For those of you that have finished A-levels or equivalents and are going off to university in October this post is for you. These are the top tips I wish someone would have told me before I started university.
- Do not buy all of the text books brand new. Buy second hand from ex students or assess and find out how crucial they are to have, you can get by just using journals.
- It’s not about how hard you work, it’s about how smart you work! Find a technique that works for you and your learning style. Utilise past papers for exams and study the most frequently occurring topics. (Study some spare ones too just in case your topics do not come up in the exam).
- Use your holidays well! Yes it may seem that you have a gazillion years of holidays, term/semester lasts from 10-12 weeks leaving you free to live your life, chill and relax. This is wrong. Well I am not saying you can’t relax, but UTILISE your holidays, if you need to work, work, internships are everywhere, think about what you want to do. Use websites like www.skillspages.com and www.indeed.com to view opportunities.
- Don’t worry too much about the subject you do for your degree. Unless you have only ever wanted to be a doctor, nurse or teacher then study those subjects, otherwise chose something you enjoy. Most degrees may not lead you to the perfect job you will have to get more experience after your degree or further postgraduate study.
- It does matter more to some extent where you do your degree, in this super competitive world reputation of the institution is quite important, so consider this when you have to choose where to invest your three or four years.
- Learn how to cook and clean. This is a MUST, I remember week six at university I was in the laundry and a guy came in with his mum and didn’t know how to operate the very basic launderette style washing machines which just required him to press a button. Me and my friend had to tell his mum how to use the washing machine, he was just standing there looking. I was outraged. Learn how to use a washing machine, wash dishes and cook on a basic level.
- Consider courses with work experience elements. Many universities have placement years attached to their degrees these are usually called sandwich degrees. These are extremely good degrees giving you an edge over other graduates and crucial practical experience.
- Consider doing a year or semester abroad. I have always been jealous of courses that offer this element, its a great way to travel to other countries and gain an insight into different systems, plus meeting new people.
- Lastly enjoy it whilst you can, University especially undergraduate years will be the making of you.
I’d like to say thank you to all of those people who replied to the Facebook message I sent, those responses contributed to this post.