Tackling university is no easy feat. Whether you’re still in the early days of your studies or the beginning of your degree looms somewhere over the horizon, you most likely understand this already. It’s hard work, and you might be a little bit nervous because of that fact. It’s a new experience, but it’s also an unknown experience. No matter how much information people pass on to you, or what you see on open days, it’s hard to truly ascertain what university is like until you live it.
Of course, maybe you realise that hard work doesn’t only mean hard studying. University is hard on so many more levels than that. This is most likely your first taste of real independence, and that’s scary. Even if you don’t mind being away from home, and you’re excited about making new friends, you have to do your own cooking, cleaning, washing and shopping.
There’s so much to juggle in your introduction to the adult world that it almost seems as if there will be no time left for socialising or actually having fun. I thought much the same thing, honestly. I spent a lot of time in the early days panicking about balancing my schedule. It turns out that I was worrying far too much. I learnt to ease off on myself and just enjoy the experience, but I want you to know that from day one.
You can have a fun time at university, whilst still gaining so much from your studies. Remember, this is an experience through which you can learn about yourself and the way the world works, just as much as it is a journey of academic study.
Relax and meet people.
This is the first great piece of advice I can give. Think about it this way; social skills are the most important skills on earth. When you enter the real world of careers, you’ll be entering a world driven by people. The more friends you have, the greater your connection with the rest of the world becomes. Get stuck in, and you’ll be surprised what you can get out of this experience.
Whether you end up going a little wild and joining every club that your university offers, or you simply want to have a few drinks and a laugh with new people, the key is to just relax and enjoy the ride. You shouldn’t feel pressured to party if you don’t want to party, but you also shouldn’t feel constrained by your accommodation if you really want to be getting out into the world and having a wild time. The key is to try new things, but also to find your niche. If you don’t like a club, event, sport or even a popular bar, you don’t have to ever experience those things again, if you don’t want to.
Of course, because university is a time to try new things and let your inhibitions run a little wild, you’ll find yourself in new and foreign situations. Whilst you should have fun, you should do so as responsibly as you can. That doesn’t mean you can’t puke from excessive drinking, or make some bad decisions, but it does mean you should avoid dangerous decisions and situations.
I’m sure you know all this already, but it’s worth noting. Walking home from clubs with a group of friends is vital, given that there is safety in numbers. You should be having fun on your night out, so make sure you do so in a safe way. When it comes to taking somebody home with you, whether it’s a one-time situation or a partner, make sure you’re prepared before the night even begins. If you order the contraceptive pill online, you’ll be avoiding any embarrassment you might feel if you have to go into a store to buy them.
Although it’s nothing of which you should be ashamed, I completely understand your hesitation. Sex is a private thing, so you might not want to feel like the whole world knows about it. Still, most students are thinking about it, and nobody’s judging you; at least you’re being sensible.
Do things you should be doing whilst you’re young.
Whether that means travelling abroad, or even just soaking up every last minute of free time between lectures, and during the crazily-long holidays, you just need to allow yourself the freedom to do everything you want to do. Get too drunk, party and see everything there is to see around the town or city in which you’re living.