A woman cooking in a kitchen

Things I’d tell my first year self

Making the transition from college to university was difficult for me, especially with moving far away from home. Even though I dealt well with the change, looking back I see a few things I could have have told myself about.

Going Out

I had a horrible habit of staying inside my own little bubble and just watching TV in bed. If I could tell my past self what to do, it would be to get up and get out!

Enjoy first year while you can. Towards the end of the year when I started going out and getting involved more, I had a fantastic time and made some unforgettable memories.

I know that now, as second year dawns upon me, I’ll have less opportunities to go out and have fun. I worked a lot in first year, instead of embracing all the experience uni has to offer and finding the right balance of meeting new people with my studies. To all the new freshers, make sure you find that balance, instead of watching the entirety of Netflix (or Disney+).

Studying

Everyone will tell you that ‘first year doesn’t count’, and let me tell you now I completely ignored that.

I thought that getting a first would be super important and that it was something I had to do. I can’t even begin to tell you how much unnecessary stress I caused myself by working twice as hard as I needed to.

Now I’m not telling you to scrape by in first year, because that will not set you in the right position for second year. What I am saying is if I could tell my first year self anything, it would be to slow down!

I made easy tasks hard, and hard tasks impossible. I really put a strain on myself to get things done to the highest standard, and while doing your best that should always be a factor during your first year, it’s not as important as I thought it was.

Don’t stress yourself out.

It’s completely unreasonable to be working yourself to the bone and potentially burning out over one year in your degree – there’s still two more to go!

Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t be thinking that the work will do itself, because you do still need to work hard, if not from what I’ve heard, second year will slap you right in the face.

Do your best. Still work hard, but don’t be panicking because other things are important too. It’s not the most important, your mental health is. Keep that in mind!

Eating

Oh my goodness. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT get takeaways frequently.

It is absolutely awful for your health, and I’m not talking about physical – because I’m really not one to speak for physical health! Your mind is really affected by what you eat. If you consume loads of vitamins and fruit, a healthy balanced diet and drink lots of water, I’m sure you will feel amazing.

You’ll feel alert, ready to start the day, and generally more active. That’s incredibly important, especially for students who do lots of movement.

If you eat rubbish, you’ll feel rubbish. I know from experience that you’ll feel sleepy, sluggish and unable to catch up with your day. It doesn’t give you the right mindset to work, and if you’re doing it because you need a quick meal, save your money and meal prep in advance.

Meal prepping is infinitely healthier and probably much tastier. It’s okay to have a takeaway every now and again but think of it as a reward for achieving something you really worked hard for.

Bonus

Its also important to remember if you have a part-time job during the term, allow yourself some time in between classes and shifts. Don’t rush from one to the other, make sure you eat and settle before you go to work.

Also, be sure to give yourself a day off, to stay on top of things, and make sure you prioritise yourself and your wellbeing.

That’s the most important thing I wish I told my first-year self.