Top 10 tips for Freshers from a new graduate
With Welcome Week on the horizon, we asked someone who's been there and done that to share her best advice. Lauren Turner, who graduates this week, runs down her top tips for those just starting their student journey.
Set up discounts
Setting up a student discount card, such as TOTUM, or an account with UNiDAYS, will open up a world of cheaper items and save you loads of money in the long run. You’ll get food, clothing, and technology discounts, as well as money off places like cinemas and theatres. You don’t want to be paying more money unless you have to, so sign up for one as soon as possible, and start saving!
Don’t be that person who spends all their money in the first month and then goes hungry by month two. It’s probably not what you want to hear, but budgeting needs to be done. Your loan goes fast if you’re not careful, so budget for things like food and bills first, and be careful with what you have left over. You can still spoil yourself or go out with friends, just be mindful about how often you do it. Tips for saving money are learning to cook cheap, tasty meals so you don’t waste money on takeaways or ‘meal deals’, buying second-hand books, and making the most of those student discounts.
Back up your work
Set up a free Google Drive or One Drive account to back up your work on. As well as keeping your work safe, they also allow you to access your work wherever you are, so you never have to worry about forgetting your memory stick or losing precious work days before a hand-in.
Don’t go out every night
Meeting people, making friends, and having a laugh is a staple of the. However, you don’t need to go out every night, especially because you’ll spend a lot of money and have a shock when the early mornings of lecture week start. After all, you came to the University to learn, and while having fun is great, don’t forget why you’re here in the first place. We promise that you’re really not missing out by not going to every party, and you’ll make friends regardless.
Your lecturers, unlike at school or college, don’t spoon-feed you or check that you’re doing your assignments and revising. That responsibility is solely on you. Get motivated to work for yourself, and research in-lecture topics outside of class. It’s hard work, but know that the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
Starting any compulsory or recommended reading for your modules ahead of time is a great way to get ahead. Starting to plan assignments as soon as they’re handed out, or working on a portfolio as the semester goes along, is a perfect way to stay on top and reduce any last minute stress. Not leaving your reading / work / revising until the last minute makes the world of difference to you, and takes a massive load from your shoulders at the end of a semester.
Have no expectations
University, and in particular Welcome Week, is a big time for everyone. But it’s also different for everybody, so don’t expect that you’ll finish your first week with a new best friend and having the time of your life. Some people take time to adjust, and may be homesick, and that’s okay too.
Get into the habit of taking your card with you everywhere. The worst thing that can happen is to get to a building or room where you’re not able to get in because you’ve left your pass at home. The easiest way to get into the habit of taking it with you is to take it off as soon as you get home and put it into your bag, so it’s ready and waiting for you the next morning.
Use the facilities
The University has amazing libraries, cafés, study spaces, and social spaces for you to take advantage of. Use them! The library can save you loads of money on books, as well as providing online texts for research, and the spaces around the University provide a comfortable, safe, and quiet space for you to work and study.
Know you’re okay
People, and the University, are there to help. Whether you’re lost, anxious, or worried about money, there is always somebody to talk to. There are Wellbeing Drop-ins for you to talk about your anxiety or anything else that’s chipping away at you, and many staff are on-hand during Welcome Week to help you find your way. Remember: Welcome Week is all about settling in and finding your feet, and you are not alone!
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