By Ellie Cawte
Ellie is starting her third year in Psychology at York
1 // YOU WILL LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Sounds beyond daunting, even for me at the thought of doing it again. For my close friends it'll be difficult to believe, but I’m an extremely shy person when it comes to meeting people for the first few times. So starting Uni (especially somewhere over 200 miles away from home) was terrifying to tell you the least. But if you bite the bullet and just go for it, you’ll get so much out of your 'Uni experience'.
2 // YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT YOUR GRADES
Queue disapproving looks from parents/teachers/lectures. Oops. For most courses you only need 40% to pass your first year. I'm not saying 'aim for 40%', but you’ve got leeway. First year is a year that doesn't count, on purpose, so you can settle in to your new surroundings, make new friends, get used to the new format of learning and your course. Don't panic if it doesn’t look like you're on course for a solid First, you have second and third year for that
N.B. Please disregard point 2 if your course where first year does count. I really don't want to be to blame for a failed degree and thousands of pounds flushed down the drain...
3 // YOU WILL HAVE MUCH MORE FREEDOM
You can go to bed when you want, you can watch films all night, you can have dinner at 2 in the morning, you can get back really late from a night out and sit up chatting with housemates til the sun literally comes up. You can and will eat some weird stuff. That goes for drinks too. I don't know what it is, but for some reason living on your own for the first time in your life, with a bunch of other people, you’ll get into weird food habits.
4 // YOU WILL MEET SOME OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE
And probably some people you can't wait to be away from forever - time to give thanks for going to a Uni that’s far enough away that you can scamper back, never having to stumble across him/her again. Some people you meet at the beginning of term could end up being your best friends. Some people you think could be your best friends could end up being people you never want to see again in your life. The friendships made at Uni are unlike any other you've probably ever and probably will ever experience in your life.
5 // YOU'LL WANT A JOB. GET A JOB. HATE THE JOB.
Contrary to popular opinion I know, but, if you can afford not to, I wouldn't recommend getting a job. But if you need to, or really desperately want to, I'd definitely leave yourself some time to settle in at least a bit, get your bearings before you decide to enter employment. Maybe avoid a bar/pub job, as you'll be working the hours you want to be out in the bars/pubs, and barely ever get to see all your great new friends I mentioned in point 4. If you do decide to get a job make sure both you and your employer know what hours are expected, if you're wanting to go home for the holidays, what your Uni timetable/commitments schedule is like. It avoids confusion, and messy situations in the future. Believe me, I've been there.
6 // THERE WILL BE A POINT WHEN EVERYTHING GETS TOO MUCH
And that's fine. It happens to the strongest, toughest people. Even the people that seem like the steady rock of the group. Being away from everything familiar, your family, your home friends; it's a really weird situation to be in frankly honest. Everything is new and different, it's only natural it's going to put a strain on you. Don't worry if you need to call your mum at 2 in the morning (although I can't promise she'll be overly happy about the timing...), don't worry if you need to book a spontaneous trip home. Sometimes you just need to be a bit selfish, and no one can nor will blame you for that.
7 // IT WILL MOST LIKELY BE A LOT OF FUN
But don't worry if its not. I've spoken to countless people who have said second/third year have been their best year at Uni. It's completely different for everyone. If you're having a really s**t time, there are always people you can talk to, things you can do, new people to meet. I've also spoken to an equal number who have dubbed first year as one of the best years of Uni/their lives. So make the most of it. Love a reminiscing beginner of Third Year (eek)