I won’t lie to you, I was terrified to go to university.
I had no idea what to expect, if I’d make any friends or if I would be able to handle the workload. But fear not, I am here to ease your worrying and make the adaptation to university a little easier!
Balancing your studying, social life, downtime and even part-time employment isn't easy but here are my top tricks to live a happy balanced life:
1. Plan ahead
You'll be able to check your assessment deadlines in advance and I strongly recommend writing these down and putting them somewhere visible. Knowing deadlines are approaching can help you use your time more efficiently and not leave a 2,000-word essay until the fortnight before. I did this once and it was the worst idea I've ever had!
2. Don’t feel guilty for having time off
I made this mistake at the start of my first year. I felt bad if I wasn’t doing some extra reading or working on an essay but you can easily overwork yourself, it’s healthy to relax! Work out when you are most productive in the day and schedule other activities around that. This way, you can be productive and have some chill out time.
3. Make time for your hobbies
I didn’t join any clubs or societies in my first year, and I really regret it. I was so worried about succeeding in my course and making friends, I neglected the activities I enjoyed. You don't have to just join these at the Freshers Fair either, they always want new people to come along. It's a great way to make new friends too.
4. Drink and party in moderation
Trust me, attending a 9am lecture with a raging hangover isn’t any kind of fun. By all means, go out and enjoy yourself, but be careful and just consider what you need to do the next day. If you have an exam to prep for the next week, I wouldn’t recommend a heavy night of drinking, it isn’t a good companion to revision, put it that way!
5. Don’t leave assignments until the last minute
If you plan ahead and attend all your lectures, you really will be fine. If there’s anything I have learnt from my first year, it's that the key to smashing those essays is all in the planning. Set yourself sensible daily/weekly goals to gradually complete assignments, then allocate the rest of your day to working, relaxing or socialising.
6. Study with others
I know a lot of people get very easily distracted (myself included), but studying with others really helps me. Ask a course friend or flatmate and head to a local café or quiet spot to study. Make sure the other person is actually intending to work though! Set yourself a period of solid work, then give yourself a short break so that you can be productive and socialise too.