Before starting university you may think that you have everything sussed and that it will be an easy ride. Yes, it’s going to be great but there will be bumps in the road and poor decisions are likely to be made at various points. Second-year Pharmacy student, Ose Obayagbona, has been at The University of Manchester long enough now to understand the ins and outs of campus life and she’s here to provide all first-year students with the information that she wishes she’d known before starting at The University of Manchester…
Things I wish I knew before coming to university:
Uber is not your friend
I have come to realise Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat are toxic friends; they will kindly lighten your pockets and leave you feeling like a vagabond. In the first semester I was ordering takeaways left, right and centre thinking: “It’s only £10”, “£4 uber? that’s such a good deal!” This mindset resulted in me being broke in November trying to figure out how to make £100 last for the rest of the month and for the whole of December. Every penny counts – evaluate your financial decisions to determine how cost-effective they are.
You’re unlikely to be happy if you isolate yourself
Be an active student! Join societies, volunteer or try out a new hobby to make the most of this experience. Not only will this enhance your CV, but it will also enable you to network and make new friends with whom you have similar interests. The more people you have that you can call a friend, the better, especially when you’ve moved away from the comforts of your home.
Falling into bad habits is really easy
It’s really easy to fall into the habit of not attending lectures, thinking you can just catch up using podcasts, but once you get into that thought process it becomes difficult to regulate; what often happens is you end up stressed in exam season because you’re having to learn new concepts for the first time instead of revising them. Do yourself a favour and go to lectures and consolidate that knowledge within a week by watching the podcasts and making notes. Remember you’re probably paying £9,250 or more to be here, it’s not free, so make the most of the resources at your disposal.
Peer pressure is still a thing, don’t give in to it
This is an easy one, just be yourself and don’t change for anyone. Don’t give in to peer pressure or pretend to be anything less than who you are. Know where your limits are and stick to them and if anyone tries to make you feel bad for doing that then you don’t want to be friends with them anyway!
It’s easy to forget but your health is important so look after yourself. Make sure to register with a GP close to your accommodation as soon as possible because if you do fall ill, you don’t want to be worrying about filling forms and registering or having to go all the way back home to see your GP.
Exercise can improve your mood
With everything that you’ve got going on at uni, it’s easy to forget about making time to exercise. However, I believe it’s massively important not only for the obvious health and fitness reasons. Regular exercise has been proven to improve your mood and energy levels so make time for it!
Nighttime is for sleeping
This might seem like an obvious one, and to be honest you probably do have this mindset before coming to uni, but it’s easy to fall down the slippery slope of working through the night and messing up your sleeping pattern very quickly at university. Ultimately, this will lead to burn out so I’d suggest making sure you get eight hours of sleep a night.
Your mind is important. If your feeling depressed, anxious, stressed or any other mental health condition then please remember that you’re not alone. Seek help, there is always a way the university will be able to support you in dealing with your issues – https://www.counsellingservice.manchester.ac.uk/
The key to success is…
According to new research from the University of British Columbia “self-compassion is the key to success in first year”. Whether it’s your first year away from home or you’re commuting. It may feel like you’re at the bottom of the food chain and you’ve just been thrown into a jungle. But have faith in yourself, you can do this. Yes, you’ll probably make mistakes along the way, this is a good thing – as long as you learn from them, it will help you to grow as an individual.