Hello guys and welcome back! I know some, if not, most of you lovely people reading this blog are students – whether that be GCSE, A-level, Undergrads or even post-grad students. If not, carry on reading for the outfit at least ;).
When I first started uni I didn’t do so completely willingly. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t forced into it, my dad didn’t even want me to go to uni! But my sister had a big role to play in me going to uni. So after getting my A-level results and hearing I didn’t get into my first choice, the London School of Economics, nor my second choice, King’s, I went through clearing and landed a place in Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) studying what I wanted to do – BA Geography (and boy do I loveeee geography!) Definitely a course I would recommend.
The first week was probably the toughest, I had 0 friends. I found courage in the fact that most people make friends later… like one or two weeks later. A month went by… nada.
I never had a big circle of friends growing up and changing primary schools three times growing up really had an effect on me. I was the introverted shy type, always the good student and “a pleasure to teach”. Naturally, I had a bit of trouble getting to know people and making friends. When I started university, I spent a good few months going to lectures and heading home or visiting friends in other unis.
But then December rolled around and then I found her… I found a best friend! Dina (who you guys have probably already seen) has been my closest friend throughout uni and from there, I met a bunch of new people. So don’t worry, you’ll find people. Even if you don’t, it’s honestly not the end of the world. Learn to love your own company – it’s what I do best!
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The work stuff
Uh. The thought still makes me feel a sense of lethargy but I learnt by second year that the quicker you get to those deadlines, the more you’ll thank yourself later. Don’t pull all-nighters, even though your friends tell you they managed to get the coursework done in 8 hours straight overnight. It’s not healthy and it won’t be as good, you’ll be selling yourself short to the markers.
Once you get your handbooks for your modules, get the books from the library the same day (check they’re available in your uni before buying them!). Chances are, the core reading will be all gone by the time your deadlines get close and you wont want to miss out on all that info they’re expecting to read. Timetable in an hour or so a day for reading before/after your lectures. I did this for some of my lectures and I honestly thanked myself for it later.
Organisation will be your best friend. Although you’re pretty independent in college and sixth form, you’re completely alone in university and you manage yourself. Your tutor will probably track your attendance but in terms of doing the best that you possibly can, the lecturers and tutors don’t get paid to push you. So push yourself and be your biggest motivator. Turn up to every lecture. 9am’s are difficult I know… but everyone else manages to get up, so get up! Have a notebook for every module or a separate folder in your laptop if that’s how you’ll be taking your notes. Print out your readings if that makes you process the information better and if you struggle with time management, iCal and reminders on your phone will be your best friend.
That brings me to my second point, don’t forget to have fun. It’s true, uni really is the best time of your life so don’t overwork yourself and make sure you see the people you want to see (but just make sure it’s not the day of a huge deadline). Staying happy and healthy will make uni life a lot more easier so don’t feel bad for taking a day or two off to completely chill every week. But I’m sure I won’t have to convince you to do that. If you want to have a really chill evening, I recommend lighting a candle, making yourself a cup of Ovaltine and watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=ulaMqATXPz4
Not joining societies is my biggest regret so you should probably join some and step a little out of your comfort zone.
Managing your money
So student loans come in and for a lot of us, it’s the first time we’re seeing those figures in our bank accounts… ker-ching! But it’s easy to go a bit crazy with the money so here’s a few tips to help you manage it:
- Make a document or just jot down your money coming in every month. make a list of expenses (including bills, travel, food and some for social activities) – even though this doesn’t necessarily save you money, it helps you keep track of how much you’re spending and you’re able to see if you’re getting a little too spendy some months.
- With any money you have left over, deposit some into your savings account if you have one (if you don’t, think about opening one).
- Check if you’re eligible for grants – you don’t have to pay these back and a lot of the time, people who are able to claim them aren’t aware! Your university will also have some grants available, check if you’re eligible for them too.
- Open a Santander 1|2|3 Student Current Account. I opened one in my first year and managed to save a lot with the 18-25 railcard they give you once your accounts opened. It won’t save you money on monthly or weekly travel cards but it will save you 1/3 of the price on pay as you go oyster prices on off-peak journeys. A travel card didn’t work out cheaper for me (check if it does before you buy one) and most of my journeys to uni were off-peak so the railcard saved me quite a bit over the three years – also, you can get this added to your oyster card rather than carrying it around with you.
- The Santander 1|2|3 Student Current Account also gives you quite a big overdraft limit which is always nice to have as a safety net when you start uni because it can be the first time you’re making a lot of purchases daily/weekly. I’d really emphasise to not become reliant on the overdraft limit though, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Life after grad
As a graduate I chose not to apply for a job but chose to become a full-time social influencer. Working for yourself can be a really strange thing – something I’m still getting the grips of. Especially when you’re a fashion blogger, makeup YouTuber and lifestyle vlogger – almost every aspect of my life relates to some content that I create so I’m still learning how to fully switch off. But at the moment, I feel that my career is just getting started so I’m not fully into the swing of things just yet but we’re getting there!
I hope you enjoyed reading and I wish you all the best of luck in whatever you’re pursuing.
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