Ten things you should know about your first year at University:

August always seems to be a really poignant month. It's the last month of summer (um, not technically but shut up) and I suppose that feeling will be installed into a lot of us for the rest of our lives. Thinking about it, the back to school adverts make me feel a bit sick, actually.

I'm also well aware that a few of you are going to University for the first time this year. So I've compiled, more for my own amusement then anything useful for you- a list of things they wont tell you before you go to University but um, I will.

1. Living in university halls is not dissimilar to living in the Big Brother house, except, you have locks on your doors. However, University halls are usually put together in the cheapest fashion possible, so you better be ready to be able to hear someone who is two floors below you. At 5am. Singing Elvis. Depending on how well you get to know your flatmates, this can become hilarious. If my next door neighbor wasn't in his room- I could generally figure out his location depending on where THIS PARTICULAR SONG was coming from anywhere in the block. No, I'm not even kidding.

2. Laundry isn't a chore- it's absolute fucking warfare. I've never, ever seen this mentioned on any 'prepare for university' articles across the interweb so I feel like I need to share this before you get there. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT LEAVE YOUR LAUNDRY UNATTENDED. If you leave your laundry unattended YOU WILL DIE. Well, not actual death- but death from shame is entirely possible. There are only a certain amount of laundry machines in the launderette and there is a prime time for doing your washing. Figure this out, fast. People are ruthless in that place. You could bagsy a washing machine and have it robbed the second the other persons clothes are out of it (I should know, I was the one robbing it) but even worse then that? Some people wouldn't even wait for the laundry to finish- they'd just take it out and leave it on the floor. I don't know how many times I went in and there were knickers littering the floor. If you've got to use a launderette in halls, bring a fucking magazine and WATCH YOUR SHIT.

3. If you don't go to your lectures- you'll still be able to pull it off if you're clever enough- but you'll really fucking regret it. The day before the exam, you will sit there, calling yourself every name under the sun. It seemed like such a good idea at the time didn't it? And then, the vapid consequences of potential failure dawn. What if I've missed something HUGE? How am I going to tell my parents? Every one is going to think I'm a failure- etc. The night before my English exam, I basically learnt everything there and then in the one night. You spend so much of the year doing coursework- when it gets to the exam term, you've kind of ran out of steam... And then you realise the year is coming to an end... And then you just want to enjoy it. Trust me, there is enough time to do both. Don't find yourself crying into two empty bottles of boost while on the phone to your mum at 6am on exam day after no sleep (like I did).


4. Home sickness will become more real then you ever thought possible. I consider myself an extremely sociable person and I was a complete stray cat for most of my teenage life. I never had a sense of 'home' until I really left. It gets us all at some point. The first week of University, I admit I was having a shit-load of fun but I genuinely don't believe I've ever felt so alone in my entire life. On that same note- the people that you think didn't like you in the first month- over time can become your best friends. And the people you thought were going to be your housemates the next year? Can become strangers. Keep an open mind and never judge a book by it's cover. Trust me, you'll be surprised. 

5. As tempting as it is- don't trash anything. It all seems like fun and games when you're all drunk but when it comes to leaving and only getting £8 out of a £150 deposit back- you'll weep. You'll actually weep.

6. You suddenly learn the value of money- and completely LOSE the value of money. You suddenly realise how important money is to just surviving and getting around and happiness to a certain extent. Then suddenly, you've got a thousand pounds in your bank account and you're suddenly buying everybody shots on your bank card. Suddenly. Again. If you have any sense at all- you'll put it into a savings account and pay yourself a wage.


7. They say that no one is going to chase you for your work when you get to University. They're not lying. They're really, not lying. They couldn't care less. More often then not, I found myself fighting to get my work in. They left a box- if it wasn't in that box by 4pm, you had an argument with the administration staff on your hands. Considering I'd usually wake up at 3pm, this was an issue. I pulled some serious stunts- I'd print off five copies and shove it under every tutors door, just to make sure someone marked the fucker. I even made a taxi drivers speed.

8. Unless you're going to do Carnage or Student fest properly- don't bother buying a t-shirt. If you are going to do it properly- go right ahead. You'll have the time of your life. But if you're a half arsed team mate and you're not in the mood to throw up, just don't waste £10 on it. The bars are usually free to get into anyway. Not to mention, because everybody is wearing the same t-shirt- it can get seriously confusing. I tend to avoid Student Fests and Carnages altogether because it's not really my calibre.

9. It seems ludicrous, that people start hunting for houses in January- and actually, I think it is a little bit- but don't leave it til the last minute either. At one point in my house hunting career I was living in four different houses at once and a flat just because I couldn't say no. Figure out what is sensible and how you would like to live and be direct about it. Otherwise you'll end up with too many potential houses or none at all. House week is awful, it reminds me of teachers making kids pick partners to be with and there are always a few stragglers that are left out. Horrid.

10. If you want to come back, pass your year and carry on- don't even think of giving up at the last minute. It doesn't matter how much you think you're going to fail- and you might not think it's possible to cram an entire academic year into your head in one night- but with the right amount of caffeine, volition and pure, God-striking fear- it is possible. There are other people that have to spend a few hours every night weeks before their exam, training their brain- but from serious experience- I have started learning at 1am- slept at 5am and came out with one mark off a first. Caffeine and fear. That's all you need.

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