[First published on Kettle Mag]
University is supposed to be the best three, or more, years of your life, so do not waste a second and make sure you experience everything that student life has to offer. I have listed my academic and social university hacks to help students make the most of their £9,000 a year course.
1. Talk to everyone and anyone
There’s no need to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to meet new friends and try new things. Everyone is in the same boat in freshers, and it helps to have a few people to talk to and go out with. There’s such a diverse range of people that choose to attend university, and you can learn a lot from them. Also, when you are at university, everyone you meet could one day make a great contact. They may become a great friend, turn out to someone who could help you get a job or even become that person themselves.
2. Join a society (or start one)
Love to sing? Play netball? Game? Just want to try out something different? There’s a society full of likeminded people for everyone, and if there isn’t, you can create your own providing enough people would like to join. It’s a great way to be social, keep fit, or learn a new skill, and I cannot recommend it enough. The groups even have their own social calendar funding, whereby the whole society can go out and have some fun at whatever event they plan (Note: It may be a formal ball).
3. Get involved
It is imperative that you take advantage of all the opportunities the university has to offer, and the best way to do so is to check your emails and to make sure to log onto the student channel every now and again. Your lecturers may annouce details of jobs, placements, work experience, or maybe even something fun. Through my university, I have scored tickets to a Dynamo warm up show, and the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. However, the most beneficial way I have got involved, is via the university news website. I get sent tickets to review bands, artists comedians, and plays, providing I apply for a press pass. Anyone can do so, they just need the initiative to ask to join and be proactive in sourcing things to write about. Here’s my proof:
4. Consider studying at a university abroad
I regret not going abroad to study during my second year of university, especially so after reading this. Combining wanderlust with the university experience makes you a more rounded person, with a new language and great tan (depending where you travel) to boot.
5. Only ever sit in the first three rows
I have found that sitting near the front is the perfect deterrent for getting distracted. Not only does the eye contact from the lecturer make you feel uneasy about checking your phone, but it also engages you with the content and gives them a better impression of you. There is absolutely no point rocking up to sit at the back of the room, with your hood up, to play on your phone rather than listening to what is going on. If you are feeling ill or just did not get enough sleep, and that is all you want to do, do not come to the lecture.
6. Do more than the bare minimum
By taking a proactive role in your learning, you are making the most of university and ensuring that you will come out with no regrets and the best grade you could have achieved. You need to ignore all the people chorusing, “You only need 40 per cent to pass,” and, “First year does not count,” as starting as you mean to go on sets you up to do well. As tempting as it is, do not lose hope and build a fort with those people.
Image: Facebook/ Immy Jones
7. Remember that the university library is your friend
This is fairly self-explanatory. Most universities keep theirs open 24/7, and you can borrow books, use the computers to do work, or even ask advice on referencing. Get it out of your mindset that the library is just for ‘geeks,’ and get down there to save yourself a fortune, and have every resource you may need to do an assignment at your fingertips.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
University is hard, and although the lecturers will try their best to cover all bases during their lectures, not everything is gone through in detail. This means that sometimes, you will need to ask your tutor or fellow course mates for help, especially when it comes to assignments. Attempting the work early ensures that you have plenty of time to ask for help, or see your tutor in their office hours with a draft or idea you are confused about. Also, completing your assignments as soon as you get them, means that you can proofread the essays over and over again, adding extra content and ridding yourself of silly mistakes.
9. Choose your modules carefully
Do not just go for the easy option, when you could challenge yourself to learn something new, as doing so may make you come out on top. You are not paying a minimum of £9,000 a year to repeat things you already know, when there is scope to do something different. It is also important to pick modules that will be useful for your career, as well as the ones you enjoy, as that is what will help land you your dream job. If you want to become a political journalist, but opt for a celebrity module rather than reporting government, you are not helping yourself.
10. Always ask if places do student discount
Students are poor. That is fact. Try get into the habit of asking if shops or restaurants offer student discounts, because you have nothing to lose, and you may be able to save some pennies. Also, take advantage of the many student lock-in and freebie fair events, as they are there to help you.
Most stores have a student discount that most students never use. Ask about it.
— Life Pro Tips (@LifeTipsPage) September 11, 2016
How did you make the most of your university experience? Let us know in the comments below!