I am about to graduate university so I thought that I would share a slightly random assortment of some tips and advice that I have gained over these three years! Some of them are just general tips for anybody starting university and some are specific to Staffordshire University.
- Don’t get a student cookbook unless you actually plan on using it – I bought a student cookbook way before I started university if I’m honest, with the hopes that I would use it and it would encourage me to try and cook new meals. What actually happened is that I literally used it twice and it was to cook the same recipe. Other than that, that cookbook spent the best part of three years gathering dust on my shelf. So if you really want to get one before coming to university, check in with yourself and think…are you actually going to use it? And if you do purchase one, be proactive and organised in trying to cook some of the recipes to prevent it from being a pointless purchase and a dust gatherer.
- Use public transport – It took me until third year to actually use the buses to travel places and not just use taxis. It is slightly scary at first but, most of the buses that leave from outside the library/Cadman building, their final destination is Hanley bus station so it will be very hard for you to not know when to get off. Plus it’s only £2 and I literally just used Google maps to work out what bus to get and at what time!
- Save money on your laundry by using colour catcher sheets and doing all of it in one load – This is especially applicable in first year when you have to pay to use the washing machines by your accommodation. Our accommodation warden told us this tip during our first meeting when we moved in and I continue to use it now. It saves time as well separating your colours, darks and lights and accidentally missing a red t-shirt or whatever! Just pop a colour catcher sheet in before you put your laundry and you will be good to go!
- Get a 16-25 young person’s railcard – Initially purchasing one is quite dear but it will save you 1/3 on rail travel and it does genuinely save you a lot of money! I’ve had one since I was 16 and I couldn’t imagine not having one now. It will be particularly handy for when you visit home and you can get discounts through some places to initially purchase one.
- You can top up your library print credit online using your debit card – I literally only found out about this about two weeks ago and was so surprised to find that this existed! Especially after never hearing about this during the three years I’ve been here. It’s great to prevent yourself making trips to the ATM at the post office on College Road to get some change! The link to do this is here or alternatively, you can just Google ‘staffs uni library print credit’ and it will be the first link that comes up.
- Don’t lose your student card – You need it for practically everything at university so it’s best to make sure it is on your person at all times otherwise you’ll be paying £7 for a replacement.
- Join a club or society – Joining a club or society is honestly the best way to make friends, especially if you don’t go on nights out or lot drink alcohol. It is definitely nerve-wracking going to the first session, but I believe it is definitely worth it. Plus it’s a good thing to do something outside of your course
- Go on your course’s library tour – If you have timetabled a library tour during the first weeks of your course, go to it! They will show you where the books for your course are, which you definitely need to know! And how to use Summon or other services that they offer like, e-books, Box of Broadcasts or Lynda.
- Get your head around Harvard Referencing (or whatever referencing system your course uses) – We had a class near the beginning of first year that taught us all about Harvard referencing so we were perhaps lucky in that sense. But even with that citethisforme.com is honestly a saviour! I’ve used it for every essay I’ve written and I would highly recommend it every student whether you have a knowledge of Harvard referencing or not. Alternatively you could use the library’s resources, such as RefZone or Refworks.
- Become involved within your University or Student’s Union – I fully believe that if you have some sort of role or job within any part of your university you will get more out of your entire university experience and develop a greater appreciation for your university as a whole. Whether that becoming a student ambassador or a digital student ambassador or working in one of the union shops or venues. Or even joining a club or society and eventually having a committee role within that. It honestly shocks and surprises when I realise that some people I know who are graduating this year haven’t become involved within the university at all and don’t even have knowledge of these things existing. I genuinely think that you are only getting half of the university experience if you don’t become involved in some way.
Whether you’re just starting university or halfway through your degree, I hope these tips are helpful to you in some way! Do you have any other tips for new or current university students?