At some point by now, you have been emailed your class schedules, moved into the student halls, went to a few freshers' parties or stocked up on your new stationary supplies. Many of you may be starting (or already started) your first year of University whilst for some of us, its back to the ole' grind of daily coffee runs (or tea- I don't descriminate) and early morning classes where the professors yap on about some German bloke whose theory brought revolutionary changes within the field of cultural studies or suttin'. It was 8 AM. I wasn't listening. 

Lets be real though, University can be quite a daunting experience. Its a period in your life where you go through the roller coaster of happy, sad and somewhere-in-the-middle type of emotions, shitloads of adult responsibilities that makes you all squeamish and the pressure of completing a sea of assignments which frankly, most days forces you to drown in the feeling of despair and snotty Kleenex tissues. 

For someone who is about to start their third and final year at University, I get how crazy, fun and frustrating uni can be and how much it truly shapes us as individuals with the experience and knowledge we accumulate throughout the time period. I know for a fact that I'm not the same person that I was when I first started back in 2013 and I also know for a fact that I won't be the same person by the time I walk on that stage next year with my graduation degree in one hand. Some of you may be rolling your eyes reading this and thinking, "It's just uni, it ain't that deep" but let me tell you- If a person can change their opinions and outlook in the span of 3 months, why can't they change as a whole in about 3, 4 or 6 years time? That's exactly why its important to enjoy, understand and really build yourself and your character during University years because it will mould you into the person you hope of becoming once you walk out those doors by the end of it all. Soz, for going all deep and philosophical. 

Now that the granny lecture is out of the way, I have compiled a list of 10 things which I think are tres important to note and remember based on personal experience. Whether you're about to start University for the first time or just need a little pep talk before going back to the mayhem of it all- heres what I think ya'll should keep in mind:

#1.  Prioritise well
This is standard advice tbh. Although University is a lot more flexible and in some ways quite laid back in comparison to the strict class schedule you'd have in school or college, time management is still essential. With the freedom of independent studying and professors who don't really have the time or care to scold you, its easy to neglect homework to the point where you end up scrambling through your sociology essay the night before it's due because you have no idea who or where to cite sources from as you didn't brush over the required course readings. My library card is my best friend at times like this. 

#2.  Stay cool, calm and collected
We all throw hissy fits. And it's okay. Its a given when you're under copious amount of stress with school, work and personal life. But don't let constant tantrums and procrastination get in the way of getting the job done. No pain, no gain as they say. Keep your emotions in check, take a breather and focus on the task at hand because all that time wasted worrying, stressing and complaining will get you nowhere. 

#3.  Don't get sucked into peer pressure
I can't stress how important this is. We all have that one kid in class who gets the better results or that one girl who gets all the attention. Healthy competition is always great until you end up acting like a bitter biarch and moping over it. Also, at University you get a lorra free time in between classes and meet tons of different people. Its fun to try new things, meet people you wouldn't normally hang with and be a bit rebellious, but sometimes you need to draw the limits and have a bit of self-respect. Don't get sucked into things you're not comfortable with or just doing it for the sake of fitting into the popular crowd. If it don't feel right, don't do it fam.

#4.  Dress to impress NOT
This is a bit of a funny one. I automatically think of that first scene from the Mean Girls' movie where Regina George walks in with her posse of 'Plastics' in the school corridors and Cady just stares at them in complete awe. That's kind of how I felt when I first started University as I felt so insecure about the way I looked because errybodyyy so fly. I remember furiously rummaging through my closet because it was such a pain trying to find new outfits to wear every week. For a while, I did the whole 'never wear the same outfit twice' thing but then I thought, screw it. It was causing me unnecessary stress, burnt a hole in my wallet and just made me on the verge of being obsessed with caring about what others thought of me. Of course, its not easy and you will have days where you feel down about yourself but that's okay. Just don't let it rule over your life. Be yourself and dress how you want to. Entering my third year now and I am proud to say that I'm an outfit repeater-er. Sue me.  

#5.  Give second chances 
Following with the previous two points, its easy to be sucked into the cycle of pleasing everyone else and putting your needs in the back seat. As humans, its in our nature to be judgemental and quick to form impressions that may not necessarily be even accurate. What I'm trying to say is,  "Don't judge a book by its cover." Just because your friends may think that girl or guy is a bit quirky, anti-social or obnoxious, that doesn't mean they are those things. Talk to them and then form your opinion. Even if they aren't "your type" or come across as a bit of a loner- embrace the weirdness. You may end up making a really good friend. Don't be so vain in caring about how a friendship with someone outside your group circle may reflect your image and reputation. Bun what people think. 

#6.  Be humble 
Pretty self-explanatory. Don't be an arrogant jerk or boast how awesome you are to others. No one cares. Always stay grounded and approach everyone and everything with kindness. 

#7.  Know when to put your foot down
This is particularly important during group assignments. Its the most annoying thing ever when you're stuck with someone bossy or too lazy to pick up their own slack. Its okay to say no and have a mature discussion with someone you think is weighing down the group and causing irrelevant problems that in return, costs you your final grade. Put on those big girl pants and speak up for yourself!

#8.  ... And when to shut up 
Ever thought that you're the problem? Or making things worse by just saying too much at the wrong time? I know it sounds horrible but always take a look at yourself in the mirror first before pointing fingers. It does not make you less of a person if you admit your mistakes and apologise. You don't always have to speak your mind in everything. A fitting quote, "Sometimes silence, is the most eloquent of replies."

#9.  Fall down seven, get up eight
As mentioned before, you're bound to feel the blues every now and then. Whether it's because of a crappy mark on your essay, personal relationships or insecurities crawling back into your mind, don't beat yourself up too much. Don't let it break you down and your self-confidence. Shake it off and let the experience make you stronger, wiser and motivated to better yourself. 

#10.  Lay off the crap  
Good lawddd. The amount of junk food I've consumed in my spare times between classes is disgusting. This is an advice I need to work on for myself too this year as I want to start eating healthy. I'm a total stress eater who seeks temporary relief through comfort food i.e. countless packet of crisps, chocolates and fizzy soda drinks. This doesn't really classify as a typical, handy university advice but more so one for your internal well-being. Especially for those who live alone/homesick/can't cook all that well, its easy to go into a downward spiral with unhealthy eating habits. Lay off those frozen pizzas and TV dinners, and introduce yourself to healthier options. Start with baby steps like drinking superfood smoothies or satisfying your cravings with low calorie snacks.

And thats pretty much it! Apologies for the lengthy post. With these words of wisdom (pifft), you're ready to spread your wings and fly through your University years with ease and pazazz. Despite how cheesy it sounds, just stay true to yourself and remember to enjoy your time at Uni by making the most of it as you can.

Are you starting University soon? If so, what is the best advice you've been given/learned? I would love to hear your thoughts!  


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