A new term has begun. Your New Year’s resolutions may have started to fall by the wayside by this point in the semester. But it’s never too late to start new habits to improve your academic career.
Ideally, you’re starting out your uni experience and looking for some tips on how to do things right. Kudos to you, you are starting off on the right foot. If you are a little late to the party, no worries. We’ve got some love for you too.
How do I make the most out of university life?
Learn how to budget.
You may not want to hear this but… prepare to be broke while you are at University(like all the time). But there is good news. By creating a budget for yourself, you avoid being negative in your bank account.
Try putting your “drinking” money on a separate prepaid card. Use your debit card for your actual bills that never change and have to get paid. This will help you stay on track with your spending. When your card is empty, it’s time to enjoy the free activities offered in the city square.
Know when to call it a night.
You work hard during the week. We get it. You deserve to blow off some steam. It’s easy to let a few drinks turn into a few too many. Consider bringing cash. Take out as much money as you are ok with spending. When the money runs out, you know it’s time to go home.
Peer pressure can get the best of us. Fear of missing out or who made a fool of themselves. Don’t worry about that. You will not miss out – no matter how much it feels like you will at that moment.
Start a meal plan.
Develop a loose meal plan to help you stick to a budget. You’ve likely shopped with your eyes in the past because when you didn’t have a plan. Try planning a few meals a week with large enough portions to last for 2 or 3 meals.
Think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget about snacks and even more important – emergency hangover supplies. This may sound like your mom talking, but take it from experienced Uni students, you need a plan.
Avoid getting stumped during seminars.
Try speed reading to get a few main points really quick. You should know 3 secrets to get around a question you don’t actually have the answer to. Avoid eye contact, get involved in group participation, and speak up as early as you can. Get involved in your notes so it looks like you are being studious.
Pay attention to what others in your group may be saying. When class is open to discussion, piggyback off of other students’ comments. Use their ideas to form your own contributions to the lecture. Staying quiet for too long sets you up for the hard questions later. You may not know the answer because you fell asleep while doing the reading. It’s ok, it happens to the best of us.
Control your bladder.
This wouldn’t seem like an issue – until it is. Lectures can run long. When you are running from one side of campus to the other and staying hydrated, you have to use the loo at some point.
Try fitting in breaks before every class and lecture. Or consider leaving your flat 5 minutes early. Otherwise, you have to make a quick exit in front of a packed-out lecture hall. Not ideal when you don’t want all eyes on you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
So simple but so impactful. Asking for assistance with your workload and financial help. Learning to ask for help and accept it is a life skill you will be glad you developed. If you are struggling with keeping up with lectures, assignments, and projects – speak up. It will not improve if you don’t get help.
Asking your parents for money is probably not a part of your University plan. Based on your parents’ income, the government expects your parents to help you with the moolah. Did you get approved for a small amount on your Maintenance loan? The reason is the government has factored your parents into the equation. It doesn’t mean you failed. It means things are working the way they should.
Learn basic cooking skills.
It’s fun to get a takeaway and sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s surprising how easy many restaurant dishes can be to make at home. Learning a few basics and creating simple meals will save you a nice chunk of change.
Microwave meals usually taste like what they are – reheated frozen food. (No thanks!) Ordering food can add up fast. It’s 100% possible to create meals that taste great. Check out Youtube or Pinterest for some beginner recipes. You will be a pro in no time.
Always use your student discount.
You will not always get a discount simply because you don’t have a lot of money. So take advantage of it while you can. Feel free to ask locals or other students where all the deals are. There are many free events to enjoy as well.
Many bars and nightclubs have student specials. Some have daily or weekly student activities at a discount. Pretty soon, you will know where the hot spots are and you will be showing everyone where they can save a buck.
Don’t be afraid of adulting.
Keeping your flat clean, learning to do laundry, getting along with difficult housemates. These are things we wish we could not do and say we did. But don’t shy away from them. Learn how to go with it and get it done.
Try to make it as enjoyable as you can. Put on some music and clean together with your roomie. This cuts down on arguing about who does what chore and you get cleaning done in half the time. But do your own laundry, that’s not part of the shared chores.
Get good grades and have fun.
You can do both! Fear of having to do one or the other happens with many University students. With a little balance and planning, you can do it. Be realistic about what you can actually get done in a day versus what needs to get done.
It’s important to do well during your time at Uni. You also need some time to relax. Take a minute to enjoy your University experience. Celebrate your accomplishments. Even the small things are something to be proud of.
It’s not complicated. Sometimes you have to get a little creative when you learn to navigate University.
It’s not as scary or intimidating as it may seem. Give it some time. You will come to love your new school and all the independence that come with it.
You’ve got this!