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10 sound bits of advice from real uni graduates

I went to uni not having thought to ask anyone if there was anything I should know about becoming a student. Looking back, I wish I had asked, because I learned the hard way: all by myself. If you don’t want to be in the same boat, read on!

Make a budget and stick to it so you don’t run out of money. Don’t be more concerned about your social life than you are about uni work – the clubs will always be there. Also, get one of those wall chart calendars so you always know when your deadlines are and can plan stuff around them.” – Rachel O’Reilly, Photography

Don’t let the fear of failure (or being perceived as a failure by others) stop you from reaching your aspirations. Also, make use of the social facilities, like societies and clubs – the connections you make may well be beneficial to you later in life.” – Chris Allen, Forensic Computing

Never underestimate your strength and always believe in yourself; always remain true to yourself and your morals even if you lose your way once or twice. It’s okay to be scared of losing people, but remember it’s all part of your journey and personal growth. Be sure you’re in uni for right reasons – for yourself, rather than other people. It’s important to remember those who loved you before uni became part of your life – they’re the ones who will be there on the bad days – and it’s okay to feel homesick sometimes. You’re not alone. Most importantly, never be ashamed or scared to ask for help. The most important person you need to think of is yourself.” – Kirsty O’Neill, Psychology

Take all of the extracurricular opportunities available to you because it’ll look amazing on your CV. Expect to never stop learning, even after you’ve graduated, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!” – Nicola Vaughan, Media Production

Arrange to cook meals with your housemates to save money, and freeze anything you don’t eat (within reason!). When you go shopping, buy reduced bread and freeze it so it lasts longer. Make a cleaning rota and stick to it – you might be neat, but your housemates might not. And finally, make friends with someone your size so you can borrow clothes, and be prepared to lend your own ;).” Melissa Aucott, English

Remember that you’re young, and don’t take life too seriously – don’t obsess over anything that isn’t going to matter in a few weeks. But also, don’t waste your days off lying in bed. Get a part time job.” Claire Tucker – Youth and Community Development

Don’t hide. If you’ve felt different at any point in your life, or like you couldn’t be honest with yourself or the people around you, uni is the place to do it.” Dan Eyre, Marketing

Don’t blow all of your student loan at once. It only comes in every few months – that’s rarer than any wage packet, so make sure you’re smart with it!” Dean Betts, Media and Communications

Don’t be cliquey. This is nothing like school, so make friends with everyone you meet. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and universities house literally thousands of different people from all backgrounds, cultures, traditions, religions and races. Speak to them all. Learning isn’t just about sitting in lectures and taking notes :).” Anon, History

It sounds a bit cliché, but if you have a dream, you need to follow it. During uni you’ll come to realise that everyone in the world, no matter who we are or where we’re from, is human. No opportunity or dream is too big for us to take on. If you want to write, sing, dance or act, don’t tell yourself that it’s too hard, that these things just don’t happen to people like you, or that it’s unreachable in any way. Just go for it. Enhance your skills, persevere, have a voice, have the determination to succeed, and you’ll get to where you need to be in the end. Don’t give up!” Karis Gouldbourne, English

If you want to add your own bits of advice, just write it in the comments and we’ll add it in!

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