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5 things I wish I had known before university

University is a big deal – your life is about to change in ways you won’t imagine. We all reflect and wish we knew things we didn’t at the time. So, here are 5 things I wish I had known before coming to university.

  1. University as an experience 

There’s a cliché saying you’ll be constantly hearing right now: ‘Don’t worry – everyone is nervous.’ Annoyingly, it’s true. It’s okay to be nervous but rather than overwhelming yourself with nerves, try to remember that university is an experience. It’s not permanent, nor the beall, endall of your life. Enjoy and embrace all that this time has to offer. 

  1. Seize every opportunity 

So, this one I knew before coming to university but it’s the best advice I was given. You’ll have so many opportunities at university – from learning and training to volunteering and jobs. Throw yourself into these, take everyone can you – you never know where something will lead you. Just try not to overload yourself – your only human! 

  1. You won’t be thrown into the deep end

University involves a lot of hard work, but you aren’t thrown into a series of essays and deadlines. Lecturers are aware that this is new for you – you aren’t expected to have all the answers straight away. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get everything right the first time – mistakes are a great way of learning. It’s about improving your work, rather than being the star pupil. Put the work and effort in, but remember you are attending university to learn, not to teach. 

4. Ask for help

 I’m from Newcastle and we have a saying that’s drilled into us at a young age: ‘shy bairns get nowt’ (I bet you didn’t hear that one on Geordie Shore!) It means if you don’t ask, you don’t get anything. If you need help at any moment, with any problem, talk to someone. Make your opportunities – what’s the worst that could happen? Someone says no. Everyone – tutors, support staff, and other teams – are usually always happy to help, answer questions or just have a chat! Never be afraid to ask.   

5. Budgeting 

 Budgeting is a big one. It can seem daunting to think about. The best advice I can give someone who has never had to budget before is have patience with yourself. You don’t learn this skill overnight; it takes time to be able to get it right. Your spending should revolve around your necessities: rent, bills and food. So, before you buy those trainers you’ve been eyeing up when loan drops – make sure you have enough to cover your necessities. Try to spend only what you need. A treat is great now and then, but you don’t want to be racking up unnecessary debts.  


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Budgetingindependent livingPreparing for universityTop tips

Rachel Bulman • 25th September 2020

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