I've been thinking about what to say in this post for a while now as it's one I've been really looking forward to writing, probably because whilst I'll normally spend an hour happily rattling on about my latest make up love, I now get to talk about more meaningful life stuff (not taking away the importance of finding your holy grail foundation or perfectly fitting jeans here). So anyway it's a week until I head back to Sheffield to start my third and final year of uni studying English and Theatre, which means that there are also lots of excited and frightened freshers also about to start. I'm not saying that all freshers are frightened, I just know that when my parents were driving me up to a place I didn't know full people I didn't know six hours away from home in a car that looked like it contained the contents of our whole house I was pretty terrified, so I thought I'd share my top five tips for starting and staying at uni, which are mainly the things I wish I'd done...
My first tip is 100% the most important one as I can't stress enough how much joining my main society, SUPAS (Sheffield University Performing Arts Society) completely changed my uni life and how much I was enjoying it. I didn't actually join it until second semester as I was too scared too go along to auditions by myself in my first term, but I so wish I had as I think I would have had a much better time. You obviously might not be into musicals as much as I am, but it's the same with whatever society you want to be part of- you'll meet some of your best friends (I'm living with three amazing SUPAS friends this year), be part of incredible experiences that you won't get to do again and have a ridiculous amount of fun on socials. It also gives you something productive to do in all that time your not in lectures (which is most of the time if you do a degree like mine!) and gives you good CV expanding opportunity's, for example I'm Vice President on our society committee this year, which is great as let's face it nearly everyone has a degree these days so you need to do extra bits too. So what you waiting for, get yourself straight to that Freshers fair!
For most people uni is the first time you have to fend for yourself and cook your own food. At first this was a prospect that excited me greatly as I enjoy cooking and quite weirdly, I love food shopping (please tell me I'm not the only one), however when it's your money that your spending on boring bread and you that has to cook dinner after being out all day, food fending isn't something that appeals quite so much. That's why I think it's important to learn to love cheap and easy, but still nutritious food. Of course you could just head straight for the pot noodles, but they're over priced and have the health benefits of cardboard. When I'm at uni I pretty much always drink green tea (obviously you don't have to be a health freak and drink green), as tea is cheap, warm and a great thing to bond over with your new flatmates. My other uni food heroes include sweet chilli sauce, cous cous, veggie 'meat', porridge, soup, salad bags, tuna, mini milks, toast, chopped tomatoes, beans, apples and frozen berries. Communal food shopping and cooking is a great way to make and spend time with friends too :)
Anyone reading this that knows me personally will say I'm a huge hypocrite for this one, but this is a tip that I aim to actually follow myself this year as I've learned the hard way how important it is. As I'm sure some of you will know when you're into beauty and fashion it's incredibly hard not to spend all of your student loan the moment it enters your account. However speaking from experience as a girl who has a serious spending addiction despite not having much income and manages to max her overdraft several times a year, budgeting and looking at your bank balance is vital for not getting into tricky money situations. It might seem like you have a lot of money at the start of the semester, but once you've budgeted for food, bills, travel, nights out and the really boring things you've never even thought about buying before like printer paper and loo roll, you might not have a whole lot left to visit the MAC counter with. So I'm going to try a new thing of budgeting and putting aside first, then spending the whole lot I have left on clothes and make up after. Well that's a start isn't it? Oh and just in case your wondering, the photo is supposed to symbolise me checking my bank balance at expensive times, yes I was scraping the barrel for uni photos of me doing that...
The main thing I was worried about when I set off for uni was how hard it would be for me and my boyfriend to stay together. Back then we were eighteen, had only been together nine months and would be living 140 miles from each other with me in Sheffield and him in London. Well the good news is long distance does work as we've now been together almost three years and the distance now seems like a doddle! Long distance friendships work too as I still have the same great group of girls at home as I did when I left, you just have to keep in touch during term time and make the effort to meet up lots when your back. The only problem is I think you can keep in touch too much (as I demonstrate above by being on a night out and getting caught texting!) and this can take away from your uni experience. It's obviously a very personal thing, but when I'm at uni I see my boyfriend every two to sometimes three weeks and even though the time apart is hard, if we saw each other every weekend then I wouldn't make the most of uni. I think it's the same if your planning to visit home in between the holidays, just remember to make a proper go of it where you are, whilst not forgetting the people you love who aren't there.
5. Don't work too hard
To be fair I'm pretty sure I'm crashed out from alcohol here and not over working myself, but the point is that even though you do need to work hard to get a good degree and that is the reason you're there, there's so much more to uni than the work. Particularly in your fresher year, where none of the marks count towards your degree, you don't want to go crazy in the library and miss out on all the fun. I've got quite a few friends who feel like they worked far too hard in their first year and are making up for it now! You also want to make sure you look after yourself and get some good time management going as being ill at uni is rubbish (no mum to give you sympathy and make you lemsips, what's even the point?) and you'll want to get over that freshers flu as quickly as possible! So all in all just enjoy it, but don't worry too much if you don't enjoy it like mad straight away.
There's not much happening with me today which is why I've had the time to write this, just going to have some lunch, feed my cats, do day six of the shred and catch up on the Great British bake off...I clearly need to get back to uni to put some excitement in my life!
I hope you're all having a much more interesting start to your week!