Freshers' Advice from a UWE Student
Before I came to university, I grew used to hearing people say, “be sure to make the most of your time there, you won’t believe how quickly it goes by”. In fact, I heard this phrase used so much that I stopped really considering what people meant by it. I mean, it’s three years. It’ll feel as long as any other three-year period in my life. I’ll go to uni, make some friends, drink too much, pull a few all-nighters and leave with a degree at the end of it. It is only now that I’m in my final year that I understand what all these people were warning about.
There is little point in looking back and wishing I’d done things differently. This is not least because I cannot retroactively change the past, but also because things have actually gone extremely well over the last two and a half years. With that said however, there are some things I would advise to any prospective students, based on both my successes and my failures.
Firstly, make sure you join societies. And I don’t just mean sporadically rocking up to Yoga Society for the first few weeks and then quitting when they ask you to pay the £3 membership fee. I mean actually engaging with a number of societies and getting stuck into them. Rest assured, you won’t be required to drink your own bodily fluids as an initiation for all of them (though I can’t promise this for some). Participating in sport and society events is one of the best ways to spend your time at university, and it gives you the opportunity to be part of the committee in your second and third year. Yes, it means less time to sit around watching Netflix and eating carcinogenic ready meals, but then that’s hardly great CV material is it?
SU Societies are such a crucial part of university life, so make the most of them!
Another key bit of advice that I would give to all new or would-be students is not to squander the academic side of university. It should really be your main reason for coming here in the first place, and yet so many students seem to miss this point. I once saw a quote shared on Facebook that read, “you can always redo an exam, you can’t redo a great night out”. I can assure you, the person who wrote this now works a pointless, uninspiring, menial job, with no prospect of escaping the £27,000 debt that they are still yet to start paying off. I cannot hammer this point home hard enough. Do not screw up the academic side of uni. It is the most important part of being here and you only get one chance at it.
Varsity Colour Run
My final bit of advice may seem slightly paradoxical, but it would be to ignore all of the advice given by “student” run media outlets. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what Sophie’s article on “top 10 things not to do as a fresher” says. And nor should you. The whole point of you going to university is to figure this stuff out for yourself. Yes, there are some basic bits of advice one should consider when moving into halls. Don’t turn your en suite bathroom into a meth lab and run a drug cartel from your bedroom…for example. But beyond that, the pages are pretty much blank. I am well aware that I am giving you advice from a student run media outlet and so my entire article is overflowing with irony. But mine is the exception. Ignore all of the “Omg don’t sleep with your new flatmate lol” articles and actually make your own decisions. You’ll be glad that you did so.
It is absolutely the case that your university years will be gone in a flash, and as such, you need to make sure you throw yourself into every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t delay joining societies or getting involved with extracurricular activities. These will become some of the most important parts of your university experience I can assure you. You need to make sure you milk every penny that you are spending on your £9,000 degree. Whether you like it or not, in three years’ time you’re going to owe the government quite a hefty sum. Your best bet therefore is to make yourself as employable as possible. However, if you’re only going to take one thing away from this article it would be this: Ignore every bit of generic freshers advice that you read online, because nearly all of it is regurgitated rubbish written by the uninspired and the unambitious. But then hey, what do I know?
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