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How to nail your first year at Newcastle, according to a second year

Remember your folks back home


First year is the most stressful year of university: you’re living away from home for the first time your family seem a long way away. But you survive, have the best year and are sad when you have to head home for summer. But in-between these two moments, a lot happens. Follow these simple steps and you'll nail first year.

Say yes to everything

Nights out, trips to Spoons and joining societies are the best ways to socialise and make new friends. You’ll meet nobody by sitting in your room re-watching old episodes of Friends, Peep Show or The Office. Keep the Netflix binging for those inevitable hungover mornings when the last thing you want to do is socialise (especially if you royally embarrassed yourself the night before).

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Remember it’s only first year

In the words of Fresh Meat’s JP: “First year is beer year.” For the majority of freshers, uni work doesn’t count towards your final grade – you still have to get enough marks to make it onto second year but don’t let your academic work impede you enjoying your first year. You only get to do it once. Obviously you do have to attend lectures (you are paying over £9,000 a year after all), but don’t let your assessments or seminar work take over your life.

Learn to cook

Plain and simple, you can’t afford to eat takeaways or ready meals for every meal: they’re expensive and high in sugar, fat and salt. Cooking is so much easier than it may appear and can be a very social activity. Once you’ve got the basics down, branching out to more adventurous meals is easy. And trust me, eating pasta everyday quickly becomes very dull.

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Be money savvy

Remember you only have a certain amount of money, and once you’re in your overdraft it can be very difficult to climb out again. Learning how to budget is a life skill. You will undeniably need it in second and third year, so learn to budget in first year while you have the luxury of not paying household bills. Don’t spend all your money on Northumberland Street…although it is easier than you think.

Stay hygienic and be nice to your cleaners

If you’re nice to your cleaners they’ll be nice back and may do your washing up for you, it’s as simple as that. Keeping your flat clean is so crucial as pretty quickly it can go from being perfectly fine to mould central. Your room will be the only area you have that’s just yours so keep it tidy – nobody’s going to want to have a one night stand in a shithole of a room.

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Be considerate of your housemates

Quite simply, you live with these people so don’t piss them off. Don’t leave your mouldy dishes in the sink, don’t steal your housemates' food, and don’t have really loud sex at three in the morning or you will most definitely become public enemy number one.

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Keep in contact with your parents

Your parents are still your parents and will worry about you daily, remember it’s scary for them as well. Also don’t forget they hold the keys to the bank of mum and dad. If you don’t talk to your parents, it may be difficult to beg for money when you’re down to your last tenner.

Do not stress about second year housing

Don’t rush into signing for a house for second year. Letting agents use scare tactics to convince you to sign as soon as possible. The reality is you have a lot more time than you think you do, so don’t make any snap decisions. Choosing your house and your housemates is a decision that needs to be carefully thought out. Making a poor or hasty decision can lead to a difficult housing situation in second year, at which point it’ll be too late.

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So make the most of your first year: throw yourself head first into every opportunity presented to you, socialise as much as possible and try not to stress too much about your work. You're only going to get to do first year properly once after all, so you may as well make sure you do it right.