A Guide to University: the London edition

The time has come again when I have tons of reading to do, which means *drumroll* I’m going to write another blog post.

There are many claims on how you can have the ‘best university experience’; from advising to join as many societies as you can to going out partying as much as you can and, my personal favourite, making sure to attend every single lecture and seminar or you’ll fail without doubt. What I think is without a doubt true is that there are many different definitions of the word ‘succeed’ (Jeez, I sound like one of my essays) and, when it comes to uni, everyone is going to have a different opinion on what a successful university life is. Seeing as I’ve been at university now for a record-breaking four months, I’ve obviously got quite the authority on this subject. (If you can’t detect the sarcasm now, I’d be concerned)

So, from a completely naive fresher to the rest of the world, here is my advice on how to survive at university. Because really, although people care about succeeding, I think survival is the far better word for this guide in particular, so here we go – the London edition.

Now it might be because I’m a bit of a ‘goody-two shoes’ at times, but I think the first point that we should make here is to remind you all that if you are attending university, you’re paying flipping 9 grand for all this, and often for humanities degrees that can be for under 10 hours a week. On that note, Tip No. 1: ACTUALLY DO SOME WORK AT SOME POINT. There. I said it. Now we can move on.

Apparently what is deemed ‘Freshers Week’ by just about everyone, according to some, can make or break your uni life. Clearly a week notorious for parties and getting hammered will obviously dictate the rest of your university experience, like some grand Hunger Games style fight through the daily hangovers, (Once again, people, we have sarcasm. Keep up.) Now, Freshers week for me was pretty anticlimactic. Yes, there was drink and clubs and all that, but it wasn’t as ground breaking as everyone makes it out to be. What was good about that week was the fact that everyone made an effort to get to know you, whereas now – only just halfway through the first year – people can’t be bothered to make the effort to socialise outside the friends they’ve already made. Therefore, Tip No. 2: don’t get worked up over Freshers week. Just try to meet new people, have some fun, and enjoy the time where you won’t have any work to procrastinate over. (Just, be careful again about who you make friends with – don’t get your heart broken)

Next on the list is societies and ‘extra-curricular’ activities. In all honesty, I’ve only really been going to societies since the final few weeks of last term and that really hasn’t been an issue at all for me. At this point I’ve made friends from my accommodation and my course, settled into the standard London living and am now comfortable to go to whatever societies seem interesting. It can be pretty daunting in the first week to try to find your way to a room (seriously, my university literally has no reasoning behind where all the rooms are placed and the numbering doesn’t even work logically in most buildings) and be confident enough to just launch yourself into a group of people who probable know each other already. I’ve found that by joining societies now out of interest more than feeling a need to force myself to go, I enjoy them so much more. So, Tip No. 3: Join societies at your own time, whenever you want, and don’t worry about it. (They’re not for everyone, but you’re bound to find at least one you like).

At the moment, this is sounding more like a guide to HOW NOT TO PANIC at uni. Eh, oh well.

So we’ve covered academic life, Freshers week and societies. Next is even more socialising, so introverts brace yourselves. I’d like to start off with something short and sweet. Tip No 4: BE YOURSELF. Cliched beyond belief, this is a tip that pretty much makes me cringe each time, but it’s true so bloody hell, be yourself already! Everyone is going to want to socialise in different ways and, luckily for me, I’ve found that there are other people who don’t particularly like clubbing. (Seriously, a claustrophic’s nightmare with sweaty people crushing you from all sides jumping up and down to shitty music where you often get hit in the face – and we have to pay for it? How about no?)

There are plenty of people who enjoy baking (huzzah), going to the cinema, going out for a few drinks or just staying in to watch a movie/TV, eat ice cream and pizza. There is so much more to London than just clubbing, but if clubbing is your thing then there’s plenty of that too! Apps like YPlan have been so amazing to have, such as discounted tickets to go ice skating, go to cinemas and even theater tickets. There are also amazing websites that let you sign up to be TV show audiences, and so far I’ve had free tickets to see Live at The Apollo, It’ll be Alright on the Night, and, last week, I finally went to my favourite show of all time: The Graham Norton Show. So without further ado, Tip No. 5: Go out and see the world rather than choosing to get drunk at every free moment. I know for the everyday student that might not sound so great but, believe me, it’s worth it.

I think that’s a pretty good start to my Uni Survival Guide, so I hope you enjoyed it and maybe I’ll have an update for you at the end of the year. See you next time, Eleanor.

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New Year Revelations

So something I’ve done for the past 6 years or so is write myself a letter in my diary for my future self to read after two years. It’s pretty incredible how much can change in just a couple of years, but this year was a pretty good one (hence why I’m telling all of you – also it doesn’t help that I have more essays I should be doing right now).

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Anyhoo, so, this letter from 16 year old me is all about how I’m thinking of uni and how in two years I’ll know what my A level results are (pretty much just general 16-year-old freaking-out-edness). I also mention how I’m enjoying Classics and thinking about doing something with that – fast forward two years and, oh, hey, I’m doing Classics with English at university. Go figure.

(I feel the above gifs also fit how I feel whenever I submit an essay)

I also ask a few questions like ‘Are we any better at golf’ and, I hate to break it to myself, but I pretty much lost interest in golf after feeling so out of place as a girl and not liking my PE teacher ask every week ‘has your handicapped dropped yet’. Oh, not to mention that I got a hole in one – so I’d like to end on a high note.

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So you could say that a lot has changed for me. 2014 brought my last year at school and my first one at university. I’ve been clubbing, made new friends, experienced the craziness of freshers (and survived) – so, all in all, a pretty top notch year. My last year goals for myself were: get into kings (Boo-yah), do more journalism (cough The Sun work experience cough News Uk conference cough Fashion Soundtrack), read all of the classics (a work in progress) and write more (Job. Done).

SO for  next year, goals (potentially) are to write EVEN MORE, have a great first year at uni (Academically and socially) aaand…I don’t know, be happy? Is that too sappy? Eh, we’ll go with it.

SPNG Tags: I REGRET NOTHING / Castiel / Misha / Happy Dancing / Swan Song meets Black Swan / Tra la la la la

Anyway, happy new year to you all and good luck for 2015.