For a lot of young people September means heading off to university or college – a terrifying yet exciting experience. Having some tips for girls starting college can really help you cope. You’re heading into the next stage of your life - independence, new friends, great memories and terrible mistakes all await you. It’s normal to be nervous, but here are some tips for girls starting college I wish I knew before heading off on my own.
1 Be Yourself
This is advice our parents have been telling us our whole lives, and up until now, we’ve ignored it. However, uni is a great chance to really be yourself, and make new friends who will love you for who you are. Join uni societies or clubs and you’ll make friends with the same interests as you. This is really one of the best tips for girls starting college.
2 Don’t Be Nervous
This is easier said than done, but EVERYONE heading off to uni for the first time will be terrified. This may be slightly different if you’re not moving to a new city, but if you are, then it’s even more terrifying. Just remember - you’re not alone. Nearly every other student will want to be your friend, won’t know the area and will be nervous starting lectures. Talk to everyone and they’ll likely respond.
3 Be Frugal
You’re now a student, and ‘student’ is synonymous with ‘broke’. Student deals are everywhere, and most places offer a nice student discount, which offers great opportunities to be frugal. With student finance being a joke (in the UK at least!), unless you have rich parents or are working to support yourself, chances are you’ll have little spare money. On a night out, pre-drink, don’t buy rounds and look for student offers.
4 But Don’t Be Cheap
However, you don’t want to be cheap. Starting uni is a time to meet new people and explore your new city and university. The last thing you is to have to stay in because you don’t want to spend anything. Think of it like this. I once had a friend who refused to order a cheap taxi to take her home at 2am and instead walked home alone through a very unsafe area. Be frugal. Don’t be cheap.
5 Go to Lectures
Ok, it’s so easy to want to skip contact hours if you’re hungover. But chances are, you’re paying a fortune for this, so it’s best to make it count. After all, uni isn’t just a social experience. Also, if your course offers a placement or study year of any kind, this is can be assigned based on the grades you get first year. Of course, no one told me this, so a first year spent hungover did not help me in interviews. Don’t make my mistake.
6 Be Safe
Whether you’re moving to a big city or a small campus, it always pays to be safe. Go out in groups and make sure you can trust someone to help you get home safe. Don’t leave drinks unattended or accept open drinks from strangers. Don’t walk home alone at night or wander off into the dark with strangers. You may think it’ll never happen to you, but it can. Stay safe. It’s not worth it.
7 Learn to Cook
If you’re in self-catering dorms you’ll need to learn to cook. Instant noodles, toast and takeaway will only last so long until you’re unhealthy and miserable. Cooking can be fun and a great way to bond with flatmates. It’s usually much cheaper too, as you can buy and cook in bulk. There are so many online resources that there really isn’t any excuse not to cook for yourself. Don’t be that student in final year who has to Google how to boil an egg. Besides, instant noodles taste depressing.
8 Get to Know Your Flatmates
Chances are you’re sharing accommodation with some other newbies. This is a difficult situation, and you’re stuck with it for the next few years likely! It’s always important to build a good relationship with the people you live with. Yes, they can be inconsiderate. Claiming the whole fridge, never cleaning up, loud drunken signing at 2am…these are all typical horror stories. It’s always best to try and build friendships, as it’s easier to ask a friend to turn the music down then have an argument with an enemy.
9 Figure out Your Relationships
Relationships are complicated at uni as you’re suddenly surrounded by new faces. Just remember the basics - no fuckboy you’ve met in a club is worth losing friends over. Stay safe as well, the last thing you want at uni is a pregnancy scare. Remember that friendships are important too. Both on and off your course. Having girlfriends is so, so important. I always used to dub girls “catty” and “bitchy”, but through uni I’ve learnt that having supportive girlfriends is probably the most important relationship a girl can have.
So remember to go for it. Have fun and enjoy these precious, precious years. You’ll learn so much and meet so many people. It won’t be as scary as you think.