University life: what can I expect?

Posted in: News

The promise and potential of University life can often be one of the biggest attractions of further education – and it goes beyond the delights of just Freshers Week. 

In this article we’ll cover a few of the most asked about elements of University life, and help give you an idea of what you can expect.

Where will I live? 

You’ll have a choice of accommodation options at University, with something to suit a range of budgets and preferences. 

For the first year, many students opt to live in halls of residence, which is accommodation provided by the University. Most halls tend to be situated on-campus, and offer a guaranteed place for first-years (although you’ll have to apply for which halls you want to live in). They come in all shapes and sizes, but you’ll likely live in a shared flat with your own private bedroom (and sometimes ensuite). 

Halls offer the ultimate ‘freshers experience’. They’re super sociable and are the perfect environment for meeting new people. They’re also a good introduction to renting without having to deal with the hassle of landlords (plus your bills are included in your costs, which makes things even easier). 

Another option is a privately rented house. Many students tend to do this in their second and third years, as it’s fairly cheap and offers the full experience of independent living. You can either find a house together with a group of friends, or find a spare room in a house yourself. 

If you are local to your University’s area, you might choose to continue living at home for one or all of the years. This can be a good way to save money, and some people prefer to stay close to their network of friends and family. 

What will my timetable be like? 

Each person’s timetable will be different, so it’s hard to say exactly what you can expect. It will likely include a mix of lectures (where the main topics of your course are presented to a large group of people) and seminars (a more interactive session in small groups), with some independent study in between. You may also have some one-to-one meetings with your tutors.   

As for how full your timetable will be, this depends entirely on the subject you choose to study! Subjects like medicine and dentistry tend to call for pretty full timetables, with lots of lectures, labs and independent study, whereas humanities subjects might have a bit more free time. Of course, your timetable will change every year, and there’s ultimately never one typical day as a student. 

What will my social life at University be like? 

Your social life can really be whatever you make of it! Introvert or extrovert, social butterfly or the stay-at-home type, at University you have the freedom to live life however you want. 

If you live in University accommodation, you’ll have lots of opportunities for socialising as you’ll constantly come into contact with people. There may be events organised specifically for your halls of residence, which is a good way to make friends. 

University life isn’t just about drinking, either (although there’ll certainly be lots of opportunities to!) There are plenty of other activities you can get involved in. If you’re looking to expand your social circle and try new things, we recommend joining a club or society at your University. From cheerleading to chess, politics to poetry, there will definitely be something for everyone – even things you’ve never heard of! Most societies will offer taster sessions so you can dip your toe in and see what you like. Be sure to visit the societies fair during your first week or two to explore what’s on offer and get signed up. 

Top tips for enjoying University life

Chances are you’re going to have a great time regardless, advice or no advice! But we think there are a few things that could help you enjoy University life even more. Here are our tips on how to make the most of it:

  • Get to know a wide variety of people. University is a really unique opportunity to mix with all kinds of people. There will be people from totally different backgrounds and with whole new perspectives to yours, and getting to know them can be incredibly rewarding. Take the chance to expand your social circle early on, and you could open up a whole host of opportunities further down the line – from attending events you wouldn’t normally have done, to brand new career paths. 
  • Use your free time wisely. It can be tempting to use your free periods to chill out and relax, and while downtime is important it’s good to keep a balance and exercise some self-discipline. Try using this time to study or engage in extracurricular activities, rather than sleep it away!
  • Eat a balanced diet. This might be easier said than done, especially for those not so well-versed in the kitchen! But a balanced diet can help to boost your mood and energy levels, so try not to rely on takeaways or fast food. Learn some cooking basics and be sure to get enough fruit and veg.
  • Learn how to budget. Even with your student loan, the chances are that at some point during your time at uni, you’re going to be strapped for cash! But taking the time to work out a weekly or monthly budget can have a really positive impact on your spending, and reduce the risk of ongoing money worries.
  • Ask for help if you need it. The University experience can be overwhelming for a lot of people. If you find yourself stressed, anxious or just struggling with things, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Speak to your Students Union, Student Support Advisor (your uni will have one) or one of your course tutors, who’ll be able to offer advice.  Even just speaking to a trusted friend or relative can help reduce the burden and make things seem a bit more manageable.

Entering into University life is an exciting time for any new student. Armed with the right knowledge and a positive outlook, you can truly make the most of the opportunity. After all, it’s an experience you only tend to go through once – so get out there and enjoy every moment of it!

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