10 things I wish someone had told me before I started at Lancs Uni

So much time and effort wasted

University, for everyone, is a learning curve. And for a brand new first year, probably the biggest one we will ever go on. There are countless mistakes to be made, from cooking, cleaning and shopping for yourself to setting an alarm, so you aren’t legging it to your nine am seminar.

However, I am a firm believer that some of these mistakes could have been easily avoided. Particularly for me. Here are six things I wish someone had told me before I started at Lancs.

Aldi is your best friend

Seriously, the first time I had to stock up my freezer after eating all of the ready meals my family bought me, I was really worried. I was pushing a trolly around, frantically trying to do the maths in my head (not a good look for a theatre student), figuring out if I had enough in my budget to get everything I needed. The dreaded checkout came. £13. I had to ask the cashier to repeat themselves. Why would you go anywhere else? Plus, it’s close to the bus stop, so you don’t have to lug your bags that far either!

If you can, go to any bus stop other than the underpass

This one particularly applies to those living down in Lonsdale or Cartmel.

I’m just saying; the 100 goes all the way around South West Campus. And what a revelation that was for me when I realised I didn’t have to leg it up to the underpass every time I wanted to go into town! Why walk further than you need to – if you already live down there, you deserve a break.

Always get two cocktails in the 2-4-1 at Grizedale Bar

Grizedale Bar and 2-4-1 cocktails are one and the same in the minds of most Lancs students. However, I only like to have one drink at a time, to pace myself, and the first time I asked for a single cocktail in Grizedale, the horrified expressions on the bar staff’s faces told me everything I needed to know. So the next time I went, I got two at once. And blimey, it’s a game-changer. I didn’t have to go back to the bar, and it cost me way less! One of the things I wish I had known earlier.

Tell your flatmates when you’re having people over

It’s just polite. One friend – we don’t mind. It’s nice to meet new people while you’re cooking and they’re having a cuppa in the kitchen. A house party, though? That’s a whole different kettle of fish. Just give them some a warning, at least. That way, they won’t yell at you the next day.

Don’t bring washing up liquid when you move in

In our flat of eight people, we have five bottles of washing up liquid by the sink, plus three more that I know of in cupboards. It’s four weeks in, and they keep multiplying. No one knows where they are coming from, and everyone insists they haven’t bought any.

Don’t bring washing up liquid with you. Someone else will.

No one sees it as a weakness to see your family often

I am very much a family person and knew that because I was only moving an hour away, I would go home to see my family fairly often – not every week, but every few weeks. I was also really concerned that people would judge me for this or think it was weird. I am so grateful to have found the opposite and that lots of people do the exact same thing! Had I known this beforehand, it would have saved me so much worry.

Bowland North is a maze, and you will get lost

I arrived thirty minutes early for my first seminar, just to be on the safe side… which was lucky because it took me twenty of those minutes to find Seminar Room 24. Why is it such a maze? No one knows! Will we ever learn our way around it? Probably not!

Doing the reading actually helps

Possibly not a shocker to some, as it was all sixth form teachers ever warned us about. Do the reading! You won’t understand any of the lectures if you don’t! Before the first week of classes, I didn’t understand the readings, so the lectures petrified me. But oddly enough, despite not getting 90% of the reading material, the lectures made sense because of what I’d read.

Stick with it, me from four weeks ago. You’re doing the right thing.

The Greggs queue will haunt your nightmares but is ultimately worth the wait

That gap between a nine am lecture and a four pm seminar is brutal. A sausage roll takes the sting off it, though. Even if it means queueing in the pouring rain, the blinding sun, and everything in between, the joy of the pastry is unlike anything else.

Eat your vitamins and get some sleep

A diet of pasta and pesto combined with coffee and alcohol might be practical, but it sure isn’t healthy. Frozen veg is awesome, as is fruit. Sleep helps too! Just because you can go out on both a Friday and a Saturday doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Uni is hard enough without taking care of yourself!

So, there you have it. The ten things I wish I had known before starting at Lancs. Possibly not a communal experience, but certainly some handy tips for my fellow freshers who are still adjusting!

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