I’m a little late in posting this, but hopefully it helps some of you get through the academic year ahead! I had my first day back yesterday after a few months break (I started uni in January!), the presentations, projects, essays…lots of fun ahead! So, as all of your lecturers have told you, it’s best to make a start; read your lectures; get your hands on textbooks; familiarise yourself with the workload and make a plan.
So, here’s my guide to surviving college and university …
1. Most important point – make friends! You’ll have those first few awkward get-to-know-you days but in no time at all you will be drinking at the local student union or bar together without a care in the world. I remember some good (cringe worthy) times being far too drunk, it’s all part of the student experience – it would be rude not too…
2. Organisation and planning – if I remember correctly you will have an end of year exam and coursework throughout the year. Stay organised, plan your essays and assignments and keep on track, purchase a diary or use your mobile phone. It’s also a good idea to read ahead of the next class (if possible). I would be lying if I said I done any of this, well not as much as I should, but I wish I had! It really does make a huge difference!
3. Make sure you enjoy what you’re studying. There are so many options available to you, don’t stick with it if it’s not for you, you will soon dread going. Talk with the college/uni if you think you’re on the wrong course as quickly as possible!, and they will try their best to help and guide you. Before you start day #1 have a proper look through the course details and see if it really does appeal to you. If not, look around, maybe another college or course would suit you better.
4. Find something you enjoy doing to compensate all the study time. I loved listening to music and chilling out, it made me relax and I felt so much better for it. Netflix can be a good investment, there is so many TV series on there to work your way through. Also good for hungover mornings/afternoon/maybe even into the evening. You will need something to keep you sane!
5. Do your best. Sometimes college felt like I was on a holiday and just sort of floated through. But if you have university in your future plan, keep an eye on your grades and your options. Have a nosey at what grades they are asking for. But don’t obsess over it! You can always try clearing if things don’t go as planned. Plus you don’t NEED to go to university… if you don’t want to! Do as best as you can and it will open up doors for you.
6. Back-up your work! This may sound so obvious but you’d be surprised the amount of people who lose parts of their work especially around graded unit time (college). Always put a copy on a USB stick AND your home laptop. Don’t rely on one or the other! Especially a USB – if you lose it – it’s gone forever!
7. Student discounts are like naughty dares, don’t get sucked in if you can’t actually afford to spend. This coming from someone who’s spent 90% of student loans in Topshop but do as I say, not as I do! But also take advantage of them, you can get some really great deals and bargains from retail to restaurants. They also won’t last forever and when they’re gone you will miss it – that’s a fact.
8. The job-college/uni-life struggle is real. I’ve worked through both college and university (before having O) and it was actually pretty enjoyable! Having extra money to meet up with college friends is great. However, drinking the night before and working Saturday mornings was a challenge in itself. It also gives you a sense of independence and I seemed to start properly budgeting around this time, not saying I budget well – I don’t. I’m still quite bad with money…but I’m definitely better than I used to be. I don’t buy clothes every single day like I used to, so I am definitely improving.
9. Have fun. This goes in hand with #1 but enjoy your time at college. It seems to disappear in the blink of an eye! I had some of my best moments at college and I remember roaring with laughter every single day. Enjoy every minute of it, if you don’t, question why you’re there.
10. Be prepared for new arrivals and a group re-shift. People come and people go, as 2nd and 3rd year nears, people will drop out; when they realise it’s getting more difficult or it’s not what they want to do anymore, and new people will take their place. Your classes will likely change and things will be different. But you’ll soon get to know other people and it’s a good experience and learning curve for going into university. Lecture halls are full of faces you’ve never seen before, but your tutorials are much smaller and different people will be in each one as many degrees share topics – you could have marketing degree, tourism degree and business degree students in certain classes but only business degree students in another. It’s good getting to know lots of people and gets you talking to people more than you normally would I think, as you have to make that little bit more of an effort.
I hope these help some of you if you’ve chosen to go to college this year, probably quite soon or already there! Be prepared to work hard but also have lots of fun and make some great memories you’ll laugh about forever. I loved college and university (still have 3ish months left!) for the most part and I have good grades to show for it. Do your best and you’ll go far with whatever you chose.
P.S. Enjoy the cheap beer at the local student union!
Do you have any tips for surviving college/university?