What I would tell my fresher self

A fourth year’s wisdomous guide

I think there’s many things that we look back on and think yeah, I  probably shouldn’t have done that , or, I wish I did that.

But have you ever stopped and thought, what advice would I give to myself in first year?

I’ve decided come up with a list of everything I wish I could tell my first year self.

Don’t be afraid to join a society

Yes, the netball team are tall – but don’t let this stop you. I went around, receiving flyers with absolutely no intention to join any due to laziness, being scared and didn’t want to join anything that wouldn’t be seen to my friends as ‘cool’. It took me three whole years to join The Tab! Even if it’s half way through the term, societies are always keen to get new members so there’s no harm in dropping an email.

Don’t worry too much about work

If you’re a fresher, I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times. But honestly, just stretch it out over a few days in the weeks building up to the deadline. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Maybe 200 words before you go out?

4 nights out in a week = 800 words

2 weeks = 1600 words.

You’ve basically finished your essay – boom.

Reference everything and don’t worry if you’re getting 50%’s right now. It’s all just one big learning curve for 2nd year.

Ask for help

Whether this is academic or general – if you don’t ask you don’t get. If you really don’t know how to write an essay, ask your lecturer – it’s kinda what they are there for! It’s quite scary to stick your hand up but I can assure you, you’ll hear at least 3 sighs of relief behind you from others who didn’t understand. It’s not a bad thing to not know, we can’t be expected to know everything. I have started to become a bit of a teachers pet in 4th year, but I’d rather that than do badly on my assignments.

For more general cases, go to the student service desk. Book an appointment just to talk to someone about it. Trust me, it makes you feel better. Even the people you think will have it all together have probably been there. Talking and venting is the best.

My mum can only take so much.

Look nice in lectures

If you look like a slob, you’ll feel like a slob and probably not listen. Since you’re there, you may as well be presentable. Just wake up a little earlier and maybe chuck that hoodie to the side for today? It’s amazing how much more confident you can feel and just carry on the day a bit more productively.

However, if you’re seriously hungover… abort mission.

Don’t worry about what other people think

This is a big one for me. During 1st and even 2nd year – I was always self-conscious to doing things that my friends thought was ‘weird’ or ‘cringey’ – so I never really expressed myself. Just be true to yourself and you may find yourself as a food challenger, kids entertainer, marketer, presenter, Tab writer, Fulham fan, social media enthusiast, blogger…. (seriously need to calm down with all of this).

But honestly, I didn’t tell my flatmates until the end of 2nd year that I was a kids entertainer because I was embarrassed of what they’d say, and now I just don’t care cause I love what I do. It feels so much better just to not worry cause you enjoy whatever you do at the end of the day.

Don’t get with your flatmates

No comment. Just don’t do it.

Go out for more meals/casual drinks than just nights out

I did so many nights out in first year I almost ran out of casual day clothes that I hadn’t already had photos in. Why not spend your money on some good food and gossiping? Some of my best nights now have been just a pub drinking session with the girls – you can actually hear each other!

You are smart

This is quite personal to me but since being at uni, all the girls on my course were getting around 70-80% on assignments and I was sat there with my 50% praying no-one asked me what I got.

I got myself down constantly that I wasn’t smart enough – however, it was just learning how to adapt to these changes. Just ask the lecturers where you went wrong and learn from your mistakes. You were smart enough to get into the uni – you are clever enough to be here. Just invest some more time and ask some people on your course for some advice for the next assignment.

You are definitely not alone. Everyone struggles at some point.

Over the past 4 years, I’ve probably said I’ve wanted to drop out of uni maybe 67 times. But if you keep at it and remember that these are just learning experiences helping you to build yourself into being a better you. I was the one who was passing by the scrape of my teeth and now I’m starting to firsts in my assignments – so it is achievable!

Don’t jump into signing a house too quickly

‘I heard that all the good ones are gone by November’ – this is a rumour. Please look around for some decent houses in Jesmond, Sandyford etc because they do exist. Also, be 100% sure with who you want to live with. You’ve got plenty of time to keep looking and you don’t want to live in disgusting house and half of the people you live with you don’t like. The house we lived in in 2nd year was sarcastically named ‘The Palace’ due to it being so tragic. Don’t worry palace girls, this doesn’t involve you.

Take full advantage of the unlimited heating and hot water

Have showers that last for hours (I’m definitely a poet) and just lay against your radiator for a bit and enjoy it. You won’t have these privileges next year!

Don’t promote for a club you’ve never been to/been to once

Unless you love the night and have a lot of friends there – the cash isn’t worth it. Either get another proper part time job or just don’t bother wasting yours, the clubs flyers or anyone else’s time.

Don’t bow down to peer pressure to take drugs

I’ve never done them before, but I’ve seen lots of my friends slowly get warped into the world of drugs just through influence. If you do want to do it – be my guest. But please don’t do it just because everyone else is. There are plenty of people who don’t do it and you’ll thank yourself in the future with all that extra money you have. Granted, you’ll probably spend it on trebles.

Make friends on your course

It’s all well and good to have lots of friends in your halls. But the big jump from 1st to 2nd year was the realization that I was further away from people who actually knew what my assignment was going on about. The girls I lived with were great, but they couldn’t help me when it came to Marketing sadly. If you can, try and get a good friendship on your course and even live with someone from it – it’s always nice to go through your assignments together so you’re on the same wavelength.

Hate to end on a 13, but my brain is starting to melt with ideas.

I wish I could go back to my 1st year self and tell of these things (and more) to her. Cause in all honesty she was a naive idiot who had no confidence in herself and just went along with a bit of a crowd. But now I feel like I’ve got this whole ‘uni’ thing under control and personally enjoying myself a lot more because of it.

Have any more things you’d like to add to my list? Please feel free to Tweet me @kateovens.