First year university: Make sure you’re on track

So you’ve nearly finished your first term at university, and starting to wind down with some Christmas parties before going home for some time with your family. Now is a good time to take stock of how your time at university is going, and to look out for what you need to improve upon in the new year.

Here’s a few things to look out for:

1. Did You Take On Too Much?

Believe it or not, universities actually expect you to do work, even in your first year. You’ll need to attend around 20 hours of lectures per week, then there is the associated coursework and revision, and you may also need to go to evening seminars or training events necessary to your course. It might be worth having a rethink about all those extracurricular clubs and groups if you’re struggling to fit it all in.

2. You Need to Sleep

After the first-term of freshers’ year, take some time out over Christmas to get some sleep. Partying all night long is awesome, but you also need some downtime, and a break over Christmas (and before new year’s shenanigans) is perfect.

As you move towards exams at the end of your first year, it might be worth getting into a regular sleeping pattern as well, so that your brain is firing on all cylinders for that 9am exam, even if you haven;t had to get up until 1pm all year. And dig out that alarm clock to be sure not to miss it!

3. Be Savvy With Your Spending

You may have felt like you had lots of cash at the beginning of the year with a large student loan, but after a couple of months of heavy partying, your bank account may be starting to look a little depleted.

Make sure you look out for the pre-Christmas sales that have become very common around the country for buying your Christmas presents. And then next year why not look into buying your text books second hand?

4. Is Your Internet Connection Up To Scratch?

Although there is Wi-Fi in the university itself, you’ll have found that at certain times of day that starts to crawl with thousands of students using it at the same time. So it’s always important to make sure that you have a fast, reliable connection at home both for catching up on lecture vidcasts and podcasts, but also for streaming NetFlix and BBc iPlayer. If everyone is wanting to watch their own content, then it might be worth considering upgrading your package to something faster – compare broadband packages to find one that is not only good value, but also has adequate download limits, a good speed and real reliability if you want to ensure you can always count on the connection when you need it.

5. Don’t Wait Until Things Get Bad to Ask for Help

Whether it’s the content of your lectures, the balance of your bank account or something relating to relationships or health, don’t leave things until they get really bad before you seek out support. Universities are full of supportive people who are experts in what they do, so speak up as soon as you feel something is getting out of control and get something done about it.

After you’ve made sense of how you are progressing, then it’s time for some Christmas celebrations!

[Photograph by Wesley Nitsckie]

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