Some of the finest advice for life as a first year, from a fourth year

University should be an amazing time for everyone, but sometimes the highs can also coincide with the lows. Whether it’s homesickness, friends, exams or the work load is proving difficult, the most important thing to DO is talk to someone about it. Student advisers are found in every faculty and offer free appointments at reception. Whatever it is, get it sorted.

DO keep a form of ID on you at all times. You may be far away from home, so make sure you pop in a local, term-time I.C.E (In case of emergency) contact into your phone
as well, just in case. Share this info with whoever lives at your home-home, and this will ease anyone’s fears about your safety. It shows you are taking responsibility for yourself – nice one!

DON’T be badgered by charity campaigners. Don’t get me wrong, charity is a beautiful thing, but there is a difference in being made aware of a cause and donating off your own back, and being cornered into a direct debit scheme that you can’t afford. Don’t be afraid to say no to these people (politely).

DON’T jump into bed with your new house mates. I get it! You’re both new in the city, young free and single and no longer have parents knocking about downstairs, but in reality, you probably won’t get married in second year. To avoid making home life awkward for the both of you, have a good think about the consequences, and if you do end up together, do it safely.

DON’T forget to stock up on multivitamins, those value ready meals and takeaways aren’t going to do wonders for your health now are they?

DO make sure that you always have enough taxi money to get home.

DON’T do drugs. They are dangerous and can make you do really really stupid things.

DO embrace your NUS discount card, but think carefully about your potential purchases. Just because a huge poster screams 20% off with your card, doesn’t mean you need it. A pair of shoes that cost £40, would be £32 in such a sale. Would you still buy them if that was full price?

DO try that sport you’ve been toying with since Fresher’ Fair. University is one of the best and most effective ways to get into a new sport, as most organisations offer student discounts for clubs. It is also a brilliant way to make some great, life-long friends outside of halls and lectures. Who knows, you might even get to compete at a varsity match!

Speaking of lectures, DO attend regularly – it’s all very tempting to do a no-show if you know it’s up on Blackboard or if someone else is grabbing notes, but skimming over a PowerPoint or trying to make sense of someone else’s notes is not active learning. You just can’t engage properly in the subject, so go! Come exams you’ll thank me.

Nicol Caplin