So, you’re at university and you’re left with some real freedom for the first time in your life. What do you do? How do you spend your time? If you’re anything like us, then you’ve heard a few horror stories about people just starting their university education, and you might have had more than an embarrassing part in one or more of them. Keep in mind a couple of simple ideas and you should manage to at least mitigate the risks that trip up so many of us.
You’re free, but not that free
This is especially a problem for those of us from more conservative backgrounds. Being placed in an environment like a dorm can be overwhelming, especially if your first clues on how to treat this freedom comes from the more rambunctious of roommates. As funny as the loud people in the dorm or flat can be, you shouldn’t feel the need to emulate. There are still rules, and there is still decency, and going overboard is not going to help you in the short or long-term. We know, this sounds like a PSA, but ask any graduate and they’ll tell you the exact same thing. Nobody wants to be remembered as ‘that’ person.
Balance your budget
For many people, university was the first time that they made their own budget. This comes in terms of both money and time. Most students won’t have the fortune to enter a debt-free tertiary education, so it is important to properly plan out what you want, what you need, and what you might regret. This is a time when you will want to try out new experiences and adventures but, at the same time, there are always those who overdo it. A part-time job can help with this, if available, but remember to balance that against your study and personal time.
This budget also extends to your time. Simply winging it might be fun and stress-free at first but we guarantee it won’t be once exam time rolls around.
Practise what you can; learn what you love
We hope we haven’t made it seem too much like doom and gloom; uni life is far from it. With this new freedom, you also need to take into account that you will probably never again have the amount of free time available that you have at this moment. Try new things, see what your boundaries are, and practise what you can.
As this is such a great time to investigate what sort of hobbies you might be interested in as an adult, you should try to keep an open mind. Many universities have half-days so that those interested in sports have time to get in a bit of practice and play. If you aren’t a fan of the more traditional offerings, you shouldn’t ignore the physical and mental health benefits of getting involved in some type of sport or hobby. Your involvement here can be as hands-on as you like. Those who want to watch a local football match can simply check online and plan your day around it. The same can be said for any amount of activities; if you’re at the University of Gloucestershire, you could check the Cheltenham 2018 betting odds before spending a day at the track, or you could use the time to track down some local pool halls or gaming hubs. Get some time in, see what tickles your fancy, and use that as a launching pad for other potential areas of interest. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
Walk before you run
Throwing somebody in the deep end can work, but it also opens the potential for massive mistakes. This sounds banal, but this really is a period where you learn who you will be as an adult. Your upbringing has shaped you, but now you get to form yourself, and for some, it is easier than others. Some people will glide, while others will have to drag themselves forward at every step. Start off slow, learn what you can do and what you can’t, where you can push yourself and where you need work. Remember that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and proper preparation is key.