Making the most of your time at uni

The transition from school to university can spark up different emotions. While some may feel excited, others may find it daunting. It’s important to recognise that allowing yourself to feel whatever emotions arise before embarking on this new adventure is okay. For many, it’s their first time living away from home and there is a lot to adjust to, such as meeting new people and managing your own schedule.

Getting organised

One significant change that students experience when they begin university is the sudden influx of independence. You are in charge of managing your own schedule, attending classes, maintaining a social life, and completing assignments. Therefore, it’s important to have a system in place to organise everything going on. Personally, I use Google Calendar to keep up with my busy schedule and factor in both social and academic events throughout the day. Life is about finding balance, and doing so can help you prevent burnout. A good plan will help you to stay on top of your workload and avoid last-minute cramming in the library!

Google Calendar

Getting involved

Attending university is more than just academics; it’s a new chapter of your life where you will learn and grow as a person. One way to discover yourself is by joining clubs and societies. The Students’ Union offers a wide range of societies to meet everyone’s needs. It’s worth trying out a range of different societies to find new passions or simply just meet new people. Throughout my time at Surrey, I’ve been actively involved in many societies, notably politics and yoga, and it’s where I’ve made long-lasting friends. I’ve managed to speak with MPs, organised large events and workshops, and I’ve even just started my yoga teacher training course! Getting involved will help you to build a sense of community and make your experience more rewarding.

Yoga Society getting ready for Union Ball

Staying focused and setting goals

University is great for socialising and it’s definitely important to factor in time with your friends. However, it’s also important to prioritise your deadlines and exams. One way to do this is using the ‘SMART’ technique, which refers to specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. For example, you should set achievable goals with regular breaks. Another priority when studying is having a relaxed study environment. This will look different for everyone – many people enjoy going to the library, but I prefer sitting in the lounge with my housemates and motivating each other. It may take time to learn what works for you, but it can make a huge difference to your studies.

Studying in my lounge with coffee and water!

Making friends

Making friends is an important part of the university experience, but this can feel intimidating. Asking coursemates to meet for coffee or lunch between classes is a simple way to make new friends. This can be a fun and easy way to get to know each other and connect. Furthermore, talking to peers in classes or extracurricular activities can be a great way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. Finally, setting up study sessions with coursemates can be a great way to not only meet new people but also improve your academic performance. Studying together can help you learn from one another and motivate you to keep up with your studies.

Coffee at The Hideout

Being open-minded

University is an excellent time to broaden your horizons and learn new skills. It’s worth keeping an open mind and a willingness to try new experiences. Take courses outside your comfort zone, attend events and lectures, and engage in debates and discussions with people with opposing views. By being open-minded, you can enhance your personal development, discovering what works for you.

Receiving a Platinum Volunteering Award for 500+ hours of volunteering for the Students’ Union

Taking care of yourself

Although university can be an amazing time, it can also be stressful. Deadlines can quickly accumulate, and perceived expectations may lead some individuals to feel the need to conform. It’s critical to look after your mental and physical health while at university. This could involve incorporating regular exercise and enough sleep into your routine. Everyone’s definition of self-care will differ, and that’s okay. Your well-being is always a priority, and it’s perfectly fine to take a step back when needed!

Yoga and Brunch in Reigate

Building a support network:

On that note, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times. It’s important to not be overly critical of yourself. I’ve found having a good support network has been extremely beneficial in helping me through hard times. I’d recommend making an effort to form connections with those around you, but also to contact family, friends, and professionals when you need to. Instead of isolating yourself, remind yourself that there are people who care about you and will support you.

Day trip to Lyme Regis with my parents

Overall, the transition from school to university can be a both challenging and exciting experience. It’s a time for personal development, exploring new opportunities, and developing life skills. Everyone’s journey will be different and it’s okay to face challenges and seek assistance when needed. By having the right mindset and skills, you can flourish and accomplish great things both during and after your university years!