You’re excited. Your bags are packed with all your belongings and you’re ready to leave home, about to step out into the wide world and move to the new city you’ve chosen as your home for the next three years.
At this stage of your life you will have sky high ambition however, university is a completely new chapter and moving away from home for the first time is challenging. After all, before you go and get a 1st, there’s the small matter of learning how to do your washing and paying your rent on time.
These things might be new to you or they might not. If they are, you should take any help and advice you can get; absorb everything, even the tiniest of things. Be the sponge. To give you a helping hand as you step into the relative unknown, here are four important things you should know that they don’t tell you about student life:
1. You’ll have lots of spare time
Even with lectures, seminars and workshops, you’re unlikely to be required at university more than a couple of hours a day. Of course it depends on what subject you’re studying and we’re generalising, but it’s possible you will have loads of free time to spend doing what you want.
Obviously you will be in the library studying (we hope so anyway), but when you’re not you should use your spare time wisely: explore your new city and express that sense of wanderlust that took you there in the first place.
Read classic novels and watch critically acclaimed films, university is about becoming a well rounded person and gaining confidence, so create good habits and push yourself.
Step outside of your comfort zone with a new activity, whether that’s yoga, mountain biking or public speaking. University is the best place to find somewhere to express yourself – so fight the student stereotype and get out of bed before 12 noon.
2. You need to plan for life after university as soon as you get there
You’re going to university with high hopes of securing an exciting job in your chosen profession, so immerse yourself completely in your studies and plan for what you will want to do after you graduate.
Use the years you spend at university to learn about the industry you’re interested in and researching the companies you’d like to work for. Learn the types of job you can get with your degree, then get your head down and go for it; the sooner you start the better.
3. Things cost money
If you’re moving away from home and leaving your hometown, you might not have had that much financial responsibility. Flying the nest provides quite a few challenges; you’ll have to pay your rent on time, sort out your council tax and if you’re going to be watching your favourite programmes your TV Licence needs to be paid.
Spreadsheets might be boring but they’re a great help. Work out your budget for the week and adapt your spending accordingly - if you didn’t know it before, it won’t be long before you know that things cost money!
4. You don’t need to go out every night
Of course, your social life is very important and letting your hair down after a long week of studies is great for your mood. However, you can socialise in other ways than sinking pints and cocktails at the students’ union.
Student life in 2016 is vastly different to how it has been typically characterised in the past, more students are ditching the alcohol in favour of playing sports and heading to the gym, which for many is the most sociable place on campus. Instead of getting drunk, get a head start. Take a look round the fresher’s fair in your first week and seek out societies and clubs that you’re interested in where you’re likely to meet plenty of like minded people.