Despite what people may say, university isn’t just about getting a job. Sure that’s the ultimate goal, but at the end of the day the human experience is so much more than your career path. This all may sound unnecessarily deep, but the fact is if you commit your life solely to your career, you run the risk of missing out on life itself. I’m a strong believer in the idea that life isn’t a narrative from start to finish. Rather, it’s the part in between the start and the destination, the journey itself, that matters. University isn’t just a three year break from adult-life: it’s also another part of the journey.
So, as we established in the last article, textbooks, essays, and all that seemingly boring stuff are a huge part of the university experience. Luckily, if you’ve followed all of my tips so far, you should have all of that out of the way now. Now what? Well as I said, uni isn’t all about work. Again, life itself isn’t all about work. In your short stay on this floating rock, you might as well drain as much joy out of life as you possibly can. The best way to do this is by meeting new people and having great experiences. Luckily for you, you’re in the perfect place for that. All things aside, you’re in a brand new city surrounded by new and interesting people. The world is your oyster. So let’s have some fun right?
Wrong. Let’s read this article first. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you to death with any ‘when I was your age’ rhetoric. It’s just I really wish somebody gave me this sort of advice before I set off to uni. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have mastered the art of having fun and still being able to roll up to your 9am lecture without a crippling hangover.
Let’s be honest, partying is a huge part of the university experience. Whether you drink or not, it’s far too easy to lose yourself on the whimsical dance floors of the UK. Especially when you’re a young adult filled with the new found freedom of living away from home. Although it’s not a popular opinion my honest advice would be not to overdo it during freshers week. Sure it’s tempting, but keep in mind the fact that you can go clubbing any time of the year. Just because it’s freshers week, doesn’t mean you have to go wild and spend all your student loans in one swift drunken frenzy. Honestly, just go out once or twice in freshers week. You’ll thank me later when you’re not living off pot noodles for 3 months, with no money to even buy a pack of wine gums, let alone a cheap bottle of Tesco wine.
As for the rest of the year, I urge you not to go out just for the sake of it. This just burns through your student loans. I’m not being boring, just practical. Save your night-out money for the big events that you really want to go to. Then you’ve got something to look forward to and nights-out don’t just become a dull regime of pre-drinks and waking up filled with regret and last night’s gone-off kebab.
So if you’ve been smart and saved your money in freshers week, you should have a decent chunk of your student loan left to have fun with. It is vital you budget though, as everything you want to do, whether it’s an event or a night-out, will come down to money. There’s nothing worse than being stuck inside with no money to do anything half-way through your first year. All you’ll have to look at is your textbook and surprisingly, this will have a negative effect on your uni work. Because although you have more time to study, without having the money to let your hair down now and then, you will genuinely lose your mind to the four walls of your overpriced accommodation.
I recommend getting a money planner. They can easily be found online for free, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget just to work out your budget. Whatever you decide on, just make sure you work out the most vital purchases first. So this means calculating your rent, electricity bills etc. so you know how much money you’ve got left to play with after all the essentials are paid for. With the money you’ve got left, just be conscious of what you’re spending it on. That unnecessary coffee on your break means one less pint at the pub.
Of course, it’s not all just booze and parties. Even though most society meetings eventually spiral into drunkenness, It’s very important to socialise outside of nights-out. This is why societies are good, because you meet new people through a common interest other than getting wasted. If you followed the advice in the previous article, then you should have enough time, as societies are often held later to cater for people who work. I recommend just checking a few societies out, and seeing which ones suit you. You don’t want to be a part of too many and burn up your time and money attempting to maintain social relationships with 50,000 people, whilst simultaneously trying to snowboard, DJ, and make a short film (there really is a society for everything).
I feel this one has been quite centred around money. Although I wanted this series to give you a solid plan of action for maintaining every aspect of university life without losing your mind, I think money is a huge part of this, because whether you like it or not, you need it to live, and you need it to go to events and socialise, so of course it’s vital to manage it well because otherwise you’ll lose balance and be stuck inside studying all year. Understandably, student life is expensive, which is why the next article will be focused on part-time work whilst you’re at uni. So stay tuned, you’re just one more step away from being a professional student.
By Thomas Anderson