Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Things I've Learnt: My First Year of University

I only have a few teaching weeks left of my first year at university and it is crazy how much my life has changed in the last six months and just how much I have changed as a person (for the better I hope!). For this reason I have been looking back over my first year of my studies and thinking about all the things I have learnt so far.

Food is expensive and cooking for yourself is a lot of work - I never realised how much I would need to spend on food while living away from home and even more than that how much money/food you waste if you don't at least sort of know what you want to eat in the week before you do a food shop. I now loosely plan my week's worth of meals and I have found I can almost cut a third off the price of my shop. I've also noticed that I eat a lot of chocolate when there is no one to tell me not too (buying a bar everyday is bad don't do it) although I've given up chocolate, sweets and alcohol for lent so that isn't much of a problem now. Also, props to my dad for cooking everyday after coming home from work because I find cooking fun, but such a chore when you are hungry and all you want to do is eat right that second.

Staying in with friends is often better than going out - Ok so firstly I'm not saying that going out clubbing or whatever can't be fun and in fact I enjoy it a lot because dancing away the night is awesome. However, I'm the type of person who doesn't deal well without a lot of sleep and so can only really take the strain (and cost) of clubbing once every week or two. So uni for me has been a lot less going out than I thought and a lot more having a couple of drinks with friends and playing twister in my flat which is more fun than I could have ever imagined.

You are going to procrastinate...A LOT but it's alright - I was already a serial procrastinator when studying for my A Levels but now I live in a house with 11 other people there is always something to do and lots of people to talk to which obviously is more fun than writing a lab report about the centrifugation of some pea leaf homogenate. The thing is this is what first year is all about, that is why (in the UK at least) your first year grades don't usually count towards your degree. The universities want you to spend time meeting people and hanging out with them so as long as you pass everything don't stress too much about getting perfect grades.

You won't necessarily make friends right away but you will in time - This was such a hard one for me to learn because I was always used to having a massive friendship group from which I could call up some people and at least one person would be free to spend time with me. When I came to uni I found it hard that I wasn't connecting with my house mates an hadn't really met anyone on my course so I felt as though when I was homesick or upset I had no one to talk to. It was really quite isolating. This feeling was made worse by the fact that both my sisters had seemed to instantly hit it off with lots of people when they had first gone to uni so I was left questioning what I was doing wrong. Now though some of my house mates are close friends and I have lots of people to spend time with from all different areas of my uni life.

Saying yes is usually better than saying no - I'm a big lover of quiet alone time with a book or a good TV show but at uni I have learnt than when someone interrupts this with an idea of something to do nine times out of ten you will be glad you said yes. Whether I've just been invited for Scrabble at the pub, to go along to the Quidditch society and attempt to play (yes this is a real thing and the sport is so much fun) or to just go hang out on Brighton pier/beach for an afternoon I've had really enjoyable times and made some great memories.

Finally, getting up early instantly becomes harder when you are a student - So since I was four I've had to get up at 7am on a weekday to go to school and although as I got older I started snoozing the alarm more I still never really had a problem with rolling out of bed at this time. However, now at uni I find it so hard to get out of bed at 8am or even 9am because there is nothing stopping me from just staying there and missing my lecture. It doesn't help that all my lectures are video recorded as I say to myself that I can just catch up later (may or may not happen). Over this second semester I've become better at getting up though mainly because I've been reminding myself that if I don't go what is the point of me being at university.


  1. Oh the memories! I managed 42% in my end of first year exams. 40% to pass. I class myself as just being 1% inefficient! Such a great time; glad you're making the most of it. Plus, that picture where you're dressed as an Instagram post is hilarious! x

  2. I am in my first year of uni right now and I completely agree with every single one of these :) haha x

  3. Oh well I did a lot better than that in my first term and I'm trying really hard to keep my grades up as I want to apply for a scholarship abroad which is partially based on first year merit.

  4. I'm glad. I wasn't hoping it wasn't just me who was thinking all these things.

  5. Ah fair play. That's a slightly different story then. For us, first year meant nothing, so it was kind of a write off. Then obviously knuckled down in year 2 and 3.