A Small Gal's Guide to First Year
Hello lovely gals and guys!! This is my first official writing debut on the Fresh Student Blog so, hi, hello, I'm Ellie and I'll be your flight attendant for this wild journey through University. Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be trusted with manning a plane, but as a newly appointed second year I do have a few goofy gurl words of wisdom that ~fingers crossed~ can help a few of you throughout your first year at uni. While I hope lots of you have already found your footing in the first few weeks of term, I know I really struggled to feel tip-top comfortable straight away and would've really benefited from having a nudge in the right direction. So, here's your nudge ...
1 - Making Your Room a Home
This sounds pretty basic but I can't begin to stress how many people I knew in my first year that left their bedroom with only empty drink bottles and old pizza boxes as decoration until they packed up for summer. Regardless of whether you've had a fab day at uni or a less than perfect one, it's always a good idea to return to a room where you're going to feel relaxed and be able to enjoy some downtime. Of course being a uni student you're probably not going to be able to whip up a Kardashian mansion (but if you can then creds to you), but that doesn't matter. Even just deciding not to buy a Greggs sandwich and another drink at the bar on your Friday night partying, should leave you with enough spare cash to buy some home-y pieces from Wilkos or even Poundland to add to your room. Whether it's just a throw pillow and a blanket, some fairy lights or even a bedside lamp, getting something to sprinkle in some comfort to your room and spark a newfound love for it is a very, very good thing which should just add another positive memory to your first year!!
2 - Find a Balance of Work and Werkin' It
I will hold my hands up and admit that I'm a workaholic. I'm definitely not a partier and while I do enjoy the odd swanky cocktail, I'd much rather spend time making sure my course reading is done or my essays are perfect with a capital 'P'. This was my downfall in first year though. I definitely spent far too much time focusing on the busy-bee work side of university rather than getting to know new people and experience new things. I know the majority of people assume a student's downfall at university is having too much fun and neglecting their work but there are also definitely people like myself who get so caught up in their academics that they forget to have fun - which is still a super important aspect of the uni lifestyle. So PLEASE make sure you work on balancing book work and booty-poppin times because while you do want your degree, don't you want to have fun getting it?
3 - Sippin' Till You're Trippin'
I know I may sound like an overprotective parent but know your alcohol limits. Nobody wants to be the flatmate that has to be wheeled home in an Asda shopping cart because you're too drunk to walk back with your cheeky 4am kebab. While you may feel cool at the time for downing 6 jaeger bombs and a whole bottle of echo falls, not only are you going to be a bit of a state the next morning but how on earth are you going to make it to Dr Smith's lecture on 'The Life of a Plant'? Okay so maybe to some people all that my previous sentence did was make it glaringly obvious that I have no clue what science students do at uni, but please just try to bear in mind that while you should definitely have as much fun as you want, you're not just paying tens of thousands of pounds to go out to Tiger Tiger.
4 - Money, Money, Money ...
... it (may not be) a rich man's world. Finances can be a difficult thing to come to terms with when first moving to university, I totally get that. In the buzz of the first few weeks at uni it is so so easy to forget that yeah, maybe you do have £689 in your bank account, but that isn't just for the drinks aisle in Sainsburys Local or to freshen up your winter wardrobe with a new coat and sequin bralette. That money will probably have to last you until Christmas, soooo it's time to get a spending plan in place. Usually to make sure I'm not overspending at the start of term I divide up my finances by the weeks remaining until my next installment comes in and VOILA ... your weekly budget. Of course, this means writing down whatever you dash out the cash on each week, but not only does it make you aware of what actually becomes a necessity but also the high you get from saving £3.50 is pretty wild, let me tell you.
5 - Self-care
Your first year at university is most likely going to be a pretty big shock to your system, regardless of who you are, and while everything is changing around you it can be pretty easy to forget to indulge in some self-care. For me, starting a proper skin care routine was something that made me step back from the hustle and bustle of the day for 15 minutes to take some time to get some good ol' TLC into my evening. Now, skincare might not be your thing but whether it's taking twenty minutes out of your day to watch your new fave Netflix show, kick it back with a cider and the radio on or even just a quick nap, it's so so sooo important to make sure your mental health is just as happy and fabulous as your physical health.
So with that, I hope that these quick five gems of wisdom (if I do say so myself) can help to ensure you make the most out of your university experience! While focusing on your degree is super important, at the end of the day your happiness should be your top priority. So with that in mind, I hope you have a fabulous week,
Lots of love, hugs and happy reading.
- Ellie xx
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