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20 Secrets To Surviving In Your First Semester At University or College

Arriving at university or college will be daunting for everyone. For many it may mean living away from the parental home for the first time, which on itís own may be daunting enough. You will most likely have a hundred questions and a hundred fears; what will it be like? Can I cope with the workload? Will I be able to fit in? It may help to know that everyone will be feeling similar, though some may hide it better than others.

Invariably the vast majority of freshers will be pleasantly surprised. The University or College will be populated by a broad variety of people, from many walks of life with a diverse range of outlooks and opinions. Look beyond the initial confines of your college, house or dorm, the establishment will have many more people who will share similar interests to yourself. Some of the tips we have received from other students:

1. Meet as many people as you can, introduce yourself, smile and be confident. Everyone is in the same boat whether he or she appears to be or not.
2. Be yourself. Real friends will want to know you for who you are, warts and all!
3. Keep your opinions about others to yourself until you know whom you can trust
4. Take your washing to the laundry. Donít save it all up to take back home to mum at the hols. She really wonít want five minging black bags to see to.
5. Have a good time
6. Join a few societies at first week fairs. If youíre not sure itís for you but are interested take note of an e-mail/ contact address to get more details later. Its sometimes hard to find the right contacts later, itís a big place.
7. Phone home and let your family know youíre all right, (even if you donít exactly feel it). Theyíre probably more worried than you are.
8. Everyone feels at least a little homesick at first, and worried or just on a down. Talk to new friends you feel you can trust, and maybe write/call friends at home.
9. Youíre at Uni for a few years, make the most of it, itís over before you know it. Then youíll miss the freedom and long holidays.
10. Keep in touch with family and friends at home, e-mail is easiest.
11. Donít hang round with one little group ignoring everyone else. Youíll miss out on the chance of making other good friends as well.
12. Seriously donít be careless with your money - it is the little extras here and there that have a way of quickly draining your bank account!
13. Donít let peer pressure turn you into a beer-monster; you donít have to drink all the time. If friends have a problem with you ordering soft drinks when you want, theyíre probably not the friends you need. Drinking soft drinks is easier on the pocket, not to mention healthier.
14. Beer sessions.. It's a good idea to leave the beer until the weekend when you haven't got to worry as much about getting it together the next day.
15. Don't let everything get bottled up. Talk to somebody, family and friends or a student help line. Being away from home, especially for the first time can make you feel well lonely and lost. Talking about it usually puts everything into perspective.
16. Cooking. The curry house on the corner may do student specials. Take-away burgers may an easy option when you have a stack of work to do. But your money won't see you through the term. It really will be like throwing it away. Try cooking. Get a few basics in, salt, pepper, gravy mix, (goes with everything). If youíre house sharing, perhaps chip in. Veg stews are pretty easy, gut-filling and cheap, especially if you go to the veg shop. Youíll find a good cookbook worth the investment too. Ask the bookshop for one for the catering students course! Itíll have everything step by step.
17. When youíre going out for the night. Take just as much as you need, or want to spend. Itís very easy to have a few more beers when youíve already had a few.
18. Clubs and stuff, almost all charge a joining a fee or pay-as-you-go. They are excellent for meeting people, blowing off steam, getting invites, finding something to take your mind off your subjects for an hour or two. But they can have a scary impact on your pocket. Whilst you may want to try climbing, sky diving, hockey and archery, stick to a few you know youíll like and will be able to keep up with. You wonít have time for all of them anyway.
19. Live your first year as best as you can, youíre only a fresher once.
20. The ''B'' word .. When you have a fat student loan in your bank balance, the easiest thing to do is spend it, itís just sitting there itching to be used. Donít. (Or starve) Thereís this word youíll know very well by the time you leave University ''Budget''. Plan ahead so you donít end up with too much debt. Sit down and work out what youíve got coming in, what has to go out, rent etc. If thereís anything left over divide that by how many weeks until the next cheque clears. Then half that; you will need panic money some way down the line. Remember thereís always stuff youíll need that you donít put in the budget, stuff you just overlook - shampoo, photocopying, and toothpaste.

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