This time of year has rolled around so quickly, A-Level exams are underway and it’ll soon be decision time…
Are you going to go to University?
Now, I didn’t go – it’s not for everyone and that’s absolutely okay. But I think it’s important that at a young and vulnerable age, you have as much information as you can to help make the right decision for you. As if I knew then what I know now, I might’ve taken the leap and gone to Uni.
My brother started last year, so we had a little chat about what he’s learned from his first year and what he wishes he’d known before starting and I thought it’d be quite nice to share a few tips with you to help along the way.
Accommodation: What's Mine is Yours – Be proactive. Pick your accommodation as soon as you can – there are so many choices it can be a little overwhelming and they’ll get snapped up super quickly. Make some time to go through all the accommodation websites, print out all possibilities and have a tick-list of requirements for what will make you feel most comfortable. Then you can simply cross off the ones that don’t match your needs.
Be prepared to not be precious about what you bring with you, too...sharing is caring at University. You'll have a communal kitchen with quite a few people using it, so the pots and pans aren't just yours now. If the idea of someone eating off your plate freaks you out, keep it in your room. It's up to you how much you share.
Making Friends – For me, this would’ve been the scariest thing out of everything. There’s a good chance you’ll be going to a Uni without your school friends and the prospect of making new ones can be pretty daunting, especially if you're not a 'people person'. Finding your roommates on Facebook before you start is a great idea (it’s the done thing now, you don’t need to feel like a total stalker). You can set up your own little private group on there, get to know each other and find out when they’ll be arriving / potentially meet up beforehand if you feel like it. You can't beat the reassurance of feeling like you know some people before you've even arrived.
Know your University – Universities are huge, it’s safe to say it’ll take you a while to feel settled and comfortable with where you need to be and when. If you make sure you arrive an hour or so before lectures, you can familiarise yourself with the campus and find where you need to be without it being stressful. Make use of the open days before University starts, too – they’re a great way to soak up some knowledge about where you’ll be spending the next few years!
Budget & Student Loan - Having worked since I was 16 I had to learn the importance of budgeting my money pretty early and picked up a few helpful tips on how to do so along the way. I don’t think it’s fair to say ‘just be good and sensible with your cash’. It’s a skill and not one that’s easy for everyone to adjust to. I'm thinking of putting together a post dedicated to being more money savvy, so let me know if that's something you'd like to see? First things first, managing your money at Uni shouldn't be something you put on the back-burner, you'll need to make sure that your Student Bank account is organised and ready for your student loan, there are heaps of choices but TSB have a great student account you can check out here.
DO IT FOR YOU – I made decisions of my future education based on my relationship, which sometimes I really regret. I wanted to be with my boyfriend, which at the time felt like the right thing to do. Looking back, I could’ve studied somewhere close to home or made it work at a distance if it was meant to be. Make sure you don't hold yourself back for anyone or anything. But more importantly, it's never too late to go, if that's what you want.
Ultimately, believe in yourself. Stay true to who you are and don’t be scared to take a risk. Know that you can do the research and that doesn’t mean you’ve committed to doing anything for real. This is your life, and you’re in control. Yeah, that’s scary as hell but also? It’s super liberating. Take the time now to invest in your future and believe that you're capable, whatever the decision. The age you're initially asked to make that choice is very young, so if you decide that actually you want to wait a few years before heading to Uni, then that's fine. And if you can't stand the idea and want to throw yourself in to the working world? Go for it.
The futures bright and...
Post in collab with TSB