The definitive going to University guide (& let’s normalise finding Uni difficult, okay?)

by Maddie

Right – first of all, if you’re going to University this year and you’re moving away from home for the very first time in your entire life, can I just say a big “well feckin’ done!!!” to you. Moving to University is scary enough, without the added fear of Corona looming over you like a rain cloud with the potential of causing a massive shitstorm. You are amazing.

And second of all, can I just say University doesn’t have to be all about the whole ‘I’m so hyped I’m going to love it so much I’m never going to be homesick or struggle or be nervous or feel sad ever again in my life’ vibe. Moving to University is HARD – no matter how excited (or nervous) you might feel about moving. It’s normal to have moments where you struggle in first year, where you feel like you just want your home comforts and where you miss your family and friends back home. It’s normal to feel like you don’t want to get drunk 24/7, it’s normal to have a nervous day or so where you’re terrified you won’t click with your flatmates, and it’s normal to find your course or essays difficult. Let’s NORMALISE finding University hard. Because as much as it comes with the sunshine and fun times, it’s not always that – and society never likes to admit that, so if we end up struggling, we think we’re the only ones. But everyone finds aspects of the transition hard.

Look ! Here are some photos of me ! I’ve survived Uni – and you can too!!!!

So, let’s just take a second to realise how frickin’ fab you are. Not only are you moving to a new city, but you’re moving IN A PANDEMIC. If that doesn’t deserve a First Class Degree, I don’t know what does.

Now we’ve got all that out the way – I thought I’d write up a lil moving to University post for those of you that read this blog are about to make the move. Because it’s just the kind of thing I wish existed when I moved to University back in 2016. Get ready for a bumper, no-holds-barred definitive guide to moving to University and dealing with the transition, mid-pandemic, in 2020:

Moving in & settling in

Unpack the SECOND you arrive. Don’t leave it, thinking you’ll get to it later. Rookie error: you won’t. Unpack straight away and with each cardboard box thrown in recycling and each clothing item hung in your diddy, diddy wardrobe, your new flat will begin to feel more like home. Plus, the earlybird gets the good kitchen storage space.

Always buy the CHEAPEST items of food in the supermarket. Get the cheapest rice, the cheapest biscuits, the cheapest loo roll – you feel me. I used to get my food shops down to £8 a week thanks to the wonder that is Aldi – and it leaves you with more disposable income to have a good time!

Washing: boring topic, I know. But in first year, when times are hard, washing machines hard to come by and laundrettes a pain in the arse, do your washing once every 2 weeks if you can stretch to that. Handwash in your sink, and always go down to the laundrette super early in the morning so you don’t have to queue. Simples.

Suggest fun flat activities for y’all to do as you settle in to getting to know each other! Explore your new city, cook a meal together, have a movie night. The perf way to bond. Tip: you don’t have to be best friends with ALL of your flatmates. It’s okay if you don’t click with everyone 100% – it’s normal to have different personalities in the same flat.

Join a sports club or society ASAP – it’s such an integral, fun part of University life and it’ll look fabulous on your CV.

Getting to grips with your new course

Work out which referencing system your course uses – and learn how to use it before deadlines actually hit, pronto. Referencing is easy when you’ve got the hang of it, but not so easy if you leave it til December to understand. And always, ALWAYS reference as you go along when you’re writing an assignment! There’s nothing worse than having to trawl back through practically a bloody book of notes to find the one reference you forgot the source of.

In lectures, make notes well – but not too thoroughly. You cannot physically capture every word a lecturer is saying – just ensure you’re capturing the main essence of each of their points.

Chip away at your assignments SLOWLY and leave PLENTY OF TIME for them. Just think about it, here: a 1,000 word assignment will just take you 5 days to write if you write a measly 200 words a day. And once you know what you’re trying to get at in the essay, writing 200 words will take you approximately 10-15 minutes. Simples. It’s the planning that takes the bulk of your time!

USE your personal tutor + lecturers! USE THEM. Rinse them for your £9k a year. Turn up at their office hours every single week and ask them to solve everything you’re unsure of. They’re there to be USED!

I know I sound like a middle-aged mother, but get yourself into a good routine. I’m srs. Even if you don’t have a lecture til 3pm, bloody well get up and do your prep, writing or revision around 9am/10am and give yourself a day’s worth of work. It’ll make your life SO much easier in the long-run, and come Friday night, you can ACTUALLY HAVE THE WEEKEND OFF.

Other rando helpful pointers

Register for a damn Doctors! I didn’t at Uni, and nor did most of my friends – in 2020, don’t be a silly goose.

Remember your mask and hand sanitiser EVERYWHERE YOU GO. Surgically attach them to you if it helps (don’t do that, I’m joking).

Find the cheapest way to travel every single time. Check out your local area’s bus app – ‘cos students can get some fine deals on public transport. Book your trains home as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest deals (although with Miss Rona around, you might have to book closer to the time than you’d hoped) and look into services like National Express too, ‘cos buses may be a pain, but they’re CHEAP.

Sign up for all the student discounts and freebies you can get your hands on. As I said, rinse ’em. Rinse your University of all you can get – after all, they’re getting over $27k out of you and you’re getting a piece of paper.

AND: just ENJOY it! First year is all about finding your feet and enjoying yourself. It’ll be a period of transition and growth like nowt else. You’re just gonna loves it! Good luck!

If I can shamelessly have photos taken of myself in cowboy boots and a fedora, then you can get thru the initial moving to uni nerves – NOTHING is as embarrassing as having ur pic taken in public x

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1 comment

Katrina 27th September 2020 - 10:35 pm

Love this post Maddie! x


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