I’m not sure how qualified I am to write this article. As a person who perpetually runs home to their mum in the face of the tiniest adversity, I’m not entirely certain I’ve earned the status of ‘adult’ yet. But, I live to tell the tale of a turbulent first year, with only one burnt out wok and one washing-related fiasco (R.I.P. favourite shirt) to my name. Surely that counts for something? Here are some things I wish I’d known, or rather listened to, before I arrived at university.
As tempting as ringing for a takeaway is, your health and your bank account won’t thank you for it
1.) Batch cook your meals at the start of the week:
When you move away to university, not only are you faced with the task of dealing with a heightened work load, maintaining a busy social life and dealing with the emotional effects of moving away, you’re also tasked with the small feat of keeping yourself alive. Part of this is cooking for yourself. Whilst this may seem exciting at first, it will get boring and you will get lazy. As tempting as ringing for a takeaway is, your health and your bank account won’t thank you for it. If you make a healthy meal in bulk on the Sunday (think chilli or bolognaise), then section it into portions and freeze it, all you’ll have to do as the week goes on is stick one in the microwave for a few minutes et voila! It’ll impress your flatmates much more than a plate of chicken nuggets and chips.
2.) Have a medicine box:
I’m pretty sure every university advice article I read told you to do this, but did I listen? This is the part where I thank my lovely flatmates for rushing to the campus shop to ensure I was armed with as many packets of ‘Soothers’ (other brands are available) that they could get their hands on. It’s inevitable that, mixing with so many different people, you’re going to get ill at university and once I came to terms with the fact that no, I was not invincible, I got my act together and made sure I was stocked up on paracetamol, ibuprofen, cough medicine, Olbas Oil etc. You name it, I had it. By the time my third bout of Freshers’ Flu hit, it was no match for me.
Part of being an adult is understanding your own boundaries
3.) Take it slow:
Don’t feel compelled to go out every night purely because you’re a student now and that’s what the expectation seems to be. Think about it – in what other context would going out drinking 3+ nights a week be considered ‘normal’? Whilst you may become accustomed to this lifestyle by the end of the year (not that you need to be), at the beginning it’s bound to take its toll both physically and emotionally. Part of being an adult is understanding your own boundaries and realising who you are and being accepting of that. There will be plenty of time and opportunity to go out throughout the year so if you fancy a movie night in your PJs, do it! I did. Student life doesn’t need to be a constant period of hedonism, where you’re happy and doing exciting things 24/7. Make student life what YOU want it to be and remain true to yourself.