So, you’re going to uni? My Top Ten Tips for being a Fresher!

It’s results day today, and a whopping 386,000 of you have got into university today – well done to all of you! I’m starting my second year this September, so here’s my top ten tips for being a university fresher:

1. Look on Facebook for people in your halls and on your course – lots of universities and student unions run facebook pages for freshers to find people that they will be spending the year with, it’s a great way to get to know a few friendly faces before you start.

2. Go to as many fresher’s events as you can! These events are there for you to meet new people, find new friends and get to know your campus. If you’re not into partying all night there will be a whole range of different events to go to.

3. Don’t sign up to every society you like the sound of – your first year at uni is a busy year and you won’t have the chance to do everything, so don’t waste your money on signing up to societies. Most societies let non-members but tickets for events anyway!

4. Don’t buy too much if your moving into halls – do you really need a whole set of different sized frying pans, saucepan’s and woks? One or two will do!

5. Enjoy freshers week, but don’t go too crazy – you don’t want to get a reputation from the beginning. At my freshers week one girl got incredibly drunk and urinated in a kitchen sink, and for the rest of the year she was known as “The Girl who Peed in the Sink.” No one wants that as a nickname. She was actually a lovely girl.

6. This tip was given to me by a teacher, so don’t judge me. When you are dropped off to uni your parents will be in a highly emotional state. The apple of their eye is moving away from them and they still want to protect and help them. This is a perfect situation to ask for money. What?! Uni is expensive!

7. Most courses will give you a reading list – do NOT buy all the books! A lot of universities have enough copies in their libraries, and many now give you access to free e-books, so don’t waste money on expensive textbooks. Also, you’ll hardly open them in your first year, save money for the second year! (Please don’t tell my lecturers I said that)

8. Stay safe – for many people uni is the first chance of independence and you want to make the most of it. Do it! Try everything! But still be safe – go out with good friends, take care of each other and don’t trust strangers.

9. It’s okay not to enjoy some things – we go to uni with high expectations, and sometimes things are just not as good as we expected. Don’t worry,you’re probably not the only one thinking it. Don’t let it get you down, just try something different and you’ll soon start enjoying uni again.

10. Hangovers- you’re going to have them. Hangovers are simply the effects of low blood sugar and dehydration. So when you get in from a night out drink a pint of water and eat some carbohydrate (this is where 24hour Domino’s delivery helps). If it’s really bad take some paracetamol and a nap and you’ll soon be ready for the next night out.

So there’s my top tips for starting uni. God, I wish I could do my fresher’s year again! As always, if you have any questions or comments please leave a comment below, or tweet me @andrea_avena

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Are A Levels and studying really that important?

I went back to sixth form this Wednesday, full of both hope and dread. It’s my final year of A Levels, my last chance to get the ridiculously high grades expected of me to get into a decent university, where I hope to be going next September. Despite having two months away from studying which included a fantastic trip to Indonesia, I still don’t feel ready to settle down into the swing of studying, writing personal statements and worrying about the amount of UCAS points that I have.  I think the trip to Indonesia is partly due to that.

I’ve always had a clear path in mind for my life: get really good grades, get to uni, do a degree and somehow experience travel and become extremely rich at the same time.  But is all that really important?

Well of course it’s important to be intelligent and intellectual, and to experience different cultures, and to some degree have a good amount of money (you all know the saying, money doesn’t buy happiness but I’ll rather cry in a Ferrari) but the biggest thing I want is to always be as happy as I am now, or more if at all possible.

A beer and a good sunset with great friends, all you need in life.

I’m not going to be one of those bloggers who writes about wanting to be happy all the time, but I have realised that a lot of what we stand for in the Western world is not all that is needed to be happy.  In Indonesia, I met some of the happiest, friendliest people I have ever met. Although they lack things us Westerners take for granted, such as  constant supply of electricity to charge our Blackberry’s and iPhones on, and new cars to drive us to shopping centres, the people I met really valued and were made happy by some of the most simple and yet most beautiful things in life. Things like living in a community full of friends and family to protect you, enjoying a nice cold beer whilst watching an awesome sunset, and even taking the time to cook a meal for your friends.

But what does this have to do with A levels? The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t have to worry too much about getting a piece of paper to say that you are successful. Sure, aspirations and dreams are essential in life, but remember it’s not all about getting the best job, or the flashiest car.

So, as many of you go back to colleges and sixth forms, remember to work hard to achieve everything you want to do, but also enjoy the many things around you that will make you happy.

Now, I should stop procrastinating and get on with something decent to do…..