In the next couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of excited, but anxious, teenagers will be heading off to university for the first time. They will all be anticipating “Freshers Week” with all its drinking and socialising. They will all be eager to discover more about the course they are going to be studying and meeting their lecturers. Plus they will all be a little homesick, as they will be on their own for longer than before.
As a university lecturer, I see new students every year and each time I notice a similar set of issues which can sometimes limit what they get out of university. So here are my “ten rules” for new students to make the most of these exciting years.
1. Enjoy yourself
Don’t take it all too seriously. Yes, you are there to study and earn a degree. But you are also there to gain experiences you cannot gain in any other way. You will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. You will get the opportunity to do things you couldn’t do if you were at work, or at home. You will also discover new ideas, new ways of thinking and new possibilities you did not previously know about. Take it all in. Enjoy it. Have fun. You will remember your university days for the rest of your life. Everything you do at uni will have a lasting impact on your life. So enjoy it.
2. Join things
There are more clubs and societies than you can possibly imagine. There is something for everyone. Whether you like sport, stamp collecting or sewing, there will be a society you can join. There are political societies, clubs to do with special interests and weird groups you never thought existed. There is bound to be something that interests you, or which you find curious. Join whatever takes your fancy. You will meet new people. You will discover new ideas. You will have fun.
3. Socialise (at a distance)
Student accommodation has places to socialise, like the kitchen or a lounge area. Go there. If no-one is there, read a book or a newspaper, or check your online messages. Sooner or later someone will pop by. Chat with them. Go to the student union bar, even if you are teetotal. Just get out, meet people and get to know people. Not only will you be exposed to new ideas and…