When you think about university, undergraduates and first years the word Freshers and the thought of shot glasses come to mind, however, there are disadvantages to the first year at university which students need to be aware of to get a realistic idea of what it will be like for them.
Freshers week might be full of alcohol, and the weeks after may follow suit, however, students are notoriously known for their nights out and cheap deals at their student bar. Although students are entitled to letting off steam and the chance to let their hair down, but nights out should never become more important than your studies. When the curtain falls, your degree is what you’re paying for and you don’t want a huge student debt and all to show for it are drunken pictures on social media.
Sadly, the most popular habits formed during the beginning of university are smoking and drinking, as students start for the social side and don’t think of the consequences. Even smokers and people who usually drink, the atmosphere of moving away of home and Freshers can have a bad influence. In very extreme cases drug abuse may be stumbled across by students, but, if you feel at any time that you are out of control or concerned about a friend or of your own health you can visit your university nurse or counselling service for the right guidance.
With the pressure of wanting to fit in and make new friends, peer pressure can make an appearance and sway students off of their path. If you feel that you feel pressured to going out instead of studying, most of your new friends won’t actually care as they’re going out on the town anyway and they will be the ones who will miss that important lecture the next morning at 9am. Don’t let the stress of socialising and what people expect of you to overcome your own confidence, because you will make new circle of friends and have new classmates in the second and third years of universities.
When you move out and into university the levels of responsibility sky rocket, with paying bills, waking yourself up for lectures, and looking after yourself and your new home become your top priorities. At some points of the year at least one of these responsibilities might lose their standards, however, if you feel you need help coping with trying to ensure everything runs smoothly, talk to your personal tutor for advice.
Some students believe that because they are studying a degree that they will have one lesson and one coursework deadline – think again! A degree is made up of credits, and these credits are from modules which are lessons. On average, students will make up a degree with 12 lessons, and you’ll have work, coursework deadlines and exams for all of them, and if you’re exceptionally unlucky, all of them will be at the same time. Learning how to juggle all of your work, social life and relaxing time is the biggest issue of university and it will be difficult to master at first!
Meeting new people is an anxious activity, and you’ll find that groups of people or friends form quickly, especially if you didn’t go to that party or missed that first lecture. Even if people have somehow found their ‘group’ don’t give up on meeting new people and finding new friends. You can meet other students through societies and events throughout the year, within every new class and your neighbours in Halls.
Online shopping must have record breaking sales when student loans are paid into student’s bank accounts. Learning what you should and shouldn’t spend your money on is the biggest problem at university, because students have never had so much money in their account before and this new found lottery feel has a bad effect. You might find that your first term is extremely hard because you survived Freshers on Smirnoff Vodka and Takeaway menus, and you’ll learn your lesson the hard way by surviving the next 8 weeks on baked beans.
Nobody can tell you how you’re going to feel at university, but we can have an idea. Feeling homesick is perfectly normal, although, each student will feel it for a different length of time. You could get over the feeling after a day, a week, or a month – or it may never completely leave you. Moving to a university, especially if it is another city or even country, is really hard to deal with. However, your new friends, classmates and guidance counsellors at university can help you as you deal with feeling alone.
Every new stage in your life will have its ups and downs but it is important to remember that the disadvantages are balanced by the advantages. For every bad side to university there are three good thing about it. Another thing to consider is that the majority of these disadvantages to the first year at university get better with time, and usually after the first term. Ensure that you learn your lessons so you can deal with the situation better the next time around!
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