What I Wish I'd Known Before Starting University
woman in striped shirt with backpack holding sunglasses while walking on street
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What I Wish I'd Known Before Starting University

Ellie-Rose Baker September 28, 2022

Starting university is intense. There’s only so much you can be told about it before actually going. For the most part, you just have to get stuck in.

So, from one (very new!) graduate to a little baby first year, here’s what I wish I had known before I started uni.

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Don’t do modules just because your friends are

  • Whether you’re a party animal or a little mouse (like me), your social life will reach new heights at university. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together. Take the classes that YOU want to do because YOU’RE interested in them. If you’re feeling that pressure, check yourself. University can be a very expensive three years if you’re not enjoying what you’re learning!

Keep to a strict budget – but don’t let this stop you from having fun at uni

  • You’re allowed to be a little frivolous with your student loan early on, even if this is just to make you realise the importance of budgeting.
  • Factor in a weekly or monthly budget for days or nights out.
  • Please, PLEASE don’t forget your student discount. It can save you a lot of money, not only in shops but for experiences too.

“Referencing is pants.” (Baker, 2022)

  • It’s 100% the worst part of university, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
  • Master it as soon as you can: go to the workshops put on by the library and watch the video tutorials shared by your lecturers. Believe me, it will save you a lot of tears in the long run.
Photo by leah hetteberg on Unsplash

Uni societies are great, but time-consuming

  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to join societies straight away. Okay, they might be amazing for your social life but, in first year, everything is so overwhelming.
  • There’s no harm in waiting a few months, or even until your second year to join clubs. At least then you’ll have a better grasp on your own time management.

Don’t buy brand new textbooks

  • This is an absolute no-no. You will rarely need to revisit some textbooks next term, let alone next year.
  • Spare yourself the empty bank account and have a look here to see how to get your textbooks cheaper/for free.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Ellie-Rose Baker, alumni of the University of South Wales, is an almost adult, tackling the big wide world with an English and Creative Writing degree in one hand, and a cuppa in the other. A Freelance Journalist for Freshered, Ellie-Rose's primary focus' are navigating postgraduate life, climate change and literature. She also takes her writing inspiration from her other roles which include theatre ushering and English teaching.