Going to university is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It isn’t all party, party, party, though, there are times when things will get difficult, and not just when worrying about essay deadlines. Though most wouldn't change anything about their university experience, we have compiled a list of 10 things students need to be aware of before starting University.
Your student loan is not infinite: make sure you budget
Your student loan is not to be squandered. Make sure you budget for all your essential outgoings each term so you know exactly how much you have in excess and available. You'll need every penny to get through the whole year. Make an effort to budget and save as much as possible while still having fun.
Student life is amazing but living independently can be costly, and will definitely be a learning curve for many.
Remember that you deserve to be here
When you first arrive at a university, you may feel overwhelmed and initially feel like it may be too much for you. Imposter syndrome, the feeling of being a fraud and doubting your own abilities affects many students and adults in working life. You may find yourself constantly comparing yourself to your classmates or persuading yourself that everyone in your course knows more than you. Imposter syndrome is a natural feeling for new environments, and should be dealt with as soon as possible, be kind to yourself!
There is a reason you were accepted onto your chosen course. Talk to someone, maybe reach out to other students on your course. You are not alone, it’s important to take care of yourself and be proud of your accomplishments.
It's fine to not know something and to ask questions
It's okay if you don't know how to do something! Don't beat yourself up if you don't comprehend course material or how to put on the washing machine. Most people at university are embarking on their first university experience, and because you've never done it before, you'll make mistakes. Be gentle with yourself, and keep in mind that everyone in your position is just as nervous, unprepared, or overwhelmed as you are.
University is a massive learning experience, not just in terms of course material, but also in terms of social skills, life skills, and gaining new experiences.
Create a study plan
Some people are born with an innate sense of organisation and motivation. You might not be one of those people. A lot of students jump into a cycle of procrastination that devolves into frenzied cramming sessions whenever a deadline looms. It takes some students a while to realise that with just a little forethought, this could be completely prevented. Write down the tasks you need to complete, whether on your phone or in a diary, then figure out how much time you have and prioritise accordingly. It may only take half-hour to get your deadlines in order, but ultimately save you a lot of stress.
Don't put referencing off until the last minute
Many students frequently leave referencing as the last task while writing an essay. Save yourself the time, as it will take a lot longer to re-locate the exact book/webpage or video spot you took inspiration from for each reference. Learning to correctly reference within the first term and making a note of every reference point in an essay will save you hours in the long run.
There are numerous tools, publications, and ideas available online and in the library to assist you with the dreaded bibliography, so take advantage of them!
Make use of the libraries
In all likelihood you will spend many hours in the campus library, so make the most of it. Universities in Swansea have excellent libraries with a vast selection of material, and have every book on your reading list. Before you spend a lot of money on books for your course, be sure to take a look.
Also, make sure you learn how to use the library systems, such as booking computers and discovering how to find online journals, especially the peer-reviewed ones, as these skills will come in handy later in your studies!
Look after your physical and mental health
Everyone around you may pull a regular all-nighter and survive solely on pot noodles, but believe it when we say that it eventually takes its toll. It's difficult to say this without sounding like a parent, but trust us, a balanced diet and a good night's sleep will benefit you in the long run. Don’t leave GP registration on the backburner. Be very much aware that mental health is just as essential as physical health, your GP will be able to assist should you have any mental or physical health problems. If your health is interfering with your studies, consult the 'Student Wellbeing' resources at your university and notify your tutor or a member of your department.
As a student, networking is crucial. It can have an impact on job prospects once you graduate. Always remember to introduce yourself and leave a good first impression. While university can be intimidating, it is also a fantastic social opportunity.
Try to meet new people whenever possible, because the more you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that you will meet people with whom you connect.
Instagram and Snapchat memories are amazing but having a physical memento of all the fun times you’ve spent with friends is something to treasure for years to come. Doing something to record your time at university whether it's taking pictures or writing a diary, you’ll be saving memories for future reference. University is a roller coaster ride, but it is also full of possibilities, new friends, and new experiences for you to enjoy!
Be willing to try new things
University for most people is a thrilling experience with a number of “firsts”. You are likely to encounter people who hold opposing beliefs or have different hobbies than you, consider your contact with them to be a learning experience. You don't have to change who you are but conversing with individuals who are not like you can extend your worldview and lead to new experiences. These might be new acquaintances, or simply a different perspective on something. You may even learn something new about yourself or be able to share something fresh with someone else.
We hope that this list helps you prepare for the next step in your life. If you require any assistance with finding accommodation, don’t hesitate to call our office on 01792 600227.