So, you’re off to university…
Exciting, nerve-wracking, and you may be thinking, now what?
Well, that’s what I’m here for. I’m going to give you 8 things that you should do before starting university, to make the beginning of this new chapter as stress free as possible.
I’m about to start my second year of university this year, so I’ve been through the first year rollercoaster and pretty sure I’m fully stocked on the info you’ll need.
This is in no particular order of importance, just some ideas to get you going.
1. Create group chats & get to know people on your course and in your accommodation.
This makes your first day ten times easier. Most universities will have Facebook groups for their courses and accommodation, so as soon as you find people who are on the same one as you, create group chats, and start getting to know each other.
This means that there will be no awkward silences and long introductions, you’ll already know who everybody is, and ice breaker challenges won’t be as challenging.
2. Get organised with your files, folders & note-taking.
You’ll thank yourself in the long run with this. Make sure that you’ve created folders for the different modules and topics you’ll be doing, so that when you start lectures and assignments, you’ll be organised from the off.
Also, decide what type of note-taking you’re going to use. Whether that be handwritten notes or digital, and what programme you’re going to use, for example, Word, OneNote, or default note apps. Doing this makes it so much easier when you’re doing work, where you’re going to be taking notes and how you’re going to organise them, so you’re not stressing and messing up your work by having it all over the place. Believe me, I’ve been there.
3. Buy whatever your course needs.
It’s never a great feeling turning up on your first day, the lecturer asks you to get your textbook out or another item, and you don’t have it. Crisis.
Most uni courses will require you to buy something, whether that be a textbook, or items to use for work. For me, I needed textbooks, a USB stick and a memory card, and the best thing to do is buy them before you even set foot through the door. It makes your life so much easier, and you won’t have to ask to borrow one, when everyone else has theirs.
4. Familiarise yourself with your building/lecture rooms.
I’m not sure how possible this may be, but it’s always helpful to either visit the campus beforehand, or take a look at a map and familiar yourself with the building you’re going to be based in, and roughly where your rooms are.
It’s a very minor detail, but knowing where you’re going on your first day is a plus, meaning you’re not wandering around, panicking that you’re going to be late for a lecture. Universities are very big, complicated buildings, so familiarising yourself with the surroundings can put your mind at ease.
5. Bookmark or print your timetable.
This is another really simple idea, but one that could save you a lot of time. Whenever I needed to view my timetable, I had to log on, click on this, click on that, log onto the timetable space, and then I could see it. By bookmarking your timetable page, or even printing it off so you have a physical copy, could make your life so much easier.
Now whenever you need to quickly find out what room you’re in, there’s no need to spend 5 minutes navigating websites, you can get to it instantly.
6. Note down dates for deadlines, assignments, tests, exams etc.
Forgetting when something is due is a nightmare. We’ve all been in a situation where the teacher asks to see your homework, and you haven’t done it. Not on purpose, but because you forgot when it was due.
Taking the time to note down, or put in your calendar, all the dates for assignment deadlines, exams, coursework etc. is so important, it means that you’ll never forget when something is due again. My experience of assignments in university so far is that they never have a ‘start date’, my lecturers were always like, ‘you have this assignment, make sure it’s in for the due date’, so we just did it whenever we could. Obviously different universities will have different ways of working, but just be prepared for this scenario, because sometimes you could be doing 2/3 assignments at once, and you don’t want to lose track.
7. Make a loose study plan & organise your time.
This doesn’t have to be anything too drastic, just a loose plan of when you’re going to dedicate some time to study. I’ve learnt that it’s so important to start revising and studying early on, especially if you have exams coming up.
You may not have as many teaching hours in university compared to high school and college, but the amount of information you’re given can be quite overwhelming, so it’s so important to get organised as soon as possible. Make a plan, block out some time, so you know exactly when you’re going to study, and you won’t have to cram everything in at the last minute.
8. Don’t worry too much, be excited!
This is a brand new journey that you’re about to start, the beginning of your potential career and life path!
I’m sure you’ll be a mix of emotions, nervous, anxious, excited, scared, overwhelmed, all of the above. It’s completely natural to feel all of this right now, and believe me, I did. I was a bag of nerves starting uni, as I didn’t know anyone going into it (that’s why it’s so important to get to know each other beforehand), and I constantly questioned whether I was good enough.
From me to you, you are good enough. It’s ok to have moments (or days) where you’re feeling overwhelmed and doubting yourself, but I promise it gets better once you’re settled in.
Have the time of your life!