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What I wish I'd known before university!

Posted on 01/08/2018


What I wish I'd known before university!

Here's what I wish I had known before I started.

1. Housing

A common mistake made by freshers is rushing into signing a house for second year. We’ve all been there.  It seems like there will never be enough ‘suitable’ houses to accommodate everyone, but even in small cities, there is far more student housing than you think. Don’t panic. It’s far better to be with the right housemates than in the right building.

2. Contact time

One thing few appreciate before arriving at university is how little direct tuition you are given compared to school. I studied law at Leeds University so my course was pretty intense but I know others are consisted mostly of ‘independent study’ rather than a regular teaching programme.

It is important to use the time you have - spending the final week in the library, powering through essay after essay, is not the most satisfying way to finish the term.

3. Work/social-life balance

This leads me on to the crucial work social-life balance.

In first year, your work (in the majority of cases) does not count towards your degree. This does not mean you should sit around idly all year doing nothing – you will not thank yourself in the long run.

Having said that, definitely make the most of being able to go out as much as possible without feeling guilty about it. By the time you reach third year, you will yearn for the days when you could wallow in a hangover, without the vexing feelings of guilt, knowing you should be in the library, doing something productive with your life.

However, it's not all doom and gloom by the time you reach final year. We all approached it expecting the fun to be over: relentless hours in the library, copious cups of coffee, as we attempted to trawl through endless essays and books.

Yes it is hard work, but third year was certainly my favourite year, largely because my friends and I managed to achieve the work/social balance.

We still went out – less regularly, yes, but we would have the best time when we did, making the most of the release from work.

It’s also very satisfying to have a proper purpose with your work. The library became the social hub of university life. Towards dissertation deadline and finals, ‘Library Lunches’ were the highlight of the social calendar. And, for any students about to embark on their third year - dissertations are nowhere near as bad as they’re hyped up to be.

4. Essay admin

You would think that when you’ve finally finished writing your essay, you’re done. Sadly, that’s not the case. Do not underestimate the amount of time referencing, a bibliography, page numbers etc. takes.

Not to mention printing – always leave plenty of time to print. I can guarantee there will be some technical disaster when your deadline is imminent.

Typically, there was a problem with the library printers, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

5. Reading lists

You do not need to buy all the books on your reading list.

I made this mistake in both first and second year. 80 per cent of the books are still on my bookshelf, untouched. It is definitely nice to have your own copy to annotate – but you do not need a copy of every single book. The chances are you won’t need half of them.

6. Student landlords

This applies to second and third year students living in houses. Some student landlords are often indifferent to the problems students complain about. Do not refrain from pestering them until they’ve completed the task you require.

Here at Edge Student Living we deal with all student issues straight away – have a look at our Facebook reviews to see what our tenants have to say about us!

We’re often told we’re not like other student landlords which is lovely to hear!

7. Finances

University is far more expensive than anyone expects. You may think that the primary concern when budgeting is the nights out: alcohol, mixer, shots and entry to the club certainly all add-up. But don’t forget to take into account the following day: I spent 90 per cent of my student loan on hungover brunches with my friends.

Being hungover provided the perfect excuse for us to justify ordering far more coffees, smoothies and sweet treats than we really needed. Oh, and don’t forget to factor in the money you’ll fork out on coffees in the library – it’s the only way to get through the 4pm ‘slump’.

8. Societies

If I could change anything about my time at university it would be that I didn’t join as many societies as I could have. Everyone says it, but it’s true – take part in as much as possible – be it the Law Society or Chess Club – it will all add to your experience.

Finally, I know this is clichéd, but make the most of your time at uni – it really does fly by.  And then you have to join the real world!!!!!

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