As a third year Biochemistry student at the University of Essex, there are a few things that helped shaped my experience and helped me live my best life at university! So, I’ve decided to share them with you, as you start your University of Essex journey.

  1. I wish I knew that I wouldn’t need to worry about making friends.

The University of Essex is a very diverse university and you can find students who are from various countries around the world. I’ve met some really great people who studied my course and I was also able to make some amazing friends whilst working as a Student Ambassador and attending various events such as Quiz Nights, cooking lessons in my kitchen, the African and Caribbean Society’s Heritage showcase, and many games nights. So, don’t stress and think that you won’t make friends at university. There are so many people who share the same interests and experiences as you and you can all relate to each other because you’re all university students.

  1. I wish I knew that the library would become my second home.

At the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus, the library is open 24 hours. Yes, pre-pandemic the library was open all day, every day. The Albert Sloman library has six floors and many study areas. It is also home to a large range of books and sometimes a good book has all the information you need for an essay that is due 24 hours after you’ve started it.

One thing I love about this library is that I can walk in with my meal deal that I bought from the extra store on campus and go to a quiet corner on the top floor (my favourite floor of the library because it has the best view of campus!) and get all my work done and complete all my deadlines.

Or I could see my friends and end up talking about the latest Netflix show, that we were all watching for about an hour or two, then remember I actually had work to do and try to get it done! During the three years of my degree this happened almost every day and the library ended up becoming my second home. This is likely to happen to you too.

  1. I wish I knew that I wouldn’t have to live off of my overdraft.

Being a university student can sometimes be quite financially challenging. But luckily for me, I was able to get a good paying job. From my first year to my final year, I worked as a University of Essex Student Ambassador. As a Student Ambassador, my main role was to help lead tours of the Colchester campus to future students, primary and secondary school, and other visitors. I also worked at the university’s applicant and open days and answered any questions regarding student life at the University of Essex. I had the chance to work around my lectures and even work in the summer, so I didn’t have to live off my overdraft. At the University of Essex, there are a range of paid opportunities that you can apply to.

Quick finance lesson! What is an overdraft? Well an overdraft is a portion of money that your bank allows you to spend when you have spent all the money in your account. An overdraft is a type of loan that needs to be paid back and should only really be used for emergency. The money is not free to use, sometimes you have to pay interest which means you have to pay back the money you borrowed and then some. For more information on overdrafts and student bank accounts you should check out this website.

  1. I wish I knew that I could find (almost) everything I needed on campus.

The University of Essex’s Colchester Campus literally has everything. Well almost everything.

There is a range of cafés and restaurants on campus with a variety of vegan options too, there is a regular Thursday market where you can buy anything from fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious hot takeaways, and bespoke jewellery.

When you feel like watching a cheeky movie but don’t want to pay too much for it, you can also go to the University’s cinema which is known as Cine10 and watch some of the latest movies. And the things that you can’t find on campus can be found at the nearest Tesco which is just a 10-minute walk away!

Without my job as a Student Ambassador, the Albert Solman library and the amazing people I get to call my friends. I know I would not have been able to survive university and gain some amazing memories and experiences that look pretty good on my CV. I hope that as you begin your university journey that you remember to utilise every resource available and enjoy every moment at Essex. You are not going to experience stressing out about a project 24 hours before its deadline, having a questionable sleeping pattern, becoming a great cook, and meeting some amazing people anywhere else other than at university. Good luck on your University of Essex journey!