A couple of months ago I wrote an article for online magazine The Student Pocket Guide, and it fits in perfectly with my University blogging series so thought I’d post it on here too!

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of life, but if you could learn from the mistakes of others, wouldn’t that make your own life a whole lot easier? University is one of the most exciting times of your lives, but it’s also a huge learning curve. With this carefully researched list, put together with help from real students, you’ll be able to avoid some of things that other students now regret doing!

 I don’t really feel up to joining in yet

We’ve all been there, starting somewhere for the first time with questions and worries that run around your head. Some factors of student life are set in stone, like the course syllabus. Almost everything else is up to you. Join societies and engage in group tasks. The friends you can make and the skills you gain are second to none.

9am lecture… where’s that snooze button?

You’ve had a big night out and are really not feeling the early lecture. Without sounding like a parent, you’ve paid, or will be paying, a LOT of money to study if you’re at uni, so why waste it? You might be able to find lecture notes somewhere or have a helpful friend, but if it’s something you didn’t understand you’ve missed the opportunity to ask for help.

I don’t understand, but I’m not going to say anything.

Lecturers are essentially teachers. It’s their job to teach you, and if you don’t understand something, tell them. If you’re shy or don’t like speaking in front of crowds, you could ask the lecturer at the end of a class or try and book a session with them in private. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

 Now where did I put those VERY important notes…

It helps if you organise your paperwork into either plastic wallets or folders. You can even get a pack of magazine holders for around £2 from Ikea and these make great storage for paperwork. You don’t want to lose that essay you spent hours on!

It’s 1p entry, we have to!

Partying is a huge part of student life, but don’t let it take over. There needs to be a balance between going out and staying in which sometimes can be hard to find as 99p Jagerbombs do sound fairly appealing…

“Mum, can you lend me a tenner?”

Getting thousands of pounds into your bank account, or a bursary from college, is a good feeling. Yes that dress might be ‘The One’, or that night out may be a must, but do you really want to be eating beans on toast for the rest of term? It’s your money, you should enjoy it, but budgeting your money is essential.

I wonder which way the library is…

When you’re paying £9000 a year, it’s definitely worth taking advantage of the facilities. Check out the campus library to help with essays or to use the printers. There may be a cafe or canteen which holds special offers for students. If it saves you money, why not?

So, it’s 4am on deadline day.

You may feel like it is essential that you stay up each night until you finish your assignment and although it’s not the brightest idea to go out partying every night, it’s not clever to stay up late working constantly either. Us students do need a break sometimes, whether it’s an early night or a coffee with some mates. Take time out and try not to wear yourself down.

A free trip out? No thanks.

You’ll never be able to live like you do in university and college after you leave again, so why not make the most of it. Do as much as you can while you’re there to get your money’s worth; you don’t want to finish your final year wishing you’d done more. Say yes to everything! (Within reason, don’t be getting into any strangers cars or anything…)

Where have all my pens gone?!

While studying and finishing off work, you’ll almost always need at least one piece of stationary. Make sure you’ve got the essentials close to hand, such as pens, pencils and rubbers. You don’t want to be taking any late night trips to the local newsagents. Also, be careful when lending any pens out, there’s a slim chance you’ll ever see it again!

I hope this list will help you in some way, comment below if you’re starting university this year too! I can’t wait to start Manchester Metropolitan University in September, so keep your eye out for the next few posts in the University Series as they’ll be about my freshers experience and some tips for prospective students!

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

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