and just tick them off. University isn’t just about academia and education, it’s important of course it is, but for me, it’s also about finding your independence, thriving of that independence, it’s about exploring who you are as a person,exploring everywhere around you and making new friends, and most of all, getting out of your comfort zone.
#5: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
This is a big one for me. Before going to university, I was safely nestled into my little comfort zone. And nobody or anything would get me out of it. But I knew, I told myself that this would change when going to university. Before, I was the one who would never get drunk, or even touch alcohol even, I would never go to clubs, or parties; I would rather just eat pizza and watch Netflix, thank you very much. But I kept telling myself to break that barrier and just get out of my comfort zone and do more.
And I have. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m a completely different person from when I first started university. I’ve been to clubs, parties, drunk alcohol (I know I love cider and Peroni, thanks uni) and I’ve been having SO MUCH FUN and I can’t wait for that to continue in second year!
They were just a few little tips from me about going to university and I hope they helped you in some shape or form. But like I said, university is more about the academia side of it, it’s finding out who you are and exploring everywhere around you and creating those special memories that you can look back on in the future holding your degree and taking your selfies in that cap and gown.
Here’s to second year and hope you have a fantastic time at university, just remember: don’t panic, take your time and most of all, enjoy yourself.
See ya soon!