Classic First Year Uni Mistakes

Friday, 6 September 2019

Your first year at uni is a crazy time and there are endless learning curves. Obviously, you’ll do a lot of studying on your course but you also have to learn a lot of life lessons as well. For most people, it’s the first time living on your own away from home and making all of your own decisions, a lot of them to do with money. When you were living at home, you probably got fed up with being told what to do in the years you’re yearning for freedom, but you’ll soon start to realise that their advice wasn’t all bad. 

Nobody is perfect and you’re never going to get it right the first time around, and I certainly had a few issues when I was getting to grips with the new lifestyle. Some of those mistakes are only minor and you don’t need to worry, but some of them can have a bigger impact on your life, and it’s those big mistakes that you need to avoid. These are some of the biggest mistakes that you’re likely to make in your first year of uni, and how you can get around them. 

Spending Too Much Money 

This is by far the biggest mistake that people make because they’re not used to budgeting their money and paying their bills, so it’s likely that you will overspend at some point. When you first get your student loan payment, it seems like a lot of money and so there’s a tendency for students to just blow it all right away and get overexcited (trust me, I’ve seen it happen). But between your rent, food, and going out, you’ll soon burn through that money and halfway through the term, realise that you are starting to run out. It’s at this point that people will start learning how to budget so they can survive until they get their next payment through, but that’s not the way to go about it. If you only start budgeting once you are already low on money, you will have to stick to a strict budget that doesn’t allow much money for fun things at all. It’s far better to start budgeting your money properly from the very beginning, so you can still afford all of your important bills and have some money left over for fun activities as well. I chose to work out a weekly budget for myself, as that way I constantly had a close eye on what I was spending and never seemed to stray far out of my budget!

A lot of students forget about the summer as well and only write a budget that covers them during term time. But you have to remember that your final payment for the year has to last you through summer until term starts again next year. Summer is a time when you should be having amazing travel experiences or catching up with old friends, and you need money to do that stuff. Summer jobs are a good option, but it’s still a good idea to save some of your loan so you have enough money during the summer. Missing out on experiences is one of the most gutting things!

Picking Bad Accommodation 

Finding somewhere to live is one of the most important decisions that you have to make but a lot of students make mistakes because they don’t know what they’re looking for. Some student landlords will try to rip you off or get away with letting properties that are in terrible condition because they know that students don’t always know better. When it comes to accommodation, don’t just go for the cheapest option because there is usually a reason that those places are so cheap. The first thing you should think about is the location. You want to find student accommodation in the city centre, close to the university. If you are living too far away from everything, you will be spending a lot of money on buses to get around. As well as the location, you need to know whether the bills are included in the rent or not. Usually, it’s best to get bills included so you have one simple payment to deal with and you don’t need to worry about how much you are using. Finally, when you look around, watch out for things like damp and mould or things that are broken. Some landlords are not very good with the upkeep of the property and you don’t want to rent from them. 

As well as the accommodation itself, you need to think about who you are living with if you are going into a house share. Just because you get along with somebody, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to live with them. Think about which friends have a similar lifestyle to you in terms of studying and going out, and don’t live with anybody that is too messy if you are a neat person because it will cause arguments. 

Going Out Too Much 

Going out is a big part of university life for most people and it’s fine to have a good time with your friends. But you need to find a balance between work and play, otherwise, you’re going to be in big trouble when exams roll around. If you neglect your studies, your grades will suffer and in some cases, you may even struggle to pass the year. As long as you prioritise work and make sure that you get everything done before going out, and skip the night out if you’re falling behind, you will be fine. 

Not Asking For Help 

So many first year students find themselves struggling but they don’t ask for help. It can be intimidating and people worry that their tutors will think badly of them if they admit that they are having trouble keeping up, but that isn’t the case at all. It’s what they’re there for and if you ask for help early on, it’s easy to get back on track. But if you stay silent for weeks and weeks, and only ask for help a few days before an assignment is due in, that’s when you will be in big trouble. 

If you can avoid these big mistakes, you should be able to survive your first year at university and have an even better time than you ever imagined. 

* this is a contributed post
Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |