Many people, myself included (before I started Uni anyway) believe that University is just one big party, where you making amazing memories, party loads, move away from home and gain full independence.  Although this does make up a minority of what happens when you flee the nest and head off to start your degree, it most definitely is not 24/7, nor what it cracks up to be.  University is branded as an institution where we will have the best years of our lives, which for some is true, but in my experience for the majority of students it is not.  I’m not stating that anyone who decides to go to university will have an awful time, because thats a ludicrous assumption to make, however, what I am saying is that I’m not fully convinced that you will have the best years of your life just by studying for your degree.

Moving out of your family home and moving away to University and into hauls is quite possibly one of the most daunting, overwhelming experiences you may have to face as an 18 year old.  You’re completely stripped of all of your home comforts and forced to live with complete strangers who you know nothing about and are expected to live, cook and socialise with for the next year (until you get to choose flatmates of your own), thinking of it in this way seems bizarre, right?  Uni can be a very, very lonely place, you’re away from home and in a brand new environment where you have no one to cook for you, shop for you,  do your washing or to just give you a hug when you’re feeling a bit down.  For me personally, I found my first term at Uni particularly challenging, I am a home bird through and through and although I’m only 2 hours away from home, a lot of the time it seemed 2 hours too far and I realised how much I took my parents and home comforts for granted when I was at home all of the time.   I used to look at international students who’ve moved half way around the world and wonder how they did it.  I quickly realised that being homesick is nothing to be embarrassed about when starting at uni, some of the boys went home for regularly than I did! Homesickness is a perfectly normal feeling and its all apart of the process to becoming a more independent, well-rounded person and learning how to take care of yourself (although admittedly I’m still not there yet, haha).

I think that my advice for anyone thinking about going to university or in their first year or whatever, is to:

  1. Make sure their uni has a good social scene/night life – this will give you a chance for many drunken antics and an opportunity to make many messy memories.
  2. Learn to cook a little before hand – you’ll thank me later.
  3. On your first day of moving into hauls, get everyone in the communal area together and introduce yourselves, get eachother’s numbers and follow/add one another on social media.  Trust me, it’s a great way of breaking the ice and gives you all something to talk about.
  4. Join some kind of club – I’m in my second year out of three at uni and I regret not doing this because I feel like it would’ve given me a larger network of friends, kept me busy and also gives you an opportunity to learn something new!
  5. Lastly, and this is an important one too, make sure you check in with home. Although it’s tough for you moving out, it’s also tough on your family too, especially if you’re the eldest or the first one to move out! Parents worry, and as much as you might be living it up in freshers week, just dropping them a text to let them know you’re ok and surviving all of the alcohol and pizza is enough to put them at ease until you have time to sit and have a FaceTime sesh.

Thanks for reading,

Night all, Char