Fresher’s Guide: Before you get to university
You might think that university won’t be too difficult, or that your biggest challenge will be the academic level expected of you, but trust us when we say, the hardest obstacle you’ll find yourself having trouble with is organisation and accepting responsibilities, because in the majority of cases, you have never had to do these type of things before. However, we have a few ideas on how you can organise you and your life and prepare yourself, these are some of the things you need to check off of the list before you get to university.
Attending an open day and having a nose around the university itself is perfect for starting to comprehend what it will be like to live, work and breathe the undergraduate lifestyle. If you already have been to check out the institution, or never had the chance to go to an open day, some universities have interactive videos and online tours to give yourself an idea on what it will be like. And if the university doesn’t have that – there will be pictures, or previous student’s reviews – to give you an indication on what life will be like in your new home. Start following the university’s social networks, with Facebook and Twitter and email newsletters; you want to keep updated with all the information before you start the first term, so you are fully prepared as well as keeping a track of university news.
University is more than referencing correctly and handing your coursework in on time, you’re going to start looking after yourself and your belongings. It is a great idea to begin learning the basics, with washing up, laundry and cleaning your room – and to your mum’s standard! If you don’t understand the basics before you live on your own, life won’t be that pleasant for you, especially if you have to wear the same jeans for the 6th day now, and others will notice to!
You will normally receive a ‘general’ recommended reading list. This is a list of books that the university and course believe will help students understand what they’ll be learning throughout your degree, or offer the groundwork which you will later study further into. Buying a few titles is a great idea, and will offer an impression on what you’re going to learn, however, you’ll find that buying every single book listed will only cost you a fortune, and not necessarily make you top of the class. The recommended list of textbooks are generally similar, and you’ll receive separate lists for each module and coursework assignment – the lists are endless! – therefore, don’t put all of your eggs (and cash) in one textbook basket; wait it out.
Universities like to help students settle in during Fresher’s week, and usually organise a great line up of events, celebrity appearances and a place for you and your new housemates to let your hair down. Check out the university’s list of events before you go, so you can plan for fancy dress and buy tickets if you need to. You might spend a large sum of your money on food and drink, so you want to guarantee your spot to the party before you even arrived, to not miss out!
This is also an opportunity to create the new you, why not buy those skinny jeans, or try out that haircut you have been umming and ahhing about for two months!? You’re going to meet hundreds of new people in your first couple of months, and you can start by showing the new you!