Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What To Expect From Your First Year of University

It's been a bit quiet on my blog recently, mainly because I've been busy with uni work, most people are probably confused to why I even have uni work since most people are only just starting to go back to uni now. I'm currently on a placement year meaning I don't go back to uni till January 2017 but we still get work to complete during the year whilst on placement. I've just uploaded my uni work so I can get back to a bit of blogging!

So technically I'm going into my third year of studying Fashion Design and Marketing at Northumbria University now but I thought it would be fun to share my first year experiences with everyone. An honest guide to what happens in first year.

1. Finding Your Flatmates - If you go into halls the few weeks leading up to uni you'll probably find an accommodation fb page or twitter hashtag of everyone searching for their future flatmates. Which is fine, but it shows you're going to university and you'll start getting strange messages from people like "Hey Sarah, I see you're going to Northumbria this year, will you be looking for work while you're here?" These are usually for promo staff, bar staff, dancers ( the girls who dance in clubs in basically nothing ). No thanks mate. (More on promo w*nkers later).

2. Halls - If you're in halls you will likely get random free shit in your welcome package, and you'll get SO.MANY.PROMO.W*NKERS. In my flat promo w*nkers would knock on the door and we'd just wait till they left, then they'd leave so many bloody leaflets. We really don't care, we're all in our pyjamas, go away.

3. Your Flatmates - I want to start by saying it's pretty normal to not like a flatmate or two, luckily mine weren't so bad, and I was lucky enough to live with one of my best friends in first year. Things will be a lil awkward at first, on the first day there I went into the kitchen, in pyjamas and dressing gown and everyone else was full dressed and make up on... They may as well get used to me being in my dressing gown now.

4. Living Alone - A few pointers, stock up on toilet roll, you'll thank me later. Meals you can make in bulk are your best friend, and you will probably live off pasta and cereal (and dominos) for a while. If you don't want your flatmates using your stuff keep it in your room or in a locked cupboard, they will use them. Additionally, make sure you throw out any of your food thats going dodgy, don't be that person.

5.  Anonymous Passive Aggressive Notes - Ahhh the anonymous passive aggressive note, I remember the first one in my flat, someone wrote it in a pink glittery gel pen and put a love heart at the end, surprisingly it didn't make the note any less insulting. Someone was moaning about the mess in the kitchen, I clean up after myself but your kitchen will be messy from others from time to time and no one will take the bins out, that is just student life, accept it now. ( Extra for those who don't have an en suite, the bathroom will probably get gross too, have your own stash of loo roll).

6. The Ghost - You will rarely see one of your flatmates, are they there? Have they left? Was that their door you heard? There is always a ghost flatmate, I only saw the one in my flat about 5 times during the entire year.

7. Your Course and Course Mates - If you can't find a fb group for the course at your uni make one! I made the fb group for my course at uni, and a few years later it's still going and it's very useful, people regularly use it to ask each other questions about uni work, deadlines, lectures, etc. The way I did it was a I found a few people on my course on twitter and in various other fb groups so I made a group myself then sent everyone the link. Now even the tutors on my course are aware of the page, it's odd haha.

8. Meeting Course Mates - The way I did it, in the fb group we found out who from our course was in the same accommodation, then we all met up and went to the first class together, and two of them turned out to be my best friends, so it's worth meeting up with people and being friendly, just go for it! You're all in the same boat after all.

9. Lectures and Lessons - I remember coming home from my first pattern cutting lesson and having a massive cry, like wtf is this? (To be honest, I still sometimes have a little cry after sewing and pattern cutting lessons today). You will have days where you wonder why the f**k am I putting myself through this? There's a difference between thinking you should quit and knowing you should. You should not quit because the course is hard, you should only quit if you realise the course isn't for you, if you realise you want to do something else see if you can transfer to that instead. So many people left my course in first year, or transferred to Fashion Design or Fashion Communication.

10. Lecture Etiquette - Firstly, you may think, "I don't need to take notes as the lecture will be posted online anyways", I found that instead of noting down everything on various power points I noted down what the tutors said instead. They sometimes express things further and may say things like "this is very relevant to the essay", make note of that stuff, it probably won't be on the powerpoint. Secondly, try not to sleep in lectures, sorry Contemporary Design Influences, the lectures were good but they were in a dark room and it was super early in the morning.( I still got a decent mark for that essay though! )   

11. Uni Work - Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, leave your work till the last minute. I'm telling you not to but you probably will. You have many all nighters to come, you will sit with your friends in pyjamas, eating takeaways, having a cry occasionally as you work for about 48 hours straight. This next one is quite important, if you're doing an essay, do references as you go along, it saves you having a miserable time at the end of your work trying to go back and reference everything at once. Just put a quote in your work? Reference it straight away properly and stick it on your reference list straight away. If your university has access to "Cite Them Right", use it! It's very helpful for anyone who doesn't know how to reference.

12. Societies - You will go to the freshers fair, join many societies, and probably never go to any of them. In second year you will learn just to go to these fairs for the free pizza. 

13. Exploring - This is a little different for me since I am at uni in my hometown, but it's still relevant. Explore! Get your friends together and go to restaurants, bars, landmarks, shopping trips, days out, etc. You have a student loan to waste! ( I'm not even going to pretend that students spend their loan sensibly, just make sure you have rent money and an over draft. ).

14. Night Life - Ahh first year is full of crazy and weird nights out. Now, how to have a fun night out, drinks are expensive so so make the most of pre-drinks, but don't get so drunk that you can't make it out after pre-drinks. Another important thing, I don't like to drink lots, now one of my friends friends always used to try make me drink, it was a bit awkward but you know what? I'm happy that I didn't drink from peer pressure, I know my limits and I don't exceed them. I like to be safe on a night out so I stick to drinking an amount where I can feel a bit tipsy but not drunk, so it doesn't affect my decisions and I can keep myself and friends safe. Most importantly, keep an eye on your drink and try not to get separated from friends, especially if you're in a city you're not familiar with.

15. Remember To Enjoy - Yes you have uni work, but remember to go out, make friends and have fun! A good work/fun balance is important, you need time to relax and have fun!

So that was a basic overview of my first year of uni, obviously everyone will have a different experience of first year but hopefully this might give you a bit of a warning or you'll laugh because you've already been through it! Let me know if your first year resembled mine.



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