5 Things I learnt during my first year at University

Hello. Firstly, I would like to say that I hope everyone is keeping well during this uncertain time. Please keep in contact with your loved ones and reach out if you need extra support.

Now, onto the blog post; I wanted to let you know, before coming to University, about the 5 things I learnt during my first year which might help you to understand what it is like when you are getting used to the newness of it all.

  1. You are not alone

Starting University, you are among thousands of others in exactly the same position, so instantly you are surrounded by like-minded; potentially nervous and sceptical, students. I was nervous initially going into Halls as I am two years out of school and thought everyone would be 18, but for various reasons this was not the case! With 14 of us in my flat, I had lots of people to meet, and did so throughout Freshers week and beyond and made some really close friends (it’s hard not to when you’re living with people!). In University, most of you go through similar experiences, so even if you don’t have much else in common, that is something that you will definitely share.

Visiting one of our University friend’s family home and celebrating with sparklers

2. Don’t forget to keep in touch with friends and family from home

If you are moving away from home for the first time, it is easy to feel lonely and miss home, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. So many people feel like this at some point, and the best advice I can give is to try your best where you are in the now – at Uni – and try to meet people, start getting involved and accepting it as the start to a new stage of your life. Talk to the students you meet as they are more than likely feeling similar emotions.                                        Most importantly, don’t neglect those people who you are missing – text, facetime, etc. and keep them in the loop – they may even be struggling too. The feelings will pass as you get used to University, but for those initial days, weeks or months; a phone call could help you to feel less dis-connected

3. Get involved

This is easier for some people than others, depending on your personality and previous experiences. But I 100% recommend that a top priority on your list at University is to join something – whether it be a society, a sport, volunteering project – you will meet people, learn a lot, have fun (hopefully) and have something else to do outside of your studies.

4. Work hard but also have fun

After working very hard in my A-Level exams, I have very high expectations of what I should achieve and how much work and dedication needs to go into revising. However, coming to University made me learn that you desperately need that balance. Working too hard will only make you burn out, don’t neglect taking care of yourself; seeing your friends, resting, having fun, and keeping your room tidy!… Plus, it’s only your first year; everything is new – you don’t want to use up all your energy and dread coming back for second year as all you know is the four walls of the library! Exams are closely approaching, and I will know that I have worked hard towards them, but also have so many amazing memories from first year to look back on.

5. You learn a lot.

Now, of course, in your first year at University, you are going to learn a lot academically through your course. However, you also learn SO much more. From the people you meet – who are from different cultures, backgrounds and ages. You learn to live by and for yourself and become independent as its often people’s first time living away from home. Some people take on a part-time job or a volunteering role which will teach you a lot of new skills and widen your knowledge outside of academia.                                                  Most of all, I feel like in my first year, I learnt a lot about myself and who I really am – from the types of activities I enjoy doing, to finding a work-life balance, making friends and truly becoming confident in who I am.

Photobombed by Guildford Cathedral

This was my second attempt as I stopped early last year due to not liking the course, so I was a little sceptical, but I know now after almost completing it, that it was the right decision.

Your first year at University is like no other year in your life – grab every opportunity you can, work hard, enjoy yourself and BE yourself.