There’s no doubt about it – if you go to university, the first year will usually be the best. Without the pressure to pass exams, this is your chance to focus on the social advantages that the experience can bring, as well as expanding your horizons through societies.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll walk away without regrets. I certainly didn’t.
Don’t get tied down
The biggest thing I regret was becoming too tied to a single group of friends. First year is a time when you can explore different groups and dynamics, and everyone should exploit this. Although there’s something to be said for forming strong bonds, don’t become overly reliant on anyone just yet, especially the people in your halls. As the year wears on, irritations and problems could be exposed. That being said, don’t close yourself off! The fantastic thing about university is that it can alter who you are as a person, and throws you into contact with people who you may not have considered for friendship in the confines of sixth form and your hometown.
Make sure you get involved
I also wish I had got more involved in certain societies, and not tried to join so many, which I only felt obligated to be part of because I’d already paid for them. You’ll probably find that you only have time for one or two, and I wish that I’d spent more time on the social aspects of the ones I wanted to commit to. It’s important to remember that when you go to something hosted by the society, everyone there has at least one mutual interest with you, and they chose to be there. These could be great friends, if you’re able to commit the time to them.
Get a job
On the flipside, something I don’t regret is getting a job. Sure, this is typically seen as something for students who are time-rich and cash-poor, but it can be so much more than that. For one, it’s a chance to meet students who you might never have come into contact with otherwise. The other thing that I really appreciated was the structure it gave me. Because I wasn’t inundated with free time, it forced me to structure my time more effectively.
What’s important to remember is that first year might not be perfect. Sure, it might be 90 percent good. It might not be. Always consider what you really want, and try not to make too many rash decisions (but still make some, they can make the most interesting stories!).
What do you regret (and not regret) about your first year at university? Tell us below or tweet us.
Photo: Jason Howie / Flickr