Hope everyone is hanging in there and doing okay!
Since I've had more free time at home, I've had a lot of time to reflect and I've even recently stumbled across old photos of myself in first year. It's super odd looking back at the younger version of myself, the same person 4 years ago who had to google how to cook eggs. It's crazy the person I started off as in first year feels like someone who existed so long in the past.
My first year at university was a roller coaster ride. It went by super-fast and there were so many ups and downs along the way. I met so many new and amazing people, some of which are still my closest friends to this day! Being so far away from home and living alone for the first time ever, I've learnt so much and grown in more ways than I ever thought I would.
Now that the end of my degree is approaching, I couldn't help but look back and think about all the things I wish I knew as an incoming first year student.
Here are a few things I wish I knew:
- Don't be scared to approach anyone and introduce yourself! Don't wait for them to approach you first, take the first step – remember everyone is in the same boat as you are and is looking for new friends just like you!
- Following on from the first point, don't be afraid to attend any events alone! I'll admit, I did refrain from attending any events before finding a solid group of friends and it's one of my biggest regrets. No one judges you for showing up alone as there's so many people doing the same and it's such a great way to meet new people with similar interests
- Join as many clubs that you find interesting! It's a great way to meet people and get involved. Don't worry about over exhausting yourself as there is no proper commitment and you can always back out if you change your mind.
- "Freshmen 15" is real! For those of you who aren't aware of what this is, "Freshmen 15" refers to the 15 pounds of weight gained during the first year of university. It's easy to forget to look after yourself when there are so many good food deals on campus, the fresher parties and late-night snack runs. Whilst you should indulge and enjoy yourself, try to cook at home and learn new recipes instead of eating out or ordering in for every meal!
- Whilst your first year grade doesn't count towards your overall degree, it's still super important to work hard, especially for those who are looking to go abroad in their third year! For IM and IMABS, your first-year grade determines whether you get your first-choice year abroad location, so putting in the work will definitely pay off – I promise!
- Be wary of your spending habits! It's easy to get caught up with all the social events happening and spending lots of money unknowingly on food or drinks. Keep a weekly budget and stick to it.
- Never pay full price for anything! There are a ton of student deals you can take advantage of! I wish I had known about all the lunch deals on campus and in the city! Unidays and StudentBeans are also super handy with discounts on almost all your essential shopping needs.
- Remember that university is a marathon not a sprint! You will be challenged to live independently, which did not come easy for me. Don't be too hard on yourself and be proud of every little accomplishment, whether it be going grocery shopping by yourself for the first time or learning how to make a simple dish for dinner, it's still a step forward in the right direction!
University definitely made me a stronger and more independent person. Living on my own, in a totally different country was terrifying and challenging but I wouldn't be the person I am now without those experiences.
If you're starting university soon, you'll be in the same position as I was and I hope this helped you! Just remember that you'll be able to overcome whatever challenges life throws at you and you'll come out of it the best version of yourself!
Till next time,