10 things I wish I'd known when I started uni

 We asked our students what they wished they'd known when they started uni - and here's what they said...

Published: 23/06/2020 16:06
Last updated: 23/06/2020 17:00

​​​​​​Starting uni soon? There's nothing like the wisdom of the people (or students!) who have been there and done it - so we asked our students to tell us what they wished they'd known when they started uni, and here's just a few of the things they had to say:

​ 1. “I wish I was more involved in induction week.” 

This week is a dedicated time created for you to allow you to get settled, to explore Gloucestershire and your campus, meet fellow students and academics and get a sense of the University life that awaits you. Here are some top tips to help you prepare yourself for induction and freshers’ week: 
  • Get familiar with UoG by looking through the welcome emails sent to you. You should be able to find your timetable online and see what other information is already available. 
  • Follow our university’s various social media channels for the latest information and advice before and throughout your first year. 
  • When you move in, get unpacked early – you’ll be busy in the days that follow, so it’s a good idea to make your place as comfortable as possible from the get-go. 
  • Go to the freshers fair – this is your chance to have a look at what societies are on offer. 

2. “I wish I’d known that being independent is more than just cooking for yourself.”

You will be a completely different person by the time your time at university has ended – more confident, courageous and independent. You’ll learn loads along the way, but it’s worth trying out a few things in the summer before you start uni: find out which laundry products you need to use and which wash settings are best for your clothes, try cooking a couple of your favourite (simple!) meals, and try writing a budget so you know how much money you’ll have to spend. 

3. “I wish I had travelled more around the local area.”

Travelling around Gloucestershire is super easy: there are buses that can take you all around. With your University of Gloucestershire student card, you can catch the bus anywhere for only £1.60. Some beautiful scenic places you can go to are:
 There is nothing better than heading out to the Forest of Dean and trying wild swimming, or setting up your BBQ with good friends, a view and some music! 

 4. “I wish I'd believed I would make friends for life - my uni friends are closer than anyone else.”

78% of our UoG students said that making friends was rarely a problem after induction week. If you are struggling and haven’t found your feet, get yourself to the Helpzone for support and advice. Don’t stress as thousands of others who are starting Uni are all in the same boat and eager to make friends! Loads of our students tell us that the mates they made at uni stayed with them for years after they graduated. 

5. “I wish I had participated more in the group chats before uni started.”

Before starting in September, join the Facebook group for your accommodation​ so you can get to know people in your flat and floor. Look out for your course on social media too (many have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages) so you can start making course friends. You can also look at our SU Facebook page for Freshers as it has lots of great advice and key dates to remember. Now imagine it’s moving in day: you already know your next-door neighbour, their name, where they’re from and more. 

6. “I wish I'd listened to my body during freshers and taken a few nights off!”

Think you’re good at listening to your body? It’s hard when the temptation of nights out and social events is coaxing you out of your room! In truth, not everyone does the full fresher’s week as it can be so exhausting. If you feel like you need a night off to rest, binge Netflix and eat then go for it! You may get FOMO (or JOMO?!), but you’ll feel more energetic and readier for the next big social. 

7. “I wish I joined more societies.”

Societies allow you to continue a passion that you enjoyed at home, as well as give you the chance to try something you’ve never tried before! Moreover, it’s a great way to make friends outside of your flatmates and course friends. We have over 150 societies celebrating anything and everything: Game of Thrones, Book Club, Hockey, American Football, TV, Harry Potter, Board Games and more – you’re bound to find something you like! 

8. “I wish I’d done my assignments in advance rather than the day before the deadline.”

It’s hard to manage your studies along-side your social life at University, but you have to stay motivated and remember you’re there to get a degree. Stay focused, do your work and then you can relax and party! Leaving your assignments to the night before leaves you feeling sleep deprived and unable to focus. Here are some steps for you to follow to avoid leaving assignments to the last minute: 
  • Break it down – To avoid seeing your big assignment as an impossible task, break it down into nice bite sized pieces and work through it at your own pace – giving yourself breaks between each section. Yes, you’ve earned that pizza break
  • Don’t wait for motivation – Don’t fall into the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ habit! Start that tiny bit of work, and just starting will help kick start your motivation. You’ll find yourself getting it all done before you know it. 
  • Motivate each other – Study buddies are a great thing, you can encourage each other to study, talk through any challenges you’re having, and share resources such as text books. 
  • Reward yourself for getting it done early - It doesn’t have to be anything big, but even going out with your mates if you finish an assignment by Thursday instead of the Monday it’s due can push you to get it done. 

9. “Make a routine!”

You’re suddenly at university and have got all this free time you have never had before. What will you do with it?! If you’re not careful, days can fly by so it can be really useful to keep structure to your day. The days you don’t have lectures, try bringing some normality into your life such as: 
  • setting your morning alarm 
  • going for an morning run, dance around the kitchen or gym session 
  • cook yourself lunch and dinner 
  • facetime your friends and family back home 

10. “I wish I had done more work over summer to have more savings or get a job during uni.”

It’s always nice to know you have a bit extra cash saved for university, rather just relying solely on your student loan. Some people can make their student loan stretch until the end of the term however, for those who find it hard to scrimp and save, it’s nice to have the money you saved working during the summer! A lot of students get jobs whilst at University too, like working in a shop, bar or restaurant, or even becoming a University of Gloucestershire Student Ambassador. If you need advice about getting a job at university, our Future Plan team are always there with tips and advice.