15 things I wish I had known before starting University:

It’s almost 10 years ago to the day that I went off to University as a wide eyed 18 year old. Here are some of the things I wish that people had told me before starting.

  1. You have to study every day. The first time you drink a gallon of Red Bull in order to pull an all-nighter of studying and then are unable to sleep for three days straight, you will wish you had put forth a bit more effort in the weeks leading up your exam/essay deadline etc.
  2. You have to learn how to budget your money. Sponges, socks, washing up liquid etc. no longer just appear as if by magic, you have to buy them yourself.
  3. Everyone is just as eager to meet new people and make friends as you.
  4. It’s the only time in your life where you will have 24/7 access to your friends. Try planning a night out with your friends in your late 20s, you need at least two months advanced warning. It’s terrible.
  5. Get to know your lecturers and professors as they can be really interesting and helpful people.
  6. Eat healthy, you will gain weight!
  7. You can book rooms in the library to study in. This will come in handy when your flatmates decide to take up new hobbies like DJ-ing.
  8. Get as much work experience as possible. Doing a placement year, volunteering or having a part time job will set you apart from the crowd when it’s time to apply for a job.
  9. Do not put everything on Facebook or other social media sites. Images that reflect you in a poor light will follow you no matter how hard you try to get rid of them.
  10. Learn how to cook simple dishes. It’s so much cheaper than eating out!
  11.  Invest in a good pair of walking shoes or get to know public transport; spending money on taxis is just silly.
  12. Use the resources available to you. The Enterprise Office, the Careers Office, Student Support Services etc. are all there for you to take full advantage of and can offer some really great advice.
  13. Just because you’re friends with someone does not mean you can live with them. Choose your flatmates wisely. 
  14.  Give your liver a break. Drinking to excess is not a good idea. You act stupid and you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. No matter how lame it sounds, moderation can be quite fun.
  15. Learn love to change. Once you go off to University your friends and family, even your hometown, will change and so will you. It’s much better to enjoy the path you’re going down and be excited about change than to resist or fear it.
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About Taren Youngs

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Taren now lives and works in Cardiff as part of the Cardiff University Enterprise Team. As an Enterprise Officer Taren leads on the implementation of the Welsh Government funded Youth Enterprise Strategy SE HUB project and manages and coordinates an extracurricular programme of enterprise education events and activities. She also acts as a mentor to the Enactus team. Taren is dedicated to the student experience and to working with students as partners in both business and learning.