I left it a 'bit late' till I realised that University was the only viable option left for me to spend my afternoons in bed and my early hours watching films I'd seen before and eating Rocky Road bites, but nevertheless, I'm here now and going into my second year at 23.
My cousin on the other-hand is a little more focused, a little less partial to Rocky Road, and is starting as a Fresher in the week to come, at the less creepy age of 18/19; And so to wish him well, and the rest of you, I wrote a few pieces of advice that I learned over my first year:
You should pay the same for wine as you do for milk. It will keep for longer, will be more of a comfort to you, has fruit in it, can be drank warm if needs be, and should under no circumstances, ever, be drank from stemware.
Mugs are your friends.
Every shop you do, buy yourself some own brand noodles. Even if they begin to stockpile and you worry that your flatmates will begin to think you're a bit odd or preparing for a nuclear holocaust; Keep it up. Noodles are actually a tradable commodity in student halls.
Have a Berocca a day.
If there's one thing that can be said for Nigel Farage, it's that he always buys his round. Always buy your round. Even if you won't have any money till Friday and today is Tuesday. People won't let you go hungry if you've bought them a drink, and you have your noodles to fall back on.
Never take any advice that sounds like it should be written on a T-shirt or a mug. Ever.
Nobody ever made any friends by staying in bed and in their pyjamas all the live-long-day (But they did make friends by having the snazziest pyjamas...think Snakes and Ladders, or Rockets).
Do your work the week it is set. This is the old-chestnut that you'll definitely ignore, because you're stupid - but it's also the chestnut that means you get to sleep, or go out, the night before deadlines. (That said, you'll learn that the only people who actually do this are not worth knowing, and all the people you could go out and drink with, with your well-managed free time, are actually too busy doing the work they forgot to do - so maybe it's not worth it).
Never use the words 'slut' or 'slag', even in jest. Just do not. It's unpleasant and unattractive (even if you spot a real tart).
Own at least one <£10 hoody that you're prepared to replace on a by-monthly basis, when you inevitably leave it behind someone's sofa or around someone's shoulders.
Never submit anything, ANYTHING, that has been written in Comic Sans MS. It is the font of a cunt.
Keep your key in your wallet.
Buy a new wallet.
After your first class/induction, a group of strangers who, bare in mind, are all strangers to each other, will go off and smoke, and ask to borrow lighters or Rizlas and talk and get to know each other - go with them. These people are now your friends...but under no circumstances should you introduce yourself with that line. The alternative is to go back to your flat, alone, and read the leaflet you've been given about making friends and the most of university life (bin that).
Always punch first. Unless you can run first, then do that.
Use Quorn instead of mincemeat. It's much healthier, much cheaper, and nobody will steal something that looks like a tray of soil from your fridge.
Wash up between 3/5 things a day, even if they aren't yours - and then when there's an inevitable mound of the stuff, you can pass it for days without a shred of guilt and use expressions like 'it's no skin off my nose'.
Plastic cups don't need to be washed, can be used as ashtrays, can be dropped, and can actually be washed if all your other glasses have been used as ashtrays or dropped. (Wetherspoons is a cheap place to pick up glasses, if you're a sly bastard - and you are).
Get a taxi driver's card/number. They won't begrudge you a McDonalds detour, can often remember your address, even if you can't, and are happy for you to round down the price.
Always tip, particularly in the SU/bars you'll frequent. If someone takes more than 50pence (the piss), never tip them ever again.
Your phone doesn't need to leave your pocket in class. There are people there for you to talk to, argue with, flirt with, and learn from.
Never try to play Deal Or No Deal on an itBox, with an aim to make money. You won't ever beat Noel Edmonds and that's no way to live.
On Wednesdays, we wear pink.
If staying till morning is an option, stay till the morning.
Get a £20 subscription to The Times student package ASAP. Check the headlines before you get out of bed every day, even if you're late. You can't head out of the door not knowing that we're actually at war now, or that a much-loved celebrity (that you actually really fucking hated anyway) has died or committed grievous sex offences.
Get a jar for your change - this will come in handy whenever you need to go to the laundrette or if/when a flatmate offers to get you something from the shop, you can give them roughly the correct change, so they don't steal yours.
If you're paying £9,000 a year for an education and you forget to bring a pen, you're a dickhead.
If you don't buy a Macbook or an Xbox or a Mulberry bag (or a £700 navy Burberry peacoat with little anchors on the buttons) then you can afford to go on holiday or do a festival or just generally 'live' over the summer.
Always text your parents back within 15minutes, or you never will.
Have the brightest future you can;