The start of university is now upon us, which means new freshers straight out of high school or college ready to start their uni career. And with new intake comes the old mistakes many freshers before them have made. That’s why we thought we would help you out by listing some of the common mistakes made in the first year of uni that are easy to avoid. So save yourself any trouble (starting uni will be hard enough after all) and enjoy your first year at uni mistake-free.
Finding the right balance with your packing
Packing for a two week holiday in Spain can be tricky enough, so packing for the next year of your life at uni is quite a big deal, and it’s important to get it right. Ensure you pack everything you need and don’t miss anything by making a list beforehand which you can easily tick off whilst boxing your things. Over-packing is also a major problem, so be quite strict with yourself when deciding what you need and what you don’t. You won’t be able to fit everything you own into your new room, so consider that when you’re musing over whether to bring Scrabble and every pair of shoes you own.
Forgetting to budget
Students are famous for being skint. Even with the help of part time jobs and student loans, the amount of partying, eating out and unnecessary clothes shopping throughout the year means students’ purse strings are usually quite tight. Particularly for students living in halls or in their own flat, it’s important to budget and know how much you can actually afford to spend. It is always tempting to buy another round of shots or order takeaways every night, however that could easily lead you to have no money for the essentials. We know that being a student isn’t all just about studying; partying and socialising is a big chunk of it, but just make sure you have enough money to buy yourself a coffee and shampoo after your partying.
Skipping lectures can be extremely tempting, especially when you wake up after a night of drunken karaoke in the union with your friends. Early classes can seem like a punishment to all students, but try not to miss many (if any) lectures. It may not seem overly important right there and then, but when it comes to exam season and time to buckle down and start your assessments, you’ll realise ignoring half your lectures was a mistake.
Keeping to yourself
Start uni with the idea of becoming friends with everyone; it sucks to be sitting alone if your one friend is too hungover to come to class, so try and make friends with most people you meet. Uni is a great place to meet new people, and having a big group of friends makes the student experience even better. Once you have found your group it can be tempting to never step outside of that; but massive flat parties are always the best so keep that in mind (you won’t regret it).
Leaving every assessment till the last minute
You may have been able to get away with it at high school, but the years spent at uni go by worryingly fast. Before you know it, you’ll have exactly 18 hours to write up that 3,000 word report you were assigned a month ago. No longer can you get away with copy and pasting paragraphs from Wikipedia; now you have to find information in a million different books, back up your ideas and then reference. Save yourself the stress and panic and try to organise your time so you aren’t rushing to finish every essay you are handed.
Not backing up your work
Always back up your work. It’s as simple as that. It has always been important but it’s doubly important now. You may not think it’ll happen to you, but try not to fall into that false sense of security as computers crashing could happen to anyone, resulting in hours of work being thrown away. Combine this with student’s tendency to leave their work to the last minute and you have a heart attack and a panicked email to the lecturer begging for an extension. Upload you work to your uni’s cloud storage to make sure your work is safe.
Splurging on books
At the start of every year you’ll be given a book list, but don’t expect to need every book on that list (you definitely won’t). Only buy the main ones your lecturers always refer to. As a student, books are probably one of the biggest expenses (£60 for a book? Really?) but they don’t have to be. Amazon and Ebay always have discounted prices on their books, and second-hand books are just as good and so much cheaper. Also, always remember to look up your book before buying them, as many books are uploaded onto websites for anyone to read.