It’s been a while now since everyone’s gone back to school/ college/ university. And it’s usually around this time that students (university students in particular) get wobbly and start to struggle with how to survive the whole ordeal. So, after surviving my first year of university, my full two years at college AND my time in high school, I picked up a few hints and trick that may help you get through the year.
1) Always have something to eat before you go to uni.
Eating is so important! Even if you grab an apple or a slice of toast and a sip of orange juice, that’s better than nothing! If that’s not possible, either grab something quickly on your way in, or have something to eat during your break. Food gives you energy, and the more energy you have in the morning the better. Those 9am lectures can only be made worse by having your belly rumbling as a constant reminder that you need food.
2) Keep a diary / planner.
Keeping a diary or a planner may seem boring, but trust me, it helps. I found that by personalising my planners, tasks don’t seem so daunting. I use a colour scheme to identify the tasks or projects I think will be the hardest so I know which ones to complete first. For example:
Red: Hard. Need to start it as soon as I can.
Blue: A lot of work needs to go into it but it should be fairly easy to do.
Purple: Easy. Can easily do this task or project without any issues.
Those are just examples of what I use in my planner. You can most definitely go crazy and be as creative as you want while personalising your planner. Or you can keep it simple and just note down the tasks and projects you need to do, along with the due date and other essential notes. Planners and diaries help you keep everything in order and ensure that you are able to stay on top of your work load. If you keep everything tidy, it’ll make everything seem less cluttered physically, thus leaving your mind feeling less cluttered!
3) A bottle of water is essential!
Always keep a bottle of water with you! Especially during the summer period. Water will keep you hydrated and help you keep your focus longer, especially if you’re in a stuff old room for a long period of time. Keeping hydrated is one of the most important things you should be doing every day no matter what.
4) Don’t be ashamed of liking a subject/ module!
If you like something you’re learning about, the chances are that you will excel in this area. Just because others don’t enjoy it as much, or don’t seem as enthusiastic about it as you are, don’t take it to heart. Everyone is different. You’ll thrive while doing something you enjoy, so you carry on enjoying those subjects/ modules!
5) Some friendships aren’t meant to last.
By now a lot of friendships are either blooming and developing, while others are turning out to be … not quite what you expected. And that’s completely normal. A lot of friendships do tend to fade at this point in time. Be it brand new friends or friends you’ve known for a few years, it is expected that some friendships won’t make it that far. But don’t you worry! Your tribe will find you! If something goes wrong or you get into an argument, keep in mind that you’ve come to university for that higher education, not to go on an all night bender with the lads or to stress about what Gabriella has been telling your roommates. It may seem nerdy, but at least you can focus on something that really matters until your tribe finds you.
6) Start any homework the DAY you get it!
I can’t stress this enough. If you at LEAST START your homework the day you get it, you’ll be able to get it out of the way quicker. And that means you’ve got more free time to do whatever you want. It’ll make life so much easier for you. If you start it and it’s a difficult project/ task, then you’ve gotten at least some of it out of the way which will essentially save you a lot of time and energy.
7) Ask those questions!
I know teachers always say ‘don’t be afraid to ask questions’ and, ‘there are no stupid questions to be asked!’ but it’s true. If you don’t ask, you won’t get the answers. Each subject and module is completely different each year. Industries are developing and each year brings a new set of theories, challenges and believe it or not, more subjects to be taught. You are in university to learn, not to know the answers to everything your lecturers throw at you. It’s 100% fine not to know the answers. Don’t know something? Ask.
8) Stop the struggle!
If you see someone struggling, it would be so incredible if you stepped up and helped them. If they’re struggling to open a door with a 10ft pile of books in their arms, or if you see that the subject is getting them down, doing little things to ease the stress and struggle mean the most to people. Even if it’s a lecturer that’s struggling, going that extra mile to help someone never hurts anyone.
9) Find an extra curricular activity.
Finding an activity you can do in uni/ outside of uni will help you relax and take a step back from the actual stress uni life brings. It can be anything like sports, joining an anime fan club, playing chess, joining the LGBTQ* community… literally anything. Those activities will help you relax and take a step back from working. The majority of these extra curricular activities can be popped onto your CV, so that’s always another motive to do them.
HINT: The activities you chose don’t have to be related to the university you’re attending. It can be something like joining a swimming club in your local leisure centre, or gardening in the local allotments. As long as you can take that time away from uni and doing constant work.
10) Don’t try impress others.
Surround yourself with people YOU like. Surround yourself with people who are like YOU. Never, ever change yourself to fit in with a group of people. You don’t want to go out drinking but your friends do? Don’t go. In my experience, your true friends will cater to you if you’re not a person that finds clubs and late night binges (unless Netflix and pizza are involved) all that appealing. If anyone pressures you or makes you feel guilty, then you just tell them straight. If you get the vibe that the friendship is wrong, don’t develop it further. By finding like-minded friends, the chances are your time at uni will be far more enjoyable than trying to be someone you know deep down that you aren’t.
11) Say no to self-doubt!
Everyone feels like they’re failing a subject or module at some point in their time at university. But you know what I find? It’s just that inner self-doubt that’s making them think that they’re not doing well enough. Doing the best to your ability ensures you that you’re giving it 110% to the project/ task. If you get a low mark or a disappointing grade, don’t worry, it happens. Don’t let those marks and grades define who you are or what you are capable of. At the end of the day, every single person in the world is different and have different strengths. Just because you didn’t do so well in a theory based module doesn’t mean you’re about to do the same in a more practical based module. And like I said before, you’re there to learn, not to know everything straight away. Be proud of yourself when you do your best, because that’s the most anyone can ever ask of you to do.
12) Reach out to everyone.
Try being a friend to everyone. And I don’t mean, love every single person you come across. Every single person you come across deserves respect and kindness. Not only will it benefit your social life if you try to engage in conversation with more people, but it will also better your working environment. People are being too noisy and you don’t want to seem rude? Having a solid bond with them will make it easier for you to tell them to quiet down, thus ensuring you and your fellow classmates get your work done. If you’re more of an analytical person, think of this tip as bettering your social skills and developing the skills you already have. Plus you can always learn from the skills (or lack of skills) people have.
13) Be open to opportunities.
Opportunities are always around the corner. They may seem small, but whenever you can, grab them! One tiny opportunity you don’t think much of may be the chance for you to change your life. If you don’t believe me, I was given an opportunity to appear on TV talking about my experience with mental health. This lead to me being contacted by a Welsh radio station to talk about a similar subject, which then lead to the same thing happening again, thus making me now a regular guest on a popular Welsh radio show. Who would have thought that the split second decision to agree to go on telly would result in that? I sure didn’t. So grasp any opportunity you have with both hands, because you really don’t know what will come out of it.
14) Bullies are still an issue.
Sadly bullies are still lurking around wherever you go in life. Even in the work place, you could possibly encounter a bully there. If anyone hurts you or your friends, or you see someone else hurting another peer – SPEAK UP! No one deserves to be bullied. Ever.
15) Embrace uni life.
This is such a simple yet overlooked tip. Your time at university will only ever happen once. So make the most of it. Enjoy your successes, learn from the failure. Develop friendships and have flings. Have the best night and the worst night of your life. Learn to do something new, go somewhere new. Embrace it all. Life is far too short to be stressing about the little things. If life isn’t good for you, think ‘what can I do to change it?’ – and if there’s a possible way to fix your situation, then go for it. If it’s unfixable FOR NOW, just remember, life gets better and life goes on.
I hope these hints and tips gave you a bit of inspiration on how to survive uni! If anyone has anymore hints and tips let me know down in the comments below!
Until next time, have an awfully big adventure!