Everything I learnt in my first year at uni

Nothing completely prepares you – but this might help


I wish someone had given me a comprehensive list of everything they had learnt during their first year at university to help me prepare.

Nothing will completely prepare you for the most stressful but fun year of your life but this might help you to be a little more aware of what is ahead!


Probably one of your biggest worries is whether you’ll like your flatmates. Being completely honest, you will either love them or hate them. They could become your best friends, your life-long pals and you will have years of amazing fun with them. Or you will absolutely loathe them, they could be bitchy, weird and you could have nothing in common with them. Who your flatmates are is the one thing about university that you cannot control but you should make an effort with them. Be nice, smile and make the best of what you have.

bff 4 lyf

bff 4 lyf

Work, work, work

Always go to lectures and seminars. When it’s a Monday morning, dark and rainy outside, it can seem almost impossible to get out of bed. We have all been there. Chances are, the lecture you miss is the one where they mention a test, give a tip about an exam or give useful advice about coursework. Take detailed notes in those lectures and always back up your computer files. Your laptop WILL crash, most typically when you’re 4000 words through your 5000-word essay. Don’t risk it!

Find yourself and some good friends

University is about finding yourself, what you enjoy and who you like spending time with. Get involved with everything! Sign up for clubs and societies you are passionate about and stay committed to them! Never say ‘no’ (unless it’s to a sleaze-ball in Oceana)! Say ‘yes’ to a day out or an invitation to a trip to the cinema with a potential friend. Try new things and explore the city. You won’t always find someone who is interested in what you’re into so don’t be afraid to go out on your own and meet new people there.

sweaty sweaty sweaty

sweaty sweaty sweaty

Party in the UK

Going out clubbing every night is an option at uni. This doesn’t mean you should do it. Clubbing is expensive, exhausting and repetitive. Everyone loves student night out but sometimes Netflix with friends and microwave popcorn is also fun!

Did I make the right choice?

Uni is full of choices and opportunities. Pizza or salad? Gym or bed? Study or beer? One minute you’re sharing a large pizza with your flatmates and the next, your jeans won’t do up. The freedom to eat and drink what you want away from home means that putting weight on is easy. Stay as healthy as you can. But it’s not just your diet you’ll end up questioning, most people question their degree choice in their first year of uni. This is completely normal in a year of stress and compulsory modules. You can’t just breeze through uni, you have to earn those marks so don’t be surprised if your marks aren’t as high as you want them. University will push you.

Have I got a six-pack now?

Have I got a six-pack now?

“I’m fine Mum, stop worrying”

Your parents will worry. They will call all the time. They will miss you. It is ok to go home for a weekend, to miss them and feel homesick. Make the most of your parents! Share your stress and worries with them, they want to feel involved and part of your uni life (even from the other side of the country). Mum might even send you a ‘care package’ full of home comforts and supplies!

Time flies

You will leave everything to the last minute! All-nighters fuelled by copious amounts of Red Bull and coffee will happen more than they should. You will spend your first year constantly tired and exhausted. You will probably nap multiple times during the day and continually feel like you need a holiday. Chances are you will laugh a lot, cry a lot and before you know it, first year will have finished. It’s a cliché but time flies so enjoy all the ups and downs first year at uni presents!