Uni is a lot of fun. It’s an experience which will last long in the memory, safely filed away under the category – ‘Times of my life’. For many young people, it’s also stage one of adulthood; the first move from dependence to independence. To make sure you get the most out of this new chapter in your life, we have provided some ‘basics’ to help you not only stay alive but thrive at uni… and come out the other side with a degree and the good times behind you!
You’ve got to make friends. New ones. However shy you are or excruciating you find this, it has to be done – end of!
So, get yourself to Fresher’s Week, gatherings and events. Force yourself to speak to the people around you. If you find this difficult, fall back on common courtesy: names; background; studies etc. After all, everyone is in the same boat. It won’t be long before you meet that friend for life!
Unless you’re teetotal, you’ll be drinking. As much as we don’t want you to be a party-pooper, make sure that when you’re out and about you are with a group of people you can trust. There’s no harm in making the effort to feel safe and you’ll have a much better night knowing that someone is looking out for you.
Overdoing it on the drinking front, however, can cause you serious harm. Here’s how to ‘soften the blow’:
– Drink plenty of water. Even if you’ve only had a few, make sure that you drink some water before you sleep. Being dehydrated isn’t good for your body, especially your head!
– Eat before you start! A sandwich, bowl of pasta, chips – food will help.
– If you’re sick from drinking, be glad. See it as your body giving you a helping hand! After all, alcohol is a toxin. If a friend is looking like they’re about to hurl, make sure they’re not alone. You don’t have to share the experience – you can be holding your nose with a hand on their back! Just be there.
Remember – You’ll always feel better after you’ve been sick!
Drugs can kill, make no mistake.
It’s a very risky path to choose which can not only ruin your chances of getting a decent degree but also your physical and mental health.
At university, you are very much your own person. This of course is a good thing, however, you must remember that you alone are responsible for your actions. If someone offers you drugs, make life easier for yourself and say no. You know it’s the right thing to do. If you have a friend who’s taking drugs, stay close. You never know when they might need you. If they or anyone else is in trouble – get them to hospital, quickly. An early emergency phone call to the ambulance service could save a life.
Even if you’ve tried drugs once, it doesn’t mean you have to again. Stopping is admirable. And clever.
If in doubt, spit it out!
Having a healthy and balanced diet is essential to feeling good!
As we all know, money isn’t exactly pouring out of your pockets when you’re a student! That’s not to say you can’t eat well. Stock up on carbohydrates like pasta, rice and potatoes. Cheap, cheerful, and also halfway there to a meal!
Top tip: Do your food shop later on in the evening and look out for ‘reduced’ labels. You can be sure to find yourself a bargain or two!
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to making the most out of the following day.
Prolonged punishment of your body through lack of sleep can make you disorientated, function poorly and unenthusiastic. There’s a reason why sleep deprivation was a torture method administered during the Second World War!
Try and recognise the signs – If you’re sitting in a lecture hall, struggling to lift your eyelids, then you probably missed out on some Z’s the night before. Make sure that you get an early night so you can wake up refreshed and motivated to blitz the day ahead, (and make up for the previous one!)
If you’re really knackered, try and get into the habit of having a couple of 5-10 minute power naps to get you back on form for your studies.
Most importantly: Try and sleep at night time. If you’ve got yourself in a routine where you’re regularly going to sleep at 3, 4 or even 6am after a night out, give yourself a period of ‘normality’ and feel your body and mind bounce back.
Aside from meeting new people and having fun, there should be an end product at university or college – a degree.
You’re there for the qualification, so don’t waste the financial investment and years of your life, a) doing something you don’t want to do and b) by not even trying. That’s not to say you should become a hermit and feel guilty for enjoying your social life; far from it. Taking yourself and your studies seriously is paramount if you wish to succeed. Set yourself a target grade and do all you can to achieve it (i.e go to lectures!)
If you’re struggling with your work or not enjoying what you study, don’t be afraid to speak to your tutor, it’s what they’re for. Also, remember that changing your degree is always an option available to you.
Getting to know your classmates will help. Studying with a friend will keep you in good spirits and naturally motivate you to get more done. See it as you’re in it together!
University if often very hectic so make sure you find the time to chill! It’s not wasting time or being lazy; it’s something for you to enjoy. Taking time out is key to staying on top things, especially your studies. You can’t be flat out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
If you feel like chilling, you probably need to. Spend a Sunday under your duvet or on the sofa watching a Friends box set. Lots of people are at their creative best after a bout of chilling!
Uni is a step up in life from school. Your relationships will reflect this. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. If it’s not working, get out, you have your whole life ahead of you.
Home is great. It’s where you grew up and what you’re used to. If you feel like you need a time out, spend a long weekend back with the ‘rents. They’ll be happy to see you, you’ll be happy to see them and it could well be just what you needed to recharge the batteries – ready for one final slog to see out the term! Even if you don’t miss home, it’s nice to stay in touch!
Follow these ‘basics’ and you’ll do more than survive – you’ll thrive at uni – enjoy!
Credit: Rose Paul, St Pauls Lifestyle inc OVERGROUND SOUND www.stpaulslifestyle.com @stpaulslifestyle
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