Heading to university for the first time can be scary. You may be moving away from home, living with people you’ve never met, doing your own cooking, and saying goodbye to the comforts of your childhood home for the first time. On top of all these changes, you’ve got a higher education degree to consider! There’s a lot to take in during the first year of university, so we’ve compiled some tips on how to get through this exciting new world without too many hitches.
- Do go to lectures.
This might sound like an obvious tip, but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to follow other students’ lead and start skipping class. There are usually few to no repercussions for not being present in class, and it’s easy to do so when you realize that the material you really need is waiting for you in your textbooks. While this work-from-home lifestyle is tempting, you’ll almost always lose out by falling into this habit. By attending class regularly, you’ll engage with the material you’re studying in a different way than you would by simply reading some facts from a book. Your professors are likely some of the most knowledgeable and interesting people you’ll come across in your field, and their lectures will inspire you to develop a real passion for your studies to the point where “studying” feels like much less of a chore.
- Do go to orientation events.
If you’re the type of person who dreads peppy university chants and the preppy fraternity system, you may think that the orientation events in the first few weeks aren’t for you. While they can be awkward and even painful at times, being forced out of your comfort zone can be a great thing. You’ll also be forced to meet people you might not otherwise come across in your time at the university. While these new friends might not last forever, you’ll be grateful to recognize familiar faces around the campus in your first few weeks while you’re settling in.
- Don’t eat out every day.
Feeding yourself while in student accommodation can be tough. The kitchen facilities are usually shared and vaguely disgusting. The food in the dining hall is often equally uninspiring. Lots of students find themselves increasingly drawn to the temptations of take-out and restaurant dining. Of course, sometimes, ordering Chinese is a necessary luxury you do deserve. But then, if you put a little time into planning your meals each week, you (and your bank account) will thank you in the long run.
- Do keep tabs on your finances.
Living in a new city, by yourself, you’re bound to feel an overwhelming sense of freedom. You can go anywhere you like, any day of the week, and all without a curfew! However, it’s essential to keep track of your finances. Whether you’re funded by a student loan or you’re funded by your family, now is the time to stay on top of budgeting. It might be tough, and you might not succeed, but you’ll learn skills that will serve you for the rest of your life. You’ll likely be repaying your loans long after graduating, so saving as much as you can now certainly can’t hurt. You can even begin to think about future options for paying off that student loan, like a refinancing option such as ELFI, which will save you money in the long run.