My biggest surprise: Student writers reflect on first year

22 May 2020
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Everything’s new at university. That’s why we publish a new article on student life every weekday. It’s also why most of them are written by students - their experience is a map you can use to find your way.

We asked four of our student writers how their first year at uni matched up to expectations.

It's okay if you don't fit in straight away.

Here’s what they said.

What do you wish somebody had told you before you started university?

That it's ok if you don't enjoy freshers’ and you never become someone who enjoys going out. There are plenty of other opportunities to make friends so you don't have to force yourself to be someone that you're not.

Probably just to manage money better. When you're at home you don't have to worry about the little things such as paying to do laundry. Living away from home you have to budget those little things into your monthly expenses.

That it isn't all parties and fun and that it's okay if you don't fit in straight away.

What has been your biggest surprise since starting university (apart from coronavirus)?

Just how capable I am to live by myself. I always thought before I moved to uni that I would struggle to cook, clean, look after myself, and socialise - all on top of a degree. But I'm managing it fairly well!

How much I have enjoyed university so far. There is a lot of work involved but being able to manage that with a social life wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

Diversity is easily the biggest surprise. Not just for what's being offered on your course, but also what you have access to. The resources and facilities in buildings and the library, the vast choice of societies, the support from personal tutors and teams, everything!

What advice would you give to someone about to start university?

You're not going to be friends with everyone, and that's ok. We are suddenly exposed to so many new people, it would be impossible to be friends with them all anyway!

Get out of your comfort zone. Speak to new people, take all the opportunities given to you, and always speak out if you are struggling or something is bothering you.

When opportunities are presented to you, always take them as they will help to develop your skills and give you valuable experience to add to your CV - along with introducing you to new people, which is always a great thing.

Are you interested in writing for the Common Room?

Find out more about our Student Content Producer opportunities here.

Applications reopen in September. 

It's okay if you don't fit in straight away.
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Staff writer at The Common Room