Talking Points

happy university students

5 helpful tips for starting university

If you recently finished your A levels and got accepted into a university, you’ll now be busy enjoying your summer. However, as summer moves on, you’ll find your mind wandering to your future, as there is a significant change ahead for you, which features many unknowns.

So, what is important when you start uni? Follow these five tips and you won’t go far wrong.

1. Set a weekly budget

Whether you are used to managing your own money or not, university life will bring with it a whole host of new ways to spend money — which can leave you skint unless you budget your money wisely. It can be very tempting to blow a chunk of your student loan as soon as you receive it, but don’t forget that it needs to last you the year, and also you do have to pay it back!

Remember to prioritise within your budget too — food is more important than a few cocktails! A small budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a regular night out with your mates though — there are plenty of offers at local bars and clubs for students in Leeds.

2. Manage your uni workload

A university student, studying

Managing your workload is crucial. Deadlines that are weeks away may leave you tempted to put it all off ‘til later and get on with having some fun, however, when ‘later’ comes you’ll be cursing your past self for not doing more earlier on. Make a plan which includes uni work and fun activities, and stick to it. Of course, if your friends are all heading out one night, and you’d scheduled that evening for writing an essay, you can be flexible and swap it for another night — it’s crucial you balance work with play at university.

3. Learn to cook

If you’re going to stay healthy at university (physically and mentally), you’re going to need a varied diet, featuring lots of fruit and veg. Before you leave for uni, spend some time with a parent, and ask them to teach you how to cook at least three basic meals. Not only will this help you to look after yourself, but you’ll also find you’ll save money at the supermarket, as it’s often much cheaper to cook from scratch than live on convenience food. You might find your cooking abilities make you a very popular housemate, too!

Want some recipe ideas? Here are some lush meals you can make for under £3 per person!

4. Enjoy the first year while it lasts

university student friends

A year sounds like a long time, but I guarantee that your first year at university will fly by! On many courses, the work you submit in your first year doesn’t count towards your final grade, so while it’s essential to get your work done well and on time, don’t stress too much about it — with less pressure, year one offers an excellent opportunity to have some fun before you buckle down for years two and three.

5. Make some friends

Uni can be a lonely experience without friends, so make sure you put some effort into making them. Extroverts should have no problem with this, as you meet so many new people when you start university — during Fresher’s week, on your course, in your accommodation, on night’s out, etc. However, it can be a little trickier for introverts, who tend to dislike small talk and prefer long, meaningful conversations. It’s certainly not impossible though — there are plenty of introverts at every uni. If you’re struggling to find people you connect with, try joining a society or sports club that interests you. There’s some great tips for introverts at uni, here.

If you’re heading off to university soon, you’ll probably also want to know how to stay in touch with your school friends, and how to manage stress at uni.

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