What I Wish I’d Known Before Coming to University: A First Year’s Perspective

Current 1st year Biosciences student Oliver Davis reflects on his experience so far at University.

When I started at John’s back in September, I had no idea what to expect. Nobody in my family had been to university for over twenty years and a number of my older friends had taken gap years or gone straight into work; nobody could share their pearls of university wisdom with me. Despite that, in my short time here I have compiled an extensive list of things I wish I had known, and I will share a few of these here.

Oliver at his Matriculation ceremony in Welcome week.

1. Your student loan is not free money.

At the beginning of my first term, when I saw the student loan appear in my recently opened student bank account I was overjoyed! I was looking at expensive clothes, eating out, and buying endless rounds in Jimmy’s. Until suddenly, I had to pay my college accommodation fees and then I definitely felt the pinch! Budgeting came into full effect, and I realised that the student loan is for living, not for pleasure. I am now four weeks into Epiphany term, though, and I still haven’t learned my lesson!

2. Freshers flu does exist and will floor you.

All through our first week at university, I saw my friends dropping like flies with the cursed freshers flu but miraculously, I stayed well. That was until I woke up on Wednesday the following week and felt like I had been hit by a bus! I vaguely remember crawling out of my bed to get my cold and flu tablets and then crawling back into bed feeling very sorry for myself. I still do not think I have fully recovered!

3. Sleep does not exist and plans just happen.

I knew sleep was going to be in short supply when I started university, but I did not realise just how little I would get! Going out or chatting with friends until the early hours does become a regular occurrence, as does missing your 9am the next morning! Also, some of my favourite times here so far have been entirely spontaneous or have had very little planning. My new motto is to just go with it and see what happens! Everyone is in the same boat and is looking to make new friends, so just let it happen.

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