What Cardiff’s class of 2021 would say to their first year selves

Sleeping with a flatmate is high on the no go list unfortunately…

As the class of 2021’s university journey comes to a close, there’s a lot that we can reminisce on. Freshers, those messy nights out, all the amazing societies you’ve joined, and the friends you’ve made for life.

The graduates of 2021 have so many fond memories to look back on, but one thing we’d all love to do is tell their first year self the dos and don’ts of university life.

All of us have at least one thing which we would say to our baby fresher selves, so let’s see what advice the 2021 graduates would give…

‘Don’t sleep with your flatmate’

Now this, oddly enough, was the most common piece of advice when we asked Cardiff students – “don’t shit where you eat”, you are bound to recognise either phrase and know exactly what they mean. As freshers, you are bound to be a bit giddy about leaving your childhood home and entering adulthood (and university) where no rules apply and you can do as please. Whilst it’s fun being single, a lot of our graduates would highly recommend against sleeping with your flatmate; obviously this works out for the rare few people, but why sleep with someone in your flat when there are plenty more fish in the sea! You’re at uni for three + years so get out there and explore before coming back to home base.

Don’t worry, be happy

It goes without saying that although you need to put the work in at uni, there is no point if you’re going to burn out within the first month. As freshers, you’ve worked so hard to get to uni so why not give yourself a break!! Of course, your degree comes first, but if you’re feeling sad or down then grab some friends, head to the SU and have a boogie. It doesn’t even need to be clubbing, it could be as simple as having a takeaway with your course mates; the point is, your university years are the best of your life and shouldn’t be spent stressing about every single lecture or deadline.

‘Don’t lose yourself trying to please everyone else’

We totally agree with this one. In your life, and especially at uni, you change and evolve as people, finding out what you do and don’t like in a safe environment. It’s so easy to go with the flow, and change who you are just to fit in. Who actually wants to be like the rest of the world?! That’s what makes us so interesting as people; we are all unique, and if we weren’t then the world would be a very boring place. The advice from our graduates to their fresher selves is that they will have much more fun if they stick to who they are, and live their true selves to the fullest rather than getting upset trying to be someone else.

First year is our practice year… right?

We spoke to one Cardiff student who, quite rightly, said to “go out and have more fun” which is totally true! They then followed up with “first year doesn’t count towards your grade!”. They’re right, first year doesn’t count towards your overall grade, but it does help to get into a good routine for second and third year. In saying that, you shouldn’t spend your first year at university holed up in your Taly room, trying to cram in that last bit of seminar prep whilst the rest of your mates get ready to go to Quids In at Pryzm. Sounds ideal right? WRONG. It’s all about balance, and that’s what our graduates wish they had done more of. In first year, you can 100% balance your work life and social life; after all, first year is about making friends and memories which you will carry with you even after university is longgg gone.

‘Join as many societies as you can’

Honestly, and we aren’t just saying this, there is a society for EVERYTHING at Cardiff. From Harry Potter to Anime to Baking to the classic sports clubs, there really is a club for everyone. Societies, especially in your first year, are the perfect way to not only meet new people but step out of your comfort zone! Every fresher is in the same nervous boat, and societies really help you to settle into university life and make life-long friends at the same time. We have met some of the best people at clubs and wouldn’t have it any other way. Plus, if you join a sports club, then you’ve got a perfect excuse to dress as something ridiculous and go to YOLO at the SU? What’s not to love?

A bunny, a lifeguard and an elf walk into the SU…

There’s a reason we mentioned YOLO at the SU. This night is legendary and is not to be missed. All sports clubs join together and party their university worries away (on a Wednesday?!) whilst dressed in anything and everything. Literally. Don’t be surprised to see Santas, hen parties, and rugby players dressed in netball dresses all taking a shot together. Weirder things have happened there, trust us. As first years, these classic nights amp your experience ten fold; don’t worry about being hungover on a Thursday morning, all the best students are.

Our trip down memory lane is complete and although we can’t go back in time, I’m sure our graduates have had the best time at Cardiff and will cherish their journey here forever.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Don’t worry if freshers isn’t always the dream you’ve been sold

• How to ward off the Freshers blues and settle into uni as a Cardiff student

• Independent coffee shops in Cardiff that will fuel your daily lockdown walks