I’ve been asked to write a post contemplating my first days at University (now rather a distant memory) and the things which would have been useful to know before I started, so I could have avoided wasting time and money and make the most of my 3 years there.
So a few of my suggestions to think about as you prepare for University
1) Indulge your interests or discover a new one
Universities are a place where you can indulge your interests and with such a large student population there is a good chance you’ll find like minded individuals. Cardiff University has over 200 student societies and sports clubs, so there are plenty of opportunities and it you can’t find one to your liking – you can set up your own. In my 3 years as an undergrad at university I played the clarinet in a windband, learnt ballroom dancing, played netball and got up before it was light many mornings and learnt to row. I had a ball and met some amazing people.
Make sure you make the most of your time here and go and talk to some enthusiastic people at the Societies Fairs!
2) Don’t bring too many saucepans
A student kitchen (usually pretty small) with eight sets of saucepans which no one ever wants to wash up is not the best use of your space. Consider buying what you need when you get here and sharing costs with your flat mates. If you have excess stuff – have a think about how you can use this to your advantage and maybe sell it on to friends to make some money. First make sure that it wasn’t a heirloom of your mum’s which she wanted back……
3) You have control over your time
You may not agree at first as you are thrown into the chaos of Freshers’ Week, and receive your lecture timetable, but while you’re at university is probably when you will have the most control over your own time and flexibility in your activities. Okay, so you’ve got to fit in your lectures and make sure you spend plenty of time in the library or the lab, and get your assignments in on time, but once you start your first graduate job you’ll realise how much free time you had! Make the most of it. Develop your skills, help others by volunteering or try out your own ideas and start a business.
4) Make friends for life!
You will meet loads of people in your first weeks at University, some of whom you may wish never to meet again, but some of them will become friends for life. Or even business partners as two graduates, Helen McAvoy and Naiomi Kibble, who met through the student society AIESEC discovered when they decided to start a business selling frozen cocktails www.rocktails.co.uk. Whoever you meet you’ll find you spend much of the first week swopping statistics on your A level results, hometown, the degree you’re studying and how small your student room is. Bear with it – the conversations will get much more interesting.
5) Spot opportunities
Whether it is the free food at a welcome event or a chance to try out a new sport for free, there will be lots of opportunities open to you in your first few months at university as various societies and university support services try to attract you along. Use them! You may go along for the free food, but find there is actually something that might change your life at university and beyond. Watch out for the Enterprise Launch Event on the 8th October!