Do you really need that Topshop dress this week?
In the words of Marina and the diamonds, "I guess you could say that my life is a mess, but I'm still looking pretty in this dress." I have lived my university life similar, or so I liked to think so. I thought it was somewhat funny to not afford food for the week's meals but still manage to wear a new playsuit to lectures. When I think of the money I had throughout university, sure enough, I have saved jack all. Apart from a bit of a throwaway wardrobe, I don't have much to show for what I've actually spent my loans on. If I'd do it again, I would start first year with a clear head of a shopping fund, a social fund and then definitely save a little for a 'serious fund', whether it's money for a holiday or money for a good investment, I'd make it count so I could really enjoy my money without all the unnecessary, indulgent, impulsive buying.
Prepare to be friends with people you wouldn't expect to be friends with.
Before I started university, I was painfully selective with the people I wanted to be friends with. They had to listen to a certain type of music, dress a certain way, act a certain way, and anyone who looked remotely chavy or if anyone had backcombed their hair, I wanted nothing to do with them (how very high-school Mean Girls of me) but thank goodness university snapped me right out of that. I have a brilliant bunch of friends at university, who are all very different and amazing. Whether my flat mate is asking me who Bob Marley is or whether my course mate doesn't quite understand my humour, university is about getting to know different personalities and hanging out with people you wouldn't normally and it's is definitely a blessing.
Don't take first year too seriously
I wanted to be the best magazine journalist/writer, so much so, that I took way too much on. I applied for hundreds of internships, signed up to write for numerous websites and began to organise a portfolio of journalistic work. But in the midst of it all, I should have relaxed more and took pleasure in the little things, whether it was a simple drink with friends or going for lunch after lectures, I should have soaked up the university experience in its entirety and not took myself as seriously as I did in first year. Yes, learn stuff in first year and get to know your course well (as you're sure as hell paying enough for it) but remember not to get too stressed over thinking about the future.
Don't waste time (well at least not too much)
I once heard the saying, 'Time enjoyed, isn't time wasted'. Whilst this is a pretty philosophy, it doesn't hold much substance and I want to say, what a lot of crap.
I enjoyed my many glasses of wine and I certainly enjoyed my time skipping a lecture or two, to go on a cheeky date with the man of the moment, but really?
I think there was maybe a little too much time wasted on people, that didn't matter and on nights out, drinking just for the sake of it. Pick and choose the right people to spend your time with and prioritise well- you may not have this much free time again for a very long time. University flies by and yet, there's lot of free time within this period, so make sure you invest in the right things and spend your time wisely because when I look back, as much as an One Tree Hill week marathon seemed like a good idea, I probably could have just had an evening box set marathon.
Don't use as much social media
Oh sorry Mr. Lecturer, I didn't write the 2000 word essay, but I can tell you all about my Facebook newsfeed? As tempting as it is to procrastinate and use social media as a brilliant distraction from doing work, try and go without it for short times. I think of all the long library sessions tearing out my hair at 3am, eating junk food trying to get work finished and then I think about the hours I spent on Twitter and Facebook and just how much I could have got done without the social media intervals. I dread to think of all the hours calculated up, over the duration of university on social networking sites, and I'm pretty sure without going on them every time I did a piece of work, I would have definitely handed in stronger assignments.