Thank God! I have finally made it to the end of 4 years at university. As explained before in “Is University Worth It?”, I switched courses after deciding that BA English was not for me. Well… University was a journey, I don’t even know where to begin but here are 10 things I wish I was told before I went to university.
1 – B*tchy Landlords/Estate Agents
Where do I even begin… As a student, you’re more than likely to experience this. To avoid unnecessary drama, RECORD EVERYTHING. Take videos and pictures before and after you move in. Make sure to include anything that is already damaged and report anything that gets damaged during the year so this doesn’t come off of your deposit. (If you would like a thorough clean down list that has worked for me every time, leave me a message and I will definitely get that to you.) If you learn to play nice, you won’t have a bad experience. (It also helps to know a bit about the law around renting and obligations for tenants and landlord when you need to fight some battles).
*story time: Once, someone planted rubbish into my friends flat, framing her and charging her for removal of the items… even though it was not hers! Another time, I was charged for a new mattress, claiming that it was “distressed”, but it was as good as new. If I didn’t have evidence, I would have lost money.*
2 – DON’T YOU DARE OPEN THAT OVERDRAFT
And I repeat, do not open that overdraft. Don’t let the bank lure you and trap you into a repayment cycle. 70% of students are known to be ‘skint’ and living in their overdraft, limiting your saving ability. Don’t be that person with poor budgeting skills, instead, take this opportunity to learn how to manage money. In the end of the day, an overdraft should be treated as a safety blanket and not something to be relied on.
3 – SPENDING!
Okay, so you would think it’s impossible to find your bank account hitting rock bottom at university. Truth is, there will be times you literally have £0 to your name. If you want your money to realistically last, set realistic weekly caps (try to not blow loads of money on Uber!). Best tip I could suggest is opening up a savings account to manage your money.
4 – Should you get a job?
If you’re looking for comfortability whilst at university then yes. If you really need the money, it’s possible. It’s definitely easier to have a job in first year. Second and third year will prove to be challenging, but manageable. I would recommend finding a job that pays weekly and caters to student needs. A lot of places will be cheeky and keep you for ridiculous hours. Just don’t let the paycheque distract you from why you’re at university.
5 – Moving away from home
Moving somewhere far is really not that deep. You may be thinking that you won’t visit home as much but you’d be surprised. It’s better to move somewhere at most an hour away because train ticket prices can be a b*tch. Moving out was definitely a great move as I feel a lot more prepared for the real world.
6 – Accommodation
To secure the best, start looking at the beginning of the year you need to move into new accommodation. If you know you’re lazy, try stay within a 15 minute walk to university. Look for ALL BILLS INCLUDED to avoid violations from your landlord/estate agent. Electric bills are known to get super pricey, as in some people have paid 2k for the year… an annoying fine.
7 – Study Material
It was not necessary to buy EVERY book your university has told you to buy. Realistically, you probably will not use most of them, or only using a chapter at most. If you’re looking to save, definitely look into whether your university is hosting a second-hand book sale (or research yourself). Other than that, if you can get a hand on your reading list early, you can claim the books in your library.
8 – University hours
I think we can all admit that we’re guilty of skipping lectures, or even.. a whole week of university.. which I highly DO NOT encourage. Look, you’re paying to attend university, I know it’s easy to be lazy at times but honestly, you will feel yourself slipping, and that’s worse. What they don’t tell you is that your attendance is available to potential employers so just take my advice and keep a +75% average to stay in the good books. Plus, missing tutorials… probably the most detrimental thing you could do to your grades. I would also recommend keeping a good relationship with your personal tutor and lecturers, it is WAY MORE helpful than you think.
9 – University can get lonely
If you look past all the raving tweets, you will see that mental health is a big part of university. A lot of past students have stories about how their mental health was affected. It is important to come prepared and ready to speak out and seek help if ever necessary, suffering alone is too easy of a path to fall onto. With the workload and balancing life, it can get pretty overwhelming at times. Take a look into what your university offers to support their students e.g. hardship funds, counselling etc.
10 – Does 1st Year ACTUALLY Count?
Finally, the claim that “first year doesn’t count” is VERY misleading. Yes, first year does not contribute to your final university grade. BUT, and a very BIG BUT, first year helps you secure experience, lets employers and other companies know that you are on the right to track to receiving good grades. First year grades were so helpful to secure open days, vacation schemes and jobs as you had evidence to show. So, don’t go into university thinking you’re off the hook completely. With that being said, first year will be the only year you genuinely have fun, so enjoy it.
Thank you for reading this week’s blog post! It was a long one I know, but I really think it’s helpful knowing these things before stepping in to university. I have a lot planned for my blog and my brand in general this year, so be sure to subscribe and follow me on my socials to stay updated!
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