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“We will change the way that you think.”
That is the first piece of information I was given by an academic in my intro week. And it is true. University is no doubt the most surreal and eye-opening thing in your life. It will give you a radical new experience that will change you forever. So, I will throw you directly in the deep end, with less of what you will find out or already know.
Learn to cook. I was absolutely amazed by the people in my first year that could not figure out how to boil an egg or fry bacon. Get this sorted before arrival to avoid eternal embarrassment!
Meet people right now. I cannot emphasise just how important this is. Most of my friends from university are those that I met in the first day. It seems the hunt for housing begins almost immediately at Lancaster, so you need to know people you feel comfortable with and trust. There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing the person across the hallway!
Invest wisely. You are rich now, and could be poor for the rest of term. There are two things you will benefit from. First, get a decent winter jacket that breathes plus some good shoes. The weather really is awful! Second, join as many clubs and societies that interest you as possible.
Engage in the clubs and societies. Make sure that you actually go to the introduction sessions. If you don’t engage early, it just feels awkward later on.
Notice that not everybody is an alcoholic sex freak. What you like doing defines your own personality and there are many like minded people, societies and groups on campus.
Plan trips. You don’t need to know the destination, just have the money available. This is important to keep you sane. I recommend the Lake District, Edinburgh and Manchester. Many JCRs organise day trips. Take at least one.
Turn up to lectures with an ample supply of pens and paper. One of my tutors used to shout at students that didn’t do that. So take heed and come well prepared. And I enjoy applying the same standards to my students!
Carry condoms. There is a good chance you might want to use them. You don’t want to be caught without them. Trust me. Everybody is looking for somebody different, even if you don’t believe it.
No place on the planet is any more entertainingly frustrating, stupid and annoying than a university. So, please do enjoy and take full advantage of the university experience!