University advice.

Okay, so this isn't a fashion or beauty post but one about something close to my heart... Starting university. Last Thursday saw thousands of A level students collecting their results and finding out if they got the place at university they had worked so hard for. I remember results day so well, that sick feeling knowing that an envelope contained my future! However, now it's it is official and finalised the nerved kick in. You're buying your own home ware, you're on social network sites desperately trying to make new friends and it all seems very REAL and grown-up. Friends I have already spoken to have already said: " I don't know if to go" "I am scared" etc.. So here is my advice for surviving first year of  university. 

1. FRIENDSHIPS - If you are moving away from home, making friends all over again seems like the scariest thing ever, and even worse will your friends from home forget you? 

In terms of making new friends, what you need to remember is EVERYONE is in the same boat. Be open to different types of people even those who you wouldn't usually associate yourself with, they could be the best friend you was looking for. If you are in Halls be sociable, even though you're feeling a bit homesick, chatting with flatmates will actually ease the pain. GO TO FRESHERS! Okay, your acts might not be amazing ( My highlight was SClub3) but Freshers is a great place to make new friends, and everyones drunk and incredibly sociable. If you are not in Halls and staying at home it is still possible to make new friends, you just need the right attitude. So 'home' students have the attitude of " I have all my friends why make more" OR " I don't live in Halls so no one will talk to me" This attitude wont make you friends you need to socialise, offer to show people around their new city and have fun! 
And your old friends, they won't forget you, of course they're going to go out without you and live their lives - but at Christmas it'll feel like you never left. 

2. LIVING AWAY FROM HOME - Suddenly you are having the realisation that you don't know how to use the washing machine, You are not the next Jamie Oliver and now you are going to have to take the bins out! 

This was something I was petrified of! And in fact I was by far not the worst. I think the best thing to do was express the fears you are having with your parents, my Mum had me cooking meals a few times a week for the family so that I had at least 7 meals that did not involve a kettle and a pot of dried noodles. Someone somewhere will buy you a student cook book - YOU WILL NOT USE THIS! I still don't know a student that has basil laying around in their flat? 
The other thing my lovely Mum did for me is make a folder of useful tips, this included: cleaning, the washing machine, maps of Sunderland, all my finance information and basically everything I could ever need! This was a great help, so ask your Mum or someone if they could write you instructions- I am sure they'd be happy to help. 

This doesn't mean first year will run smoothly, I still shrunk my washing, burnt food and flooded bathrooms. But there was always someone who was much worse! Promise! 

3. RELATIONSHIPS - So you have been with your boy/girlfriend for a while now, and the thought of not seeing them everyday breaks your heart? Maybe you should just stay at home.. Hey you could always become a house wife/husband right?

Well my friends know when it comes to relationships I am a realist I don't mess around and I think that at 19 I have my life to live and an education and job to get. In my opinion and experience if a relationship is going to work it will work if you are next to each other or a thousand miles away. YOU applied to study at university because you want to make something of yourself and you have a dream, and if your partner loves you they will understand and support that! how many older people do you hear regret decisions they made in terms of their career for a lover or children? do you want to be just like them? 
I am not saying it is easy. HELL NO! you will miss each other and argue from miles away, but there are so many ways to keep in contact.. such as Skype, letters and daily phone calls! As long as both people in the relationship are willing to make the effort to see each other, then it can work! I've seen it with my own eyes. And hey you are only really at uni 6months of the year anyway! 

4. MONEY - You have heard the student finance horror stories, you don't want to live off baked beans and you have never done a food shop in your life? 

When you get your first payment you will yelp in excitement (well I did) It seems like such a large sum of money, but in reality it isn't as much as you think. You need to budget yourself so you know exactly how much you can spend a week, this will help you A LOT and you will probably find you have a little extra to spend on yourself at the end of term. I will be honest Student Finance England are an absolute pain! They do mess things up and at one time or another they will make you want to cry my only advice would be pester them as much as you can if you are having problems, and get all your applications in early. 

5.THE COURSE ITSELF - So you got on to your dream course and now you are having second thoughts? what If  you're useless at it? What if the work is too difficult? 

I bet you have heard that A levels are harder that a degree in one of those pre- uni talks you get? I don't believe this for one second. The difference between uni and A levels is what you need to remeber. generally at university your assignment will be based around a certain topic unlike at A levels where you have to remember a large quantity of information and facts. However, when you are at university you need to research points you are making, read actual books not rely on wikipedia and finally reference properly. You will spend all night doing certain assignments, you will cry over them, and literally put blood sweat and tears into them. However it is worth it when you see your results and see that you have passed it is worth every hour sat at your laptop. And when you reflect back you will realise you actually enjoyed it more than you thought. 

I love my course so much, I am so happy I moved from the south east to the north east as I know it has given me experiences that I will never forget. I have made friends that I know are for life and I thought this is the sort of advice I would have liked before I started! If you have any questions let me know. 


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