The first year of university can be a pretty overwhelming time for many new students. You’re surrounded by new people, dealing with a step-up in academic expectations, and facing a host of fresh challenges that you may not have expected. This should be one of the best times of your life, and it can be if you go in with the right attitude and expectations. Once you get into the swing of it, you might find that you never want the year to end.
- Get your finances organised. The first step to making sure your first year runs smoothly is to get all of the financial arrangements for your course in place in advance. Look into private student loans so that your course fees are fully covered for the years to come. Once your loan has been approved and processed, regardless of what financial stress comes along, you know that your tuition is sorted and you can focus on learning and having fun.
- Get social from the start. The beginning of first year tends to be when people organise themselves into social groups, so it’s always a good idea to get involved quickly so you have some familiar faces to recognise around campus and new friends to socialise with outside of lectures. There should be society fairs early on in the year that give you the opportunity to check out all of the clubs and activities going on around campus – find a few that suit your interests and you’ll easily find a group to hang out with.
- Make a schedule. It can be tough to balance your lectures, study sessions, socialising, and alone time when you’re in your first year, especially when everything is fresh and you’re not quite sure how much time to allot to each aspect of your new life. Creating a timetable can help make sure you stay on track of what needs to get done without missing out on the fun times, too. Just remember to schedule in some time for proper rest and self-care to avoid burning out too quickly.
- Stay healthy. Unfortunately, many students find themselves getting caught up in the party atmosphere on campus and lose sight of their own health. Learning how to cook healthy food on a budget can be a big help with this – you need plenty of nutrition to keep up with your studies and live a healthy, active life at uni. Try to get in some exercise too if you want to stay energised and lower your stress levels. You don’t need to pay expensive gym fees – just get out for walks regularly or take up jogging as a free way to stay fit.
- Work out a budget. This may be the first time in your life that you’ve needed to learn to live on a budget, so it might feel tricky at first, but if you can assess your finances and organise your expenses you’ll find yourself in a much stronger position than many other students. Those things you see as minor expenses like a latte on the way to a lecture or a few delivery pizzas each week can really add up – so manage your money carefully to keep student life as financially stress-free as possible.