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How To Survive University
by Olivia Rafferty and friends
So, you're going to university soon. Excited? Terrified? Confused? Apprehensive? Raring to go? You should be all of these things. Well, you don't have to be, but it's natural to feel a mixture of emotions (this should be said in an annoying guidancecounsellor-style voice). You're leaving home for the first time. Woohoo! You're all on your own. Aaah, terrifying! It's okay to be freaking out and yet totally excited at the same time, that's what it's all about. During your first year you will learn a LOT. A crazy amount of things will happen and you will grow and totally become a super awesome person! It's not going to be easy, but it sure as hell isn't going to be boring either. It's going to be lots of fun, most of the time, which is the best thing! In this little volume I have compiled some things that I have learned in my time so far at university that I wish I knew when I left home, and other stuff that I still haven't quite managed to grasp myself just yet. I've also asked my university friends to share little bits of wisdom that they're learned over their years at uni. What you've got to remember is that learning this stuff won't come immediately, it's a process. Eventually, things that seemed impossible to do will be easy breezy! You can do it! Good luck!
Introduction Why You're Actually Here Halls and Flatmates
Love and Not-So-Love
“I think I might have had less retakes if somebody had pointed out the fact that in the end you are at uni to work ...not pickle your liver.” - Josephine Jonathan
Ah yes, before we get carried away with the excitement of making friends and washing dishes, let's take a moment to remember that you're actually here to get a degree, right? University is a great chance to learn a whole bunch of new things. You will learn how to read a novel in a day, amongst other important life skills. Remember, if you work hard, all the more excuse to play hard, too...
Why You're Actually Here
What, I'm going to actually have to do work!?
Yep, them's the breaks, kiddo. University is all about learning, funnily enough, so learn, goddammit! Yeah, first and second year don't really count in the swing of things, but they're there so you can get used to the university style of work. Go to your lectures, go to your tutorials. If you're afraid of the subject, if you totally don't understand it, trust me it is much worse to avoid the class, because then you have no hopes of ever getting to grips with calculus or Chaucer or whatever it is you're trying to learn. Just go for it, don't be afraid and do try to do your reading.
Put in as much effort on coursework as humanly possible. You'll be a lot happier going into exams if you have good coursework marks and therefore only need like 15% in the exam to pass. -Ed Cooke
A good essay plan will save your butt in times of crisis
Once upon a time I left writing an essay for Philosophy until the night before it was due (this will sound familiar, no?). This was my first mistake. I had written quite a thorough essay plan for it, so I knew in which direction I was going. As I was about three quarters of the way through, my computer screen just zapped off. Kaput. No more essay. No more hard drive, as it later turned out. I was freaking out. The essay was due for 2pm the next day! What did I do? Got up at seven the next morning, into the library for half past and got on a computer. Used my thorough essay plan to help power me through writing Essay Number Two, and got it all done before my ten o'clock tutorial. Safe! That essay got 67% (it's always the way). Other lessons to be learned here are: • Save, save, save, SAVE!!! Crtl+S!!! Save things like you've NEVER SAVED BEFORE! • Save things on to different places, like USB sticks and different computers. E-mail things to yourself. A lot.
Cat gifs and videos will still be on the internet after you've completed your assignments.
Cat gifs and videos run just as well in a minimised window next to the one with your essay in it. Also, this is invaluable: writtenkitten.net -Daniel Fawcett DO NOT buy one special expensive pen for the whole year, you will lose it, or someone will borrow it and lose it. Instead buy huge bag of pens from places that sell things for cheap! Now take small batches of them and separate them into different bags, jackets, drawers, pencil cases etc. Now you will never be without a pen. -Hannah Killoh
The library is the best place to study
Sure, you may soon realise that it's super busy all the time (if it's anything like the one in Edinburgh), and probably full of really annoying human beings who like to slurp their coffee and rustle papers and chew things loudly and OH MY GOD SHUT UP but really, it's so much better than studying at home. It's mostly quiet, everyone's there to get their head down and work (although if you look around, most of them are on Facebook) and there are no distractions you'd get at home (for example, THE FRIDGE, your mortal enemy in times of revision). Here are some handy library survival tips: • Headphones! bring them with you, plug them into your computer. They are great for blocking out unnecessary noise, like those two boys in front of you who think it's okay to have a conversation LIKE THEY'RE NOT EVEN IN A LIBRARY!? Even if you're not planning on listening to any music, headphones guarantee your computer won't suddenly decide to blast out The Biebz for the whole second floor to hear. • To avoid getting a whopping fine for taking out a book and forgetting to return it, simply use the Squirrel Method. Found a handy book you'll be referencing in an essay? Use it, and then when you're done for the day, just put it in a Secret Location where no-one will find it, but you. Say you've got a collection of critical essays on Dickens-- stick it amongst the books on Ancient Cambodian History. You'll come into the library the next day and find it exactly where you left it! When you're done with it for good, just put it back in its rightful place. • Get to the library early if you've got a lot of work to do. It's easier to work in the mornings, and means that you can do a full school-hour day at the lib (with a break for lunch), and then relax in the evening!
Jump on the ludicrous amounts of free stuff at the start of the year!
The Uni will have lined up a crazy bunch of stuff for you at the start of term. Lots of offers and clipboards being shoved in your face and oh my goodness it's absolute madness, MADNESS I SAY!! However, you can totally blag free things for a while which is good. At one instance Blackwells were giving away free mugs. Get all the merchandise!!! Also, go to Freshers events and meet tons of people, people who will mysteriously disappear and you will never see again... people you will never talk to ever again but constantly see around campus... and even people who become your good friends, phew!
Make friends with your cleaner - when you're deadly hungover she might take care of you!
-Becky Tonna Halls, your home for the first year of university. It's a jungle, I tell ya! There's all types here. You may meet your best friends here, you may discover your worst enemies (not that anyone really has a worst enemy, but if you ever spy them you can pretend they are your arch nemesis and then swish your cape and “foil their plans” to get to lectures on time by spending two hours in the bathroom-- ha!). This is your home now. Stick up some posters and make it feel cosy and stuff. And don't forget to pick up a pair of earplugs for your neighbour who plays Cheryl Cole at 5 in the morning...
Halls and Flatmates
Look after your things
Laptop case, phone cover, all that stuff. Lock your room or your flat when you leave. When you're out, keep you handbag on you. It sucks to lose something!
It is useful to have a lot of clothing as washing doesn't do itself. Unfortunately. -Josephine Jonathan
Laundry is the biggest pain in the butt ever
But it must be done. You will find it is not rocket science. In halls, it's actually surprisingly easy, but the catch often is the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a washing machine that is actually free when you have the spare time to do laundry. Try tactics like doing it early in the morning or something. People will also be really mean and take your clothes out of the machine and dump them on the floor or whatever. This is just laundry. Laundry is a dog-eat-dog world at university. Take no prisoners-- be merciless for the sake of clean clothing!
Your room will be a mess most of the time
Fact of life, right here. Clean it when you can. There ain't much more I can say. You will be surprised at just how messy you can get.
Do your own dishes, don't expect anyone else to do them for you, and in return hopefully people won't expect you to do their dirty dishes. Organise a cleaning rota of some sort so things can be kept fair and no-one has reason to storm in and go "OMAGAWD YOU'RE THE WORST WHY DON'T YOU WASH THE OVEN" (huh?). Make a set rota so people know exactly when it's their turn to take the bin out etc. It will save you a lot of arguments and bitchy comments. You will also have a lot of plastic bags. You always keep them "just in case", and they will take over the kitchen.
Make them make your
good friends with your landlord by feeding tea and cake when they come round... it will it a lot easier to get improvements made to flat when you ask for them! -Alice Graham
Live with me!
Okay, when the time comes around for you to decide who you want to live with and where you want to live next year, don't do anything you don't want to. Be straight from the start, and don't lead people on. If you are honest from the off, then there will be no real problem. Flat hunting is a really stressful experience and will put strain on friendships, but if you are best buddies to the end then you'll get through it, no problem! Be clear with what you want-- is location important to you? What about bedroom size? Make sure people know what you want so you can make agreements. Don't worry if you don't find the perfect flat after five different viewings, or ten even... or twenty! The perfect flat will be out there for you. At the same time, don't go for the first flat you see. That is just dumb.
Lectures are all online and can be caught up on, parties are not! -Alex Rata
This is by far the biggest section of this guide. It's the most exciting part of university, that's why! You're gonna be making friends for life here, yo! You're gonna be doing crazy stuff like going to jazz bars late at night, staying up until six in the morning listening to Craig David, waging war on best buddies with those dancing games in the arcade, going to obscure art-house films and secret-location gigs, climbing local monuments with nothing but a can of cider and a good pal for some DMC (deep meaningful conversation, yo) time, and so, so much more...
A friend who works in a baked potato store is a valuable source of sustenance in the final few days before student loan comes in. -Magnus Monahan
Don't freak out
If you haven't made your FRIENDS FOR LIFE in the first week of uni, or even first year for that matter, don't fret, pet! You will constantly be meeting new people. Like, ALL the time. So talk talk talk to people! Everywhere! All the time! Freshers' is a wonderful exercise for stepping out of your comfort zone and just walking up to someone and striking up a conversation. Talking to random people isn't just restricted to Freshers', though. Duh! Big smile, be interesting, and the right people will respond to you. And you know those people who you're looking for, who will actually "get" you, like the same stuff as you etc.? They exist. You will find them. Boy, and you thought YOU were weird!?
Talk to the over-enthusiastic foreigners and exchange students because they're usually the friendliest and can get you some sweet hook ups in the homeland when you go travelling. -Ellen Rafferty
Why do you hate me!?
Sad, but true: you will meet people who won't like you, for seemingly inexplicable reasons. They exist, you just gotta get past them. You will also meet people that you really don't like. Be civil! Don't give them a reason to be nasty to you. Be your cool self. Haters gonna hate!
Just because its St. Patrick's doesn't mean that it's appropriate to finish a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of Jameson's, and a crate of Guinness by yourself... but remember for all that stupid crap you do, you'll have a damn good story from it you can laugh at eventually. -Holt Hauser Don't drink tequila. -Jordan Rogers Buy 'Bier Speciale' in Tesco. It may be what the tramps in my stairwell drink but it ain't bad and it's sooooo cheap! -Hannah Brown
I THINK I'M DYING
So, you've been drinking quite heavily the night before. You wake up and go "ha! no hangover!... wait a sec... oh, yep, there it is". Google it all you want, honey, there seriously is no cure. My usual tactic is to stay in bed as long as possible and try to snooze it off. Make a massive playlist to listen to and play games on your phone. You also gotta eat something good, there is seriously nothing worse than being really hungover and having NO FOOD in the house to breakfast on in the morning. Take a long hot shower and drink lots of water, if you're lucky it'll go away soon enough.
Get involved in a society! Best thing you could ever possibly do. And also don't go to a gig/event in a different city the night before an exam, it will lead to a breakdown on the train and no one wants to be that guy. -Elyse Jamieson
I signed up for a bunch of different societies in Freshers Week, and then never went to any meetings for any of them. That is just what happens! However, the two societies that I went to and stuck with for more than a couple of weeks brought me to great things! I went swing dancing and met my future flatmate, as well as my future boyfriend's next-door neighbour! I went to the student radio and met a TON of amazing friends who all blog and tweet regularly, and got opportunities to interview cool people like Ian Rankin and go to lots of gigs! Join a society, learn new skills, make new friends. Jump right in there! Do it do it do it! I cannot stress this enough!!!
If you don't have one already, get a provisional driving licence even if you have no intention of driving. Taking your passport out all the time you're bound to lose it, better to have something that fits in a wallet. Also a provisional costs less to replace if you do lose it. -Ed Cooke
How to navigate a night club
Night clubs are terrifying places. Sometimes a night out with your friends is the most amazing thing ever! Sometimes, it's just the worst and you're going home in a taxi with your bestie who is currently trying her very hardest to keep the contents of her stomach down. It's a lottery! When you are out on the town, you truly see humanity at it's grodiest. You will see things and go "ewwwwwww" so much that your face retracts into your head and you gain twelve more chins. Embrace the grodiness, and always remember: you will never find true love in a nightclub. So that tall dark handsome guy across the room is probably Frankenstein's monster when the lights go on and the alcohol wears off. Just dance with your friends, it's the best thing to do!
Party hard, for this is your best chance in life to do such things. -Max Reinhardt
Flat parties, hands down
If I'm offered with either going out on the town or heading to a flat party, nine times out of ten I'll go for a flat party instead. Flat parties are so much social, and usually that's where all the really crazy stuff goes down! You don't need to wear ten inch heels for acceptance here. All you need is a few good anecdotes and a great sense of humour. You can actually MEET new people at flat parties! You can dance if you want to, you can play games! The best bit about flat parties is that they mostly have a theme, which means dressing up! Woohoo! Here is also a handy quick guide to hosting your own flat party: • Invite EVERYONE. Tell them to bring their friends, too. Always over-compensate on the invitations, because if you ask 100 people to come, then about 60 will. • Do it on a weekend. If you're in halls, then a bunch of first years partying shouldn't be a problem, but when you move out to the 'real world', you will be living around actual human beings who have children who go to school in the morning. Be considerate! • Make people dress up. Your guests will mingle more! “Hey, what are you dressed as?” or “Sweet starfish costume!” are great conversation starters. Choose a theme and make sure people make an effort! • Be prepared to clean up the next day, and clean up a LOT. Right, you're tired, maybe hungover, and now you've got to hoover. That's the deal with being the host! Be prepared for some odd surprises. I remember after my first flat party I found trampled-on chocolate cake all over the kitchen floor...
People don't really care who you are or what you do with your mates at university... As such, use this as an opportunity to enjoy stupid jokes, act silly, and do ridiculous things, because, for once, no one will judge you in such a way where it will have any profound effect on you. -Holt Hauser
Repeat after me: Poundland is my friend. Poundstretcher is my friend. The Bargain Store is my friend. These places will help you greatly in times of costume crisis. Why would you splash £20 on some packaged banana costume when you can grab some cheapo tinsel and kids wings from a charity shop or bargain shop and come as a fairy? Get creative, people will love you for it.
Ask people out
I'm not just talking about dating. If there's a gig or event you really want to go to but don't have anyone to go with, then just ask a friend! Even better, ask someone who you'd like to hang out more with. I went to the cinema to see a double bill and asked a guy from the student radio to join me. I was still new to the station at the time, but he came and we had a great time and bonded over gin and tonics with pomegranate juice and our love of comedian Limmy (SUH-PRAHZ SUH-PRAHZ!).
Always say yes, no matter what the occasion or event. More good comes from it then bad. -John Youngs
Your city is amazing
Where your living will have tons of awesome events and gigs going on. This is a great way to get a handle on music and events, and you'll have so much fun. Ask someone cool to come see a band with you, you'll have a great time!
Always say yes if they've got cupcakes. -Patrick Hanrahan
...But be safe!
Met someone cool? Wanna hang out with them but don't really know them that well? Whether it be a dude from Singapore who wants to cook you lasagne at his flat or whatever, if you're going to hang out with someone you don't really know and your friends don't really know... do it in a public place, or take a good friend with you. Not everyone is an axe-murderer, of course, but it's always better to be on the safe side!
Don't do online clothes shopping when you get back from a night out. Don't forget your school friends. Do phone your parents every week. Do make lots of friends, but keep your independence. Do join lots of clubs. Do keep a healthy balance between work and play. -Aisling Halliday
Never decide Tesco Value Tomatoes and spaghetti is a good idea. Even if your hideously hungover/drunk and cannot get to the shops. No one is ever THAT poor... -Sarah McGruvie
Food. It will be your best friend, your comfort in times of crisis. It will be your arch nemesis, cackling as you pile on those Fresher pounds. What to do!? Navigating the edible world is such a crazy journey, but you only learn through living. Soon you will learn life skills like how to boil potatoes, or make scrambled eggs. Soon you will learn how to improvise in the kitchen. Soon you will learn that porridge and a glass of white wine really isn't the best option for dinner, but, sometimes, needs must...?
DON'T PUT TIN FOIL IN THE MICROWAVE
There are some things you just don't do, or everyone will die (exaggeration?). This is one of those things.
Making dinner doesn't have to be a chore
At uni, food is going to totally be your best friend and your worst enemy. Some days you come home from a stressful day in the library and are just about ready to fill the bathtub up with milk and Coco Pops and drown in it. Other days you will not want to even think about cooking food because IT'S JUST SO MUCH HASSLE. It doesn't have to be like this, either of these things (because let's face it, a bath full of Coco Pops is going to be fun for about two minutes and then you realise that you've got some real problems going on here). You'll eventually learn your simple go-to meals for times of cooking crisis. My favourite is a salad. It is super simple. Also super simple is pasta (pasta + boiling water + ten minutes + Lloyd Grossman = yum), or omelette.
EVERYONE gets fat in first year...make sure you remember this when ordering the 4th Dominos of the week. -Josephine Jonathan
Beware the Dominos, my girl! The cheese that melts! The crusts that crunch!
(Jabberwocky reference, anyone?) Two For Tuesdays. They are dangerous. Yes, once in a blue moon it will have to come about. You will be tired and in need of a pizza pick-me up. Just be warned-- there will be people around you who may do this EVERY WEEK. Don't, just don't. Pizza is awesome, but a moment on the lips, forever on the hips (wiggly hip dance to be inserted here, accompanied by wagging finger)! Also, regular trips to the chippy will happen amongst your student pals. Restrain! Restrraaaiiiinnnn!
As soon as you finish your food, wash your plate
There is nothing worse than having a massive pile of dishes to wash. Even worse than this is having a pile of dishes in your bedroom to wash. Ew, much? Wash them! Wash them NOW! This is a good habit to start. You will thank me later.
Don't cook food in the oven the same day you cleaned it with proper oven cleaner. It'll make you ill! -Becky Tonna
Best Before When!?
If you're unsure about the food regarding whether its out of date (by a few days), then: if it doesn't look any different, doesn't smell any different, you're probably okay. If in doubt, call Mum!
Do not do your main weekly shopping when you are hungover. -Hannah Killoh Do not do your main weekly shopping when you're hungry! -Jenny Oxlade Make use of the "Reduced to Clear" part of Tesco's, especially if you're looking for something to cook for dinner that day! - Becky Tonna
Shopping for food is fun, most of the time! In first year I did a weekly shop which came to about £30, but as I got a hang of my eating habits etc. I started to just buy food as I need it, which feels like a much cheaper option, plus, it means your food won't all go out of date at the same time!
When you're picking up your dinner or other bits and bobs in the local supermarket, don't buy anything sweet. Avoid chocolate, avoid candy. Why? Because chances are you'll be coming across these things anyway. Friends will offer you a biscuit, people outside the library might be having a bake sale, someone gives you a free cupcake-seriously, and you're planning on eating your own chocolate on top of that?! I prefer to get my sugar fix for free!
Register with a GP BEFORE you get ill. Lesson I learned the hard way. -Ed Cooke
Students are notorious for getting ill, like, all the time. Try not to do that. Of course, the common cold with come atcha with a vengeance. Sometimes you will have a really nice friend who will give you a bar of chocolate and lend your their entire collection of Futurama DVDs, which is always a good way to power through a nasty, snotty cold. There are other concerns that you will come across at university as well, though. Be prepared is the best motto here...
Your hot water bottle is your best friend
Stomach cramps, cold nights, whatever the ailment or situation, you hot water buddy is there for you. It is the best thing, ever ever ever. Just make sure when you're filling it up you leave a bit of space and get the excess air out the top, so it's not full to bursting, because it can (and will) burst if you put enough pressure on it. Ouch! Boiling hot water in your bed? No thanks!
Ew, I know, I know. But you're at uni. The "birds and the bees" CANNOT BE AVOIDED, so just hear me out okay? Use condoms-- for God's sake, use contraception! Don't be an idiot! Guys can sometimes be sneaky and be all like "oh I've been tested, and you can always get the morning after pill anyway"-- DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. The morning after pill is not contraception, and if he's refusing to use a condom, he's a jerk and your body is a temple, a temple, I say! If you've acquired a boyfriend (congrats!) then it's a good idea to get the pill. There are loads of different types of pill, the one I initially had made me throw up on a monthly basis, so if it's not working for you, making your body feel like crap, then go to your GP and they'll hook you up with another type. It's also worth having a look at all the different types of contraception and see which one will suit you best, there is a lot out there!
"I Have A Problem!"
If your body is doing something wack, often at university the first thing you want to do is Google your symptoms. Oh look! You have MENINGITIS! SMALLPOX! YOU DEFINITELY HAVE CANCER! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! Do yourself a favour and just don't do that. Call Mum or Dad (or a sibling), or failing that, chat to a close friend about it. If you have to eventually go see a doctor, book ASAP. It's so difficult to get an appointment that isn't like a whole week away, especially at the university's health service because students get sick ALL THE TIME. Even try calling on the day to ask if there are any cancellations-- chances are there might be! Another trick if it's urgent and there's no free appointments in sight is to call NHS 24. If they think your problem needs seen to straight away, they'll fix a GP appointment up for you that day.
Fatty Fatty Boom Boom
You're in first year. This is the first time you are totally in control of how much you eat, what you eat, and whether you exercise or not. Let's be totally frank: you're gonna put on weight, and you're not gonna like it. Why has this horrible curse of blobbiness befallen you? Here are some reasons: • You are eating pizza every night because cooking is "too stressful" • You are drinking alcohol and alcohol is not the best thing to keep yourself trim with • You are not exercising, like, at all! Boo hoo, you used to be a size 8/10/12/whatever! Now look at you! How can we fix this!? Here are some solutions: • Don't starve yourself, just eat better things. Fruit is just as yummy as pizza, maybe even more so! • Look at your portions. Does your plateful resemble a diorama of Mount Pasta? • Go running. Yes, ew, ick, I know. It took me three years to figure that one out. It's good for you though, and people will admire you greatly if you're all like "I'm off for a run! Look how HEALTHY I am!" • Drink straight vodka-- no calories! I'm joking, I'm joking. You know you can have fun without alcomohols, right? Have a couple, just don't get destroyed, alright? Your liver (and your 9am tutorial) will thank me.
The student gym: a wonderland of exercise and wellbeing. Let me put it to you straight: you are going to spend £100 signing up and go about five times, and then never again. Save yourself the money and join a dance society, or go running, or something. Trust me, you're not going to go to that gym enough to get your money's worth, not in first year at least!
On a side note
By the way... glitter for your face and glitter for craft activities are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. This, I learned it the hard way. Just... just don't put anything on your face that's not supposed to go on your face, okay?
Statistics say the vast majority of people meet their future husband/wife at university. Just saying... Don't forget to look shmokin'. -Claire Roberts
Ohhhhh man. There's no avoiding it. Love and all that lies in-between is tough and it is impossible to avoid. Damn! And you were doing so well! Now you've fallen for someone and your eyes turn into those little cartoon hearts and you're walking on fluffy clouds and everything is pink and gooey, like a marshmallow. I've provided excerpts from my own diary during my musings on boys while at university. You will experience a range of different types of love, and not-so-love...
love and not-so-love
There's gonna be people who you just can't explain what it is about them. I mean, they're maybe not even that good looking! You do really dumb things for them. You go to a jazz event where you only know about two people there just to see them. You're dying of the cold and yet you still go out into town just to grab a drink with them. You plan your walk back from campus just to go past their halls, just in case they're hanging around when you walk past so you can catch a glimpse of their face. Now listen to me, in the wise words of Taio Cruz, they're only gonna break, break your, break, break your heart! Sometimes in your gut you can just tell if they're not that into you. If you're hovering around them 24/7 and they haven't made a move yet... maybe it's time to pack up and find someone else. Someone out there will be just as obsessed with you, trust me! Although, that might not always be a good thing...
I really like the attention, but at the same time, the whole thing just makes me want to cringe. -Olivia's
I'm just not that into you
You're going to come across the Nick to your Lindsay soon enough (heyo, Freaks and Geeks!). Be honest if there's a boy who you don't like 'in that way'. Be straight with him, don't lead him on, and hopefully you'll be able to stay good friends. It's up to him whether he acts like a jerk afterwards or not. If he does, he was never worth your time anyway.
I asked, in my most confident of tones, “Can I buy you a drink?” Bad Boy was rolling a cigarette. Bad Boy's eyes met mine for a nanosecond, before he resumed his vacant staring at some indeterminate point in the middle distance. “No,” was all he said.
...But he's really hot!
Oh, university. So many hot guys. I know, I know. It's difficult to resist the wily charms of some men. His hair is like sunshine, his eyes are two limpid pools in which you wish to drown... but if he's wearing a bandana (non-ironically, or even 'ironically' for that matter) or blurts out pearls of wisdom such as "Life For Your Run" then chances are this isn't going to be a very fulfilling connection you're making, here. You have standards! You have standards! Run away! The Brazil Nut Is Not Actual A But!
Another annoying thing is that the bloody blighter is making me like him! . . . God dammit-curse me for being myself! -Olivia's diary
He's The One!
You found a cute guy who is into you? Nice job, it isn't that hard, see? Admittedly you've got pages and pages of diary entries going "WHATTT IS MY PROBLEM!? WHY DO NO GUYS LIKE MEEEEEE?!??", but finally all that time you've spent whining has come to a sweet, sweet end! He's into you, and you're into him. Firstly, though, establish this: does he have a girlfriend? If that is the case, or he's still hung up on some girl, somewhere... it's not looking good. Save yourself a spectacular heartbreak and crying a river at three in the morning on your doorstep by keeping things firmly in the friend zone. Trust me. If he ain't got no other girl, woohoo! Hang out with him and have fun, just don't forsake your friends. When this guy disappears, your friends will still be there. Make sure that they know you still need them, and that they can still rely on you.
Heartbreak can turn you into a psycho
Hopefully this won't apply to you so soon. As Neil Sedaka once wisely sung, “breaking up is hard to-hoo-hoo do”. It is! It sucks major ass and there's nothing you can do about it but distract yourself. Oh, boy, distract yourself to the MAX! Go out with friends, kiss someone stupid, make new friends and learn new skills. Don't focus on the old guy. He is history, ya hear me!? Don't be tempted to “give it another shot”, chances are if it didn't work the first time it won't the second. Anyway, having a boyfriend for the whole of uni stunts your personal growth. Be you, be awesome. Find yourself, climb some hills and do some retail therapy. Writing a lot also helps.
Uni is the first time you're independent... make sure you do everything you can to exercise that fact. Do all those things you always wanted to that Mum or Dad would never let you, go take spontaneous trips (cause more often than not there wont be too much stopping you), and get that job so you can pay for your things 100% guilt free. That's the only way you learn the good (and horrid) parts of being an 'adult', and for every way things go wrong, there's also a way they'll go unusually well. Which is pretty weird coming from me... -Holt Hauser
Man, it's tough being independent. Like, you've got to take care of yourself, all the time! Who knew you were so high maintenance? Those toenails won't cut themselves! But seriously, there's also a wonderful freedom to being a student. No-one's really holding you down. You're young, you're cool, you can get away with just about any hair colour... this is “you time”. Find yourself, new capabilities and skills and all that jazz. And don't forget to call home every so often. Be like Jenny from the Block, I mean, no matter where she went she KNEW where she came from...
Take long walks
Your city is awesome. Explore it! Feeling a bit cloudy or unable to spend a whole in the shower "just thinking"? Get outside, go for a wander and feel better about it all. You may just discover a new cute coffee shop, or an amazing vintage treasure trove. It is also exercise! Whee!
Help is always there if you ask for it
Dumbledore said it best: 'Help is Always At Hogwarts For Those Who Ask For It'... and it's true! Lecturers aren't going to "sense" you are struggling with something, and your friends will always be there 4 U! If you're in a pickle, get help!
Don't avoid trying something because you're scared you're not going to get it right first time
Getting it wrong first time is the whole point, duh! The first try is so you can learn how to do it (and not to do it!), and then you can get better and better. And it's never going to be as bad as you anticipate. Be brave, little one!
Always make sure you are safe getting home late at night
Even if it means bugging your friends to walk you or paying extra for a taxi. It's ALWAYS worth it, trust me.
Look at your bank balance regularly, and spend accordingly
If you got no money, it sucks to have to ask for more, end of.
If you're absolutely pooped, pushed to the limit, then take a break
It's tough being a student, innit? So much to do! So much running around! Lectures! Societies! Drinking! Partying! Shopping for groceries! Don't be afraid to chill out every once in a while. It's okay to say "no, I'm going to stay in tonight", no-one will think you're a loser. Nothing better than an early night, sometimes!
Give yourself projects!
So when you're not hanging with friends, studying hard or sleeping... what else can you do? Apart from joining a society, give yourself something cool to do! In my time at university so far I've started up a blog, written in my journal a LOT and became a helluva lot better at guitar. Keep doing these creative things that make you happy. People will also be impressed, and they'll think you're cool, because you are.
Havin' a ME partaaayy!
Spend time by yourself. Oh, it's just the best thing going to the picturehouse solo to a really artsy film. I often like to grab my journal and go sit down in one of my favourite cafes and write for hours on end about BOYS and other lame things like that. Have a slice of cake, while you're at it, too! It's good to be by yourself, to get to know yourself.
Call ya Mum
Trust me, she's freaking out. She probably thinks you are dead! Oh no! Call your Mum every so often and you'll be in the good books. You know, it's the least you can do after all she's done for you... what with giving birth to you, raising you, teaching you how to speak English, etc. Call your Dad, too. And your siblings, and your grandma...
You can use this space to write down little things you've learned yourself. Clever you!
what i've learnt
Well, there you go! That's all, folks! Hopefully you've gathered some helpful tips from this mish-mash of great/not-so-great advice and taken things on board. Of course, there's practically a guarantee that when you leave home you are going to make some stupid mistakes of your own. Hey, it's the only way you learn! That is what growing up is all about. Life is weird and crazy and cool and university is so good at showing you that. Make the most of the opportunities you get here, and always remember how lucky you are to have been accepted into uni in the first place! I'm sure there could be a whole other twenty-odd pages of information that I've left out... but if I wrote it all down, there'd be nothing left for you to find out for yourself, right? Now, go forth, and adventure! Lots of love,
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