Sometimes there’s no better way to hear it, than straight from the horse’s mouth. UnCOVered blogger Rhys is here to give us an insight into his first year at Coventry University, and the lessons he learnt outside of the classroom. Take it away Rhys…
And just like that, I had sat my last exam and my first year at Coventry University was complete. My first thought was “I made it!”. My second thought was “How?”. But at the time that didn’t matter. I had a summer to look forward to!
Looking back, there were a lot of invaluable life experiences during my first year, both good and bad. So I’ve come up with the 5 things I learnt at Coventry Uni as a fresher, check them out below.
1. People don’t bite
University is a good way to meet new people, with lots of opportunity to get out there and meet your potential future partners in crime, (not literally), as well as starting off that all important Whatsapp group chat for ‘Uni Friends’, that’ll most likely be going strong even after you finish your studies.
It’s important to be approachable at university. Let’s face it, you’re all in the same boat and around the same age group, so there’s not much that could go wrong. A bit of advice would be to bring a doorstop for your room, and introduce yourself to people walking by. Once you’re all buddies, you’re gonna want to keep your doors open sometimes, if not most of the time.
2. It’s OK to not know and to ask for help
When you get to university, you might be overwhelmed by all the different aspects of student life that you need to take on board. Whether it be my old nemesis ‘Harvard Referencing’, keeping on top of your finances, or doing everything in your power to stay calm under pressure, at CU there is plenty of support in place for students, so please don’t suffer in silence.
Lecturers will always be willing to hang behind to explain key teaching points, provide drop-in sessions during their office hours, and give coursework feedback before hand-ins. We have the Centre for Academic Writing for all your assignment needs, and the student centre with advisers on board to offer the best guidance on all aspects of student life, for anyone who requires support.
3. Going out on a school night is (almost) completely acceptable
Now obviously this doesn’t apply to the nights where you’ve got lectures starting at 9am the next morning, but this is a valuable lesson. As a student you might think that weeknights are purely for studying. And while for some people this might be the way they like to operate, (and we encourage as much study as your individual course suggests!), it’s not strictly true…
Although we always encourage balancing your time effectively, you’ll soon realise that some of the best nights out to be had are weeknights. In Coventry a lot of student nights are held during the week, with Kasbah and JJ’s (among other good student venues) offering good value for money. Before you know it, you’ll be going out on weeknights and studying hard at weekends (the opposite of now, right?). But always remember to manage your time responsibly to get the most out of your degree, and study on necessary weeknights too!
4. It is important to budget
Living alone, it’s important to understand that everything you do will have a price tag. Now I know what you’re thinking: “student loans will have me covered”. And in a sense, it may cover you with rent and stuff, but without sensible budgeting it’s easy to overspend.
It’s important to live within your means and plan how you will spend your money. Create shopping lists and don’t buy things you don’t need. At first I thought it’d all be OK as long as I didn’t look at my bank account, and I can safely say that didn’t work! There are effective ways of budgeting and saving your money. There are also plenty of part-time jobs going if you need extra financial support, which is what I ended up doing, so I’d also recommend that. Futureworks or Prospects are great sites to visit for this.
5. I made it through the year… I’m a strong independent student!
Living away from home was not as daunting as expected. In fact I’d say the newfound responsibility helps shape you as an adult! When you realise no one is there to clean up for you, or cook for you, you start to take control of your own destiny, making those so called ‘chores’ a breeze. You’ll be wondering why you moaned about it so much back home.
My love for Super Noodles (national dish of students) skyrocketed in my first year, and played a big part in my survival. I’d suggest something with a bit more nutritional value to be honest, but all in all, living alone is not half bad. And sometimes it can be a revelation!