It's normal to have conflicting feelings as you start university life, such as overwhelming enthusiasm and maybe a tinge of anxiety. There's really nothing to worry about! I remember feeling both excited and intimidated when I was making the move from high school to uni. With the right mindset in place, your first year at university can be a fulfilling and memorable experience. To help you, here are my tips:

1. Get Settled

Firstly, explore and familiarise yourself with the campus and its surroundings early on. Take campus tours, locate key facilities such as the library and the student centre, and explore nearby amenities. Knowing your way around will boost your confidence and help you feel more at home in your new environment. I still remember trying to go to my lecture only to find myself wandering the sports arena… but you get the hang of it eventually.

2. Participate

After you have settled in, get involved! University is more than just an academic experience; it is a vibrant community bustling with clubs, societies, and so much more. Explore extracurricular activities that interest you. Joining a society or sports team not only enhances your university experience but also helps you build friendships.

3. Learn about time management

Stay focused and organised. Something that helped me a lot was learning how to effectively manage my time. With a variety of academic, social, and personal commitments, it is essential to prioritise tasks, set realistic goals, and manage your time efficiently. Invest in tools like day planners or time management apps to stay organised and on track.

4. Look after yourself

Do not forget to prioritise self-care. Make time for a good night’s sleep, focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, and relaxation. You can distress by going to the university gym or participate in sports events and fun activities to maintain mental and physical wellbeing. Remember, taking care of your mind and body is essential for academic success as well.

5. Budget, budget, budget

Managing finances is an important skill, especially when you’re a student. Create a budget to track your expenses and prioritise your essential needs, while exploring ways to save money. For example, I created a weekly shopping list so that I could do my grocery shopping in bulk and make use of discounts. Learning to budget early on will set you up for financial independence and stability.

6. Enjoy yourself

Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun! University life is a time for personal growth, exploration, and creating lasting memories. Explore new hobbies, attend campus events, and cherish moments with your new friends. What got me through my first year was balancing my academic pursuits with opportunities for fun and enjoyment… There is no harm in having those nice moments like a movie night or a night out every now and then.