Tips for starting university

Do your reading

Learning at university is way more independent than in college/sixth form. You have signed up for the degree and have therefore committed to managing your own workload throughout your three years at university.

This may suit those with different learning styles as it’s less regimented than school and nobody is going to check whether you have done the reading, but it may be fairly apparent during a two hour seminar if you have nothing to say.

So my advice is to occasionally check those further reading lists and get ahead on the topics you enjoy early otherwise when the deadlines start piling up, you will wish you’d done the extra reading to help you get the higher grade.

Check out the study support  on offer to help you through university life.

Get organised

The word independence pretty much covers all aspects of uni life. Whether you’re already quite mature and independent or have no idea how to start a washing machine, university definitely forces you to take some responsibility as you go into adulthood.

This may seem daunting but its ultimately really good for propelling you into working life-  but don’t worry you have three years to grasp it.

Budget for Fresher’s, don’t get carried away with the fancy dress and offers, because after Fresher’s Week you’ll find many more excuses to go out the following weeks. Don’t forget your student loan needs to last a whole term! Check out our budgeting tips. 

Also, depending on your course, you may have to buy a few expensive books but before you get onto Amazon check out the university library (I made the mistake of buying the entire reading list when half of the books were available in the library…annoying). And Amazon Prime is half price for students!

Stay healthy

Initially it seems great waking up whenever you want and having whatever you want for dinner, and really it is I mean who complains about freedom? However health is always forgotten and let’s be honest, eating well is at the back of your mind during fresher’s however fresher’s flu is no myth, and once you get ill at some point you’ll be sick of pizzas and pot noodles and all you’ll want is your mum’s famous stew.

So, if cooking is totally unfamiliar to you, before heading to university ask your parents for some tips, check out a few simple recipes and learn off your housemates because you may as well build your immune system up, until exam time comes and you’re sitting in the library with a family size bar of chocolate for dinner.

Check out the University’s wellbeing services and advice.

Utilise your time

When you start university the first term is all about getting to grips with your course, buying books, checking out the expectations and deadlines and aside from that, going out with your flatmates (nearly every night) and embracing uni culture.

However, once you have been to every event and that initial novelty wears off or fresher’s flu attacks you, you may realise that you have a lot of free time outside of your course. Now, of course this depends on your subjects, contact hours but generally first year is the time to utilise those empty hours in the evenings with volunteering, attending extra seminars/workshops, finding a student job or joining and committing to a society.

Weekends are commonly quiet during the day and after a term of Netflix marathons, maybe it’s time you explored the opportunities Kent Union offers, check your emails and the Student Guide and discover societies’ socials or if you’re already part of one, start committing those extra hours. Not only do these things look great on your CV but you meet so many different people who share that same interest as you, and who you may not have met if you hadn’t joined!

Enjoy it

There may be a few ups and downs, moments when you are homesick, feel stressed with your work load and you just want some home cooked food. But, ultimately uni life is great and once you’re settled everything will be fine so embrace the challenges and have fun!
Written by recent Kent graduate Sophia Cheraitia.