This is a great time to go to university. As a student you’re young and open-minded, so why not get the best out of your ‘student experience’? Life is short, your time at uni is short, use this opportunity to grow as an adult while having fun! In no particular order, here are six things you can do for a great university experience.
Join a society
Joining a society is not only a great opportunity to make friends and have fun; use the facilities available to you to find a new passion, develop fresh skills or learn about different cultures.
There are plenty of different societies you can join. Ranging from educational classes such as cookery and language classes, political and community groups, sporting activities such as salsa and football and artistic societies such as music and drama. Some societies are plain bizarre, such as the Beard Society and Nicolas Cage appreciation society at the university of Sussex!
There are many benefits to joining a society. Not only will it build confidence and help you start new friendships, it will also enhance your CV. Nowadays employers are looking for well-rounded individuals with a range of soft skills. This is a great opportunity to show them that you were able to balance your university life with extracurricular activities, possess confidence in new situations and are able to organise and assist in evens.
Take a gap year
Ok, this is a bit of cheating, as you won’t be at university; however, taking a gap year will be an amazing experience, where you can build confidence and learn about another culture. University can be a stressful place and it’s always beneficial to channel the pressure into something exhilarating, challenging and different.
Jokes about the ‘finding yourself’ cliché will be made; however, educator Robin Pendoley has highlighted the benefits of taking a gap year: ‘A program that challenges students to explore areas of interest in the real world brings clarity to what needs to be learned to become an expert in those field’.
There are plenty of things you can do on your gap year: work, take on an internship, travel, volunteer or start a business!
While the student experience is important, it won’t always be enough to prepare you for the ‘real world’. Taking a gap year will help you to mature as an adult and develop those key social and professional skills for the future.
Getting to class, shopping for your flat, partying hard on Fridays, cooking and cleaning; sounds all too familiar? university is that step away from the real world, and the real world requires a lot of energy.
Joining a gym or taking up a sport can be significantly beneficial in helping you manage the physical and mental demands of university life; there are plentiful studies highlighting the impact of working out on your mood and productivity.
In fact, as the ambitious students you are, surely you wouldn’t want to miss out on the advantage of exercise on your studies? Exercise has shown to enhance thinking and memory skills.
Looking at the positive impact exercise has on your personal and academic life, it’s a must have for the average university student.
Cheap and reliable as they can be, instant ramen noodles are not the answer to your nutritional needs and neither is spending unnecessarily on fast-food.
There are many blogs and guide for students, with expert information to cool delicious and nourishing meals. Living at university will mean that you will more likely or not be operating on a budget; make use of cooking guides to spend wisely on food, expand your creativity and eat healthily – and stop yourself from being dissatisfied at the blandness of ramen.
The best part of cooking at university is that you’ll be exposed to people from different cultures, so there are plenty opportunities to learn and create new dishes!
Explore the university city
Whether you’re an international student, a local or living away from your home city, there’s always lots to explore at your university city. You’re now an adult – congrats; take advantage of your newfound adulthood to take a break from your work to be adventurous.
Whether you want to absorb the rustic charm of Keele (an instagrammer’s dream); or be positively overwhelmed by the urban backdrop of Queen Mary London, take full advantage of different student events or services existing within your uni city. After all, university is supposed to be the best time of your life, right?
Manage your finances
On a more serious note, managing your finances is an essential for university student. Budget and organise your finances to have the university experience you wanted.
Income: It’s nice to have finances sorted with a healthy income. There’s the obvious choice of government funded loans or getting financial support from parents. But there are other ways of making money; you can get a job, tutor younger students, offer yourself as a proof-reader/editor; or work with the university as a campus guide or a brand ambassador. Either way, it’s always advantageous to have a regular revenue stream.
Expenditure: This will obviously depend on your budget; thanks to the marvels of technology there are a handful of budgeting apps at your disposal, use them wisely to estimate your income, expenditures and savings and to keep a watch on your finances; there’s also the old fashioned way of documenting your finances in a diary.
Don’t miss out on the chances of saving up using student discounts; NUS extra, UniDAYS, Student bean; or buying discounted essential like food, clothes, stationary and books. This will help a great deal when factoring in your spending in your budget.
Of course, one of the biggest dent in your costs will be your rent bills; this will all dependent on your location, but it’s easy to find many advertisements of student accommodations and flat share which fit within your budget.
So, enjoy university without having to dip in your reserves or ask mum and dad for extra cash by carefully budgeting your finances.