What do you really know about University?
Maybe you know your housemates names, your flat number, your lecturer’s names? Maybe you’ve got some ideas about how you’ll be spending each day of university, going to lectures in the day, going out at night?
Well, I’m going to tell you some thing you may not know. These are things myself and other third years have said they were surprised at when they began university three years ago.
Freshers Flu – Prepare for illness. Freshers week will even down even the healthiest of students. It can be mistaken for a hangover, until you realise even a greasy bacon sandwich won’t help it! It often includes some hangover and common cold symptoms; headaches, blocked nose etc. Beware, it will happen and the only way to get rid of it is to rest, get some sleep and stop drinking. But that won’t happen will it?
Very little lecture time – It’s quite a shock for anyone who goes to university straight from school to get used to the difference in teaching. At school, it’s 9-3:30pm, Monday to Friday; at University it’s only a few scheduled hours of lectures or seminars each week (for a majority of courses anyway.) I have 12 hours in university each week, leaving a lot of free time! Over time you’ll realise that studying is a good way to spend a lot of this time but when you first start the course, there isn’t a whole lot of work to do!
Noisy neighbouring flats – You first aim is to get on with those who live neighbouring flats, but when they wear their heels all night long and continue clomping around long after they get back from night out, you may not be feeling as friendly. Some people may have morning lectures to get up for, or jobs that begin in the early morning so noisy and inconsiderate flats are the last thing you want. Try asking them nicely and also remember that if you’re the ones partying, be considerate to others in your halls who may need to get up.
5am fire alarms – Those of you who live in halls are in for this special treat! For my university, the tradition of testing fire alarms fell in the early hours of a weekday morning, normally around 5am. It sounds ridiculous and I’m afraid, it is. Every student from each block of halls has to evacuate the building, and considering the time, you’re outfits aren’t usually suitable for the night time weather. Luckily, my flat got a tip off that it was going to happen so could wake up in our own time and change!)
Expect full days in university during freshers week – Freshers week, 7 nights of partying and 7 days of hangovers right? Wrong. All week there are inductions to your course, a chance to meet your lecturers and the other students on your classes. It’s where friendships are first made and you find someone to sit with for the rest of the year. You might want to go, but don’t worry, you won’t be the only one that’s hungover!
You need to buy expensive textbooks – Textbooks are expensive and I’m sorry to break it to you but very often, you have to buy them. Sometime you can get away with extracts found on the internet but good luck finding the whole book. Most university library’s try to stock them but when there’s only one copy and 50 Psychology students heading there to get it, you don’t stand a chance. Try Amazon, eBay or AbeBooks for textbooks going cheap.
Students loans don’t stretch very far – You get that first letter through and think ‘Woah’, that’s a nice amount of money to live of right? Well, when you factor in accommadation, textbooks, essential foods, you won’t be left with much, if anything at all. Unless your parents are generous and help you out, it might be worthwhile looking for a part time job.
How to write an academic essay – This was something did surprised me. They don’t give you much help on how to write an academic essay, no tutorial, so quick lecture on the main points. You have to find out for yourself but I suppose that’s how they introduce you to proper university work; it’s all down to you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written a lot of essays before, university ones differ. Make sure you read up on how to write an academic essay before handing in your first one!
I hope this makes you feel slightly more prepared!
Good Luck, don’t be scared and have fun all you freshers!