Surviving university can be tough. Dedicating your life to the behavioural research lab in order to earn the occasional £10 and learning to survive on an average of 2 hours sleep is totally normal. Baked beans, value of course, cooked in the microwave will become your staple diet. You will encounter feelings of exhaustion, sadness, loneliness and stress, but don’t let it overcome you. Trust me, university is worth it but only if you stick it out!
A light hearted guide to staying alive (and sort of happy) whilst at university!
Once you get to university, you will realise (pretty quickly) those that are (traumatised) by the fact that they missed their oxbridge offer. Especially if their opening line is “well, Cambridge was my first choice…”. Ignore them, they will be upset forever.
Freshers is expensive. Pre-drinks or ‘prinks’ are an absolute must. The Tesco’s value bottle of vodka will for once in your life be a first resort instead of a last. Budget freshers week as you don’t want to be that person who blows their whole student loan in the first five days. Also, the club table’s in VIP are never worth the money that they cost, don’t bother even if it involves a free bottle of champagne.
Freshers flu is a VERY real thing. Prepare with a ridiculous amount of Lemsip Max, ibuprofen, paracetamol and you can never have enough packets of cough sweets.
Freshers week will involve a fancy dress night, often neon, animal, school or heroes/villains themed. Fancy dress is usually compulsory on these nights so therefore be prepared! You don’t want to be that person desperately trying to a find a costume shop at 8pm on a Saturday night.
Early morning (aka before 11am) will ALWAYS be a struggle. Go armed with a Starbucks double expresso and a McDonald’s breakfast, or failing that a coat (with a hood) so that you can at least have a nap…
Sleeping in lectures will become a normal thing. Being a student involves VERY little sleep.
Lack of sleep can largely be blamed on YouTube due to watching excessive amounts of videos at 2am and before you know it, it’s 6am and you have an hour to sleep before the day starts again.
Procrastinating is something that you will find yourself doing 89% of the time. “I’ll just make a drink before starting my reading” or “oh, my friends are going window shopping in Oxford Street, I better tag along despite the 3,000 word essay I have due in tomorrow (which I am yet to start)” or “a cheeky Nandos is definitely in order, I deserve a treat despite the fact that I have done nothing yet today apart from watch Jeremy Kyle for 3 hours”. Yup, I know the feeling.
Once you have battled your way through all the work (that you left until last minute) you will have most definitely had at least 3 breakdowns. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Everyone cries whilst a university and often it’s over essays or the reading list. Who really cares what Marx or Durkheim thought?
And even then if you do the homework, complete the reading list and start your essay, the chances are you will still have no idea what is going on! Although, you do learn to get used to that feeling. I have spent my whole first year being completely lost throughout 97% of my lectures and classes.
Coffee is your best friend. At 9am or 1am, it will keep you awake and stick by you no matter what. When I started uni, I wasn’t a big coffee drinker, however during exam season it was the only thing that kept me from going crazy (and falling asleep on my laptop keyboard).
Fear is basically a form of motivation. No one wants to face an angry tutor when you haven’t handed in your essay or when you do finally hand it in, it’s 1 minute past the deadline.
EVERYONE come January, will be talking about starting revision but talking about it is one thing and doing it is another. P.S. It is impossible to revise in McDonalds, don’t bother tricking yourself into thinking that it is a wonderful idea.
As for the exams, well, they rarely include what you’ve revised. That is just life. Get over it.
The Apple logo will be staring back at you when you walk into EVERY lecture. It bothered me to the point where I bought a Mac just to fit in… (Oh dear).
Hunger and starvation is all part of being a student. This goes back to the idea of budgeting: clubbing or food… Always remember, Domino’s is expensive BUT always worth it even if means you can’t eat for the next week.
Pasta is cheap and virtually fool proof to cook. Pasta with tomatoes, pasta with pesto, pasta with pasta sauce (if you’re lucky), pasta and cheese, you name it, it will probably go with pasta. Plus, who doesn’t like the idea of pasta for breakfast, lunch and tea?
Embrace being poor. You are probably going to be for the next 3 years.
Tired is how you will feel every single day. But once the term ends, sleeping for at least 7 days is totally acceptable. After all, you deserve it, right?