Written by Tia
BA (Hons) Communication and Media
I am so jealous of everyone going into first year, you are in for the best experience of your life! I wish I could start it all over again. If I did start all over again, these are some of the things I wish I knew from the beginning.
1. Living experience
It is important to get the best living experience you can because it is such a huge part of your time at university. My key things to remember are: put as much information in about yourself in your bio as possible when picking your flat; always do your washing up to avoid arguments; your friends in freshers might not be your friends for long so don’t rush into getting a second year house with them; if you can, make sure you know what the people you’re moving into private housing with are like (if you don’t, there could be problems down the line).
2. Have as much fun in your first year as possible
Obviously you need to work hard in first year to do well in your assignments, which will secure a placement in the long run, but also make sure you aren’t putting too much pressure on yourself. If there is something you want to do, do it! Take full advantage of the fact you’re so close to the town and beach. Plan lots of things to do with your friends, they don’t have to cost anything, just have a good time.
3. Your mental health comes first
Settling in and moving to a new place on your own can be very nerve wracking and stressful. Make sure you are talking to people about how you feel, don’t think you have to suffer in silence. Don’t glue yourself to your desk to get assignments done, take some time away from your work everyday and come back to it – you might even find you do better.
4. Explore the local area
Bournemouth and the rest of Dorset is a beautiful place, make sure throughout your time here you explore as much of it as possible. Whether that’s a pub lunch in the New Forest, a drive along the Jurassic coast to all the cool places such as Durdle door, Weymouth, Corfe castle, Old Harry Rocks and Lyme Regis, or a hike up the Golden Cap and lunch in Seatown after.
5. Make your room as homely as possible
Buy plenty of plants, blankets or throws, pillows, fairy lights and print pictures to put in your room. This helps to make your room feel more like yours and your home away from home. Otherwise, it can feel more like you’re staying in a hotel room than your own. You might feel like your home isn’t your home anymore, so making Bournemouth feel more like home helps with this.
Make sure you work out how much money you have for each week so at the end of each term you aren’t struggling to get by. This will also help you save for everything you want to do in the summer. Factor in food expenses, rent (and bills if they aren’t included), leisure activities such as clubbing, how much you want to save, and anything else you find yourself regularly spending money on (like clothes).
7. Never leave assignments to the last minute
Not only will this stress you out but you might not do as well, you won’t have time to proofread, speak to your lecturers about your idea or discuss it with your course mates. It is very tiring which makes it more difficult to celebrate when you are done.
8. Get a cookbook
Trying to think of different meals every week without a cookbook is very challenging and you’ll probably end up doing the same few meals on rotation which is very boring. Once I bought a cookbook or used recipes from the internet such as Tesco’s recipes, BBC goodfood and pinterest, it has allowed me to become a better cook and try so many new things. You can also plan your meals for the week and take a shopping list to the shops so you don’t end up just buying everything that you fancy in sight, which gets very expensive.
9. Join clubs and societies
I recommend joining as many clubs and societies as you can and just try whatever you fancy. In first year I was a part of the cocktail society, in second year I joined Nerve Radio, and then in final year I joined Nerve Magazine. They are such a great thing to put on your CV and to meet new friends. The people who also join the societies will have similar interests to you so you might find they become some of your closest friends.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff
I worried, stressed, and sometimes argued over things that in hindsight really didn’t matter. You’ll find there are way more important things to be stressing about. There can be a lot of friction when you’re living with people you might not know that well so make sure you just worry about you.
I am a huuugeee foodie so I have been so a lot of restaurants in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas. The food here is amazing so try as many places as you can afford.
If you can do a placement they are definitely worth doing. They look great on your CV so when you graduate you will be more employable. Make sure you don’t just do any one that you know you won’t enjoy, try and get one that you will learn something from. Don’t worry if it isn’t in the exact industry you want to work in after graduating, you will gain so many skills that are transferable and will aid you in your future career. Also, try and get one that is paid if you can. If it isn’t it can really take a toll on your wellbeing and you might not feel like a respected member of the team.
13. Take videos!
One thing I really, really wish I had done more was video more things rather than just take pictures. When I see a video it brings back so many amazing memories and I wish I had more so I could make a compilation video of them all.