University is often described as the best years of your life, but what is sometimes neglected are the negatives that go along with it. If you are a fresher, here is an honest guide, exposing some of the truths about university and what you can come to expect when you arrive this September.
Sex, drugs and toilet roll
University is a social hub. Whether it’s your course friends or your housemates who make up your social circle, these people will act as your family over the next three years.
Fresher’s week gives you the opportunity to make these friends as well as racking up a large drinking bill if you’re not careful. It is every new student’s dream – you can go out on the pull, or down shots with your mates. Anything goes as no one’s there to stop you.
However one thing that is conveniently avoided is the sickness that comes with all the Fresher’s week (extremely fun but sometimes wreckless) behaviour. And we don’t just mean the hangover. Freshers’ flu is a real epidemic, not just a lousy excuse made up by alcohol induced bed-bound students. It can range from a mild to severe flu, and can last a few weeks.
To help combat this, stock up on flu capsules and start taking vitamin c to help boost your immune system. Despite all the drinking and cavorting that occurs, simply being away from home means that fresher’s week can take a lot of out of you both physically and mentally, so make sure to take precautions when you can.
It’s probably a good idea to get the tissues and Lemsips ready because once caught, the only partying you’ll be doing is from your bed whilst watching Netflix.
Joining a society, especially a sports society, seems a good idea at the time. However this idea of ‘pledging’ or ‘initiation’ doesn’t just belong to American frat houses, it’s a real phenomenon taking place in universities across the UK and is a secret condition for some sports societies. So bear this in mind before you sign up.
Once you become a member of certain sports or societies, you may be obligated to join the weekly socials on a Wednesday, participating in different themes and drinking rituals. This all sounds great until you realise you have a Thursday morning lecture at 9am.
Joining a society or sport’s club is a great way of making friends whilst participating in something you really (or want to learn to) enjoy. However, every sport and society has a duty of care to ensure that you are safe, and if the activity is risky, prices for joining may be higher to cover insurance costs. Make sure to enquire about these prices before signing up.
There is a sport and society fair at the beginning of the year (usually the first week of October) where you can see the variety of clubs on offer and sign up. However if you want to get ahead of the game, you can check out the sports and societies section on the CSU (Chester students’ union) site to see what’s on offer.
Easy as pie
The general consensus about first year is that it’s a walk in a park; it’s just partying and snoozing through lectures that don’t matter. Even though your grades in first year don’t necessarily count towards your final degree, the year should be treated as a practice year and taken seriously.
Remember you still need to pass the first year in order to join second year, so skipping lectures and failing modules isn’t the way to go. Equally, the things that you learn in your first year may be referenced when you move into second and third year!
There is a significant jump in terms of difficulty between A-Levels and a degree, contrary to what most people think. At degree level your writing and referencing styles need to change in order for you to receive a high mark during assignments.
One suggestion would be to make sure you read the APA referencing booklet – you could even conduct a quick Google search before you arrive to get yourself prepared. Obviously if you already know that your course uses a different style, research that. The quicker you learn how to reference the better, as not knowing will cost you in the second year.
It’s not always fun and games
Although university is renowned for being fun and exciting, there will be moments when you feel low and uni may actually not be as fun as it once was . Whether it’s assignment deadline stress, or home sickness, it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to have those down days – everybody has them.
Taking some time out for going home for a few days, or taking the opportunity for a bit of comfort eating and duvet times, just give yourself a few days to relax. You’ll soon get back to your old self and enjoy uni life again.
It’s not all doom and gloom
University is most importantly what you make it; you get out of it what you put in! Everything has ups and downs, and we are testament to the fact that university can provide you with a roller coaster of emotions, but it is definitely worth persevering in the end. To gain an insider perspective of uni life, check out our Work-Based Learning students soapbox blog. These guys worked with us during their WBL, so we took the opportunity to interview them on their university experience up to second year.
Equally important is ensuring that you have a let you love – having a grimy place to live is just as bad as having nowhere. Believe us, we’ve lived in houses that would make the Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners squad squirm! You can trust CSL will find you somewhere that you’re proud to call yours. Check out what’s available.