Author : Becky Emily Firth
Your university years can be some of the best years of your life. University is a great opportunity to start afresh, step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Each term comes and goes so quickly, it can be easy to get sucked into the hustle and bustle of student life - once you graduate, it can really feel like the past few years have flown by. Here are some quick tips from a recent graduate for making the most of your university experience:
1. Explore your new city
Once you arrive at university, make the most of your first few weeks! For a lot of courses, your first year is less academically intense, meaning you have more time to explore your local city and see the sights. Get together with your flatmates or other students on your course and plan a day trip to the town center.
There will be plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and parks for you to visit. A quick google search for popular attractions in your area will help you get inspiration for your next weekend plans. Getting to know your local city will help you feel more at home at university, as well as helping you bond with your new-found friends! Plus, when your family or friends from home come to visit, you can act as a tour guide and take them to your new favourite spots.
2. On-campus events
Your university will host a huge variety of events on campus for both staff and students to enjoy. From fresher’s fair to bar crawls, there will be plenty to keep you entertained when you don’t feel like making the trip to town. Societies will often host events, including quizzes, sports games, arts and craft sessions, theatre shows and live performances. These events are a great way to get to know your campus, meet new people and make memories. Be sure to take plenty of photos so you can remember your on-campus adventures!
Societies are a great way to step out of your comfort zone and explore new hobbies. Societies often meet regularly, with most hosting weekly sessions and sports teams offering training several times a week. There is usually also the opportunity to attend social events, like parties or meals, so you can get to know the other members. University is a great opportunity to start afresh - saying yes to new things is a wonderful way to boost your confidence. You might even discover a new passion along the way.
4. Work experience and volunteering
Whilst at university, it’s important to remember that you’re not just there to study. When applying for post-graduate courses and jobs, it can be really helpful to have extracurricular experience alongside your degree.
If you haven’t worked before, or want to gain experience within a particular field, volunteering may be the way to go. Volunteering is an easy way to make connections within and learn more about your particular industry - it can even lead to paid roles. Even if unrelated to your career goals, volunteering for charities can be a really rewarding experience and tells future employers a little more about you.
Part-time work, on or off-campus, is another great way to demonstrate your ability to manage different commitments at once. Customer service jobs and on-campus roles, such as campus tour guides and open-day assistants, are easy ways to boost your confidence, improve your public speaking skills and earn money in your free time. Partaking in activities outside of your degree allows you to gain more from your university experience and helps improve your employability when applying for future roles.
5. Social life and self-care
Balancing work and study can be overwhelming - it’s important to have days where you prioritise yourself. Spending quality time with friends is essential, whether it’s a quick meet up on campus between lectures, a party or a relaxed movie night at your accommodation. Those last-minute, impromptu plans are the memories you will treasure once you leave university. Don’t forget to have fun!
Alongside socialising, don’t be afraid to take time for yourself. After a busy day of lectures and work, you can feel exhausted. Don’t feel guilty for spending a night in and looking after yourself. Exercise, skincare, meditation, Netflix… put the time aside to do what makes you feel good.
Even though exams and coursework can be stressful, do your best to make the most of your university experience. Take the opportunity to try new things alongside your degree - you never know who you will meet and what skills you’ll acquire along the way.
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