(Competition for Currys PC World, which I won.)
The end of summer means that it’s time for a new batch of freshers to begin their time at university. Whilst the first few weeks are about getting to know your new friends, your new home, and attending every event that Freshers week throws at you, here’s a few tips for when the hangover starts to kick in and the uni work begins piling up.
1. Put your money to good use
‘Budgeting’ is something you’ll hear over and over again from blog posts such as this and, even more so, your parents, but you have to remember that you won’t receive such brilliant grants and bursaries for the rest of your life. As a recent graduate struggling to find work and make any money after university, I know how important it is to make the most of these grants. And I don’t just mean that you should spend less on alcohol and more on a decent meal, because that’s just not going to happen. Of course you have to be sensible with how much you’re going to put aside for nights out and meal times, and don’t go on a big shopping spree on loan day because you will be desperate for money by the end of year, but there’s many other ways you can put your money to good use as well.
– Buy yourself a good laptop/tablet and update it with the latest Microsoft/Adobe software. Universities usually help with the costs of programs that will benefit your work so make sure you find out about this. They also often provide courses to get the right qualifications for these programs, which will look great on your CV and also come in useful with course work.
– Set yourself up a website with a personal domain. The first thing an employee will do is Google you these days, so set yourself up online with a regularly updated website and social media profiles. It doesn’t cost a lot to set up a blog, but it’s well worth getting your own domain and making your website look pretty whilst you have a few pounds spare. Not only can you document your time at university, but your website can also work as online portfolio where people can see examples of your work.
2. Keep an eye on the clock
Time keeping is important for many reasons; not just to make sure that you get to lecture on time, but also because your however many years at university will fly by. First year will come and go, and soon enough you’ll be stressing about your dissertation. But whilst you’ve got to make the most of every minute, don’t let your deadlines creep up on you either. As much as you would like, essays don’t write themselves. Deadlines are usually months ahead of when the assignment is given. I’m not saying you should get it done straight away, but plan your schedule ahead of deadline day, prepare for your assignment little by little, and don’t leave it until the day before. Good marks add up, and if you’re averaging high then you won’t need to do even more work in the final year to make up for a lack of effort at the start.
3. Don’t forget what it’s really about
It’s easy to get caught up in the university lifestyle, and whilst you must take advantage of the lie-ins, nights out, new friends, and being constantly on a VIP list to the biggest parties and best DJ sets, don’t forget about the other opportunities that university opens up for you. If I had four tips to give then I would say that you have to take advantage of the university lifestyle as well, because it as much a part of the experience as the qualification itself, but more importantly you have to take advantage of what the university itself offers. Internships, work experiences, extra qualifications, guest speaker lectures, networking events, and training in skills and equipment are always readily available. Sure you may need to skip a lecture once in a while, but a quick email to your tutor about what you’ve missed will mean that can keep on track of the course that you’re actually paying for. Just keep in mind that you want to come away with the best degree possible as well as those unforgettable memories.
For your chance to win a laptop, you can enter Currys PC World competition by giving your own Top 3 tips for new university students. For more information, click here.