So, you’re off to university, in England no less! You’ve probably been told it’s going to be the best three years of your life? Very true. University in England is nothing like the American frat houses you see on television (sorry), but it can be so fun if you get the right balance. Whilst attending a university in England can enrich your adult life, it can also be quite hectic - no money, a dissertation to complete and the temptation of drinking and partying all of the time.
Here are a few simple ideas that will help you balance your social and academic lives.
Show your new friends how capable you are by learning to cook and work a washing machine before you’ve even started university. This way people less capable will want to learn from you. People also consider it an attractive quality to be able to possess these basic skills, so you’ll no doubt win over some hearts.
2. Buddy up for meals
Let’s face it, students live a pretty frugal life. English student loans don’t tend to cater for nights at the student bar, which means the food budget is usually the first to take the hit. In my time as a student in England, we got around this by buying our food in bulk. Try and buddy up with five or so other people and cook your meals in groups, rather than wasting food and money you don’t have. This way, you’re more likely to cook meals at £1 a head, rather than spending more money to cook for one. There are plenty of student cookbooks knocking around that can provide you with cheap recipes, but our personal favourite was ’Mafia Pasta’ which consisted of sausages, chopped Tomatoes, pasta, herbs and onions.
3. Don't phone home too often
Your parents are probably sick of hearing your voice. They’ve had to put up with you for eighteen or so years before they could finally ship you off to uni. If you make your phone calls more sporadic, they will miss you more. My parents are the tightest family in the world, but after about three months of minimal phone contact they began to miss me. Shortly afterwards, they came to visit me at uni and bought me a new pair of converse and a crate of beer.
Remember that this is the time to become independent and discover what you can do by yourself.
Yeah, it’s all fun and games, but at the end of the three years you need to have something to show for it. One of my roommates used to leave his work till the last minute, every time! We never doubted him because he was very confident and insanely clever. When it came to results day at the end of the 3rd year, let’s just say he didn’t receive the grade he was hoping for.
Have fun, party, but when it’s time to study: STUDY!
5. Develop a skill
You have so much time that you should take advantage of it and expand your skills. Something I regret after leaving university is not developing a skill in my spare time. Universities in England have a large number of half term and academic breaks, which means that if your work is already handed in then you are either wasting your time playing FIFA with your mates, or drinking the nights away. Use that free time wisely, you won’t get it back. You could get an internship somewhere or learn to juggle. Join a society and meet some more friends.
6. Don't change
Many people come home from university with a completely altered persona. Of course, your life has changed. You’ve become an adult. You’ve grown out of your own skin, spread your wings, made new friends, enjoyed new experiences, and left your old self at back at home. Perhaps you’re now the biggest drinker on campus? The top student in your class? Just be mindful that some of your friends back home might not have chosen to go to uni, so try not to come home and make all of the conversation about how amazing uni is.
7. Learn how to drink
Going to an English university? You’re going to need to learn how to drink! Ring of Fire will be a game you will become accustomed with and that means you need to learn how to neck a pint. You may also get dragged into a game of beer pong which involves, you guessed it, necking a pint.
Go to the kitchen, fill your dad’s pint glass with water and get to practice.
8. Don't be a recluse
On your first day at uni it’s important that you make yourself known. It’s very easy to fall into the ’I’m just gona chill in my room’ mood. Next thing you know, you are known as an enigma. You’ll probably never leave your room. You’ll probably never leave university. You’ll eventually become the campus janitor!!
Seriously though, don’t be a stranger. Make yourself known to people. Show people a party trick, or be the guy that sells duty free tobacco on campus. People will feel more comfortable around you once they know who you are and you will feel more valued.
9. Don't spend your student loan on worthless stuff
Don’t be the person who buys a PlayStation and an HD TV with the first student loan payment. Sure, people will come into your room for the first week, but then the novelty will wear off and you will be left with no money and an anti-social reputation of being somebody who’s always in their room.
10. Check out your surroundings
You are an adult now. Go see some stuff! You’re not confined to the four walls of your bedroom, or the sticky floor of your student bar dance floor. There’s so much to see in the UK. Go to the beach, go on bike rides, go on walks, pub crawls, go visit London - there are so many ways to enjoy student life other than just being on campus.
See also: Working while Studying
Follow these tips and we are sure you’ll do great. Please let us know if you have any more advice in the comment section below.