Leaving home, family and friends for the first time can be a difficult adjustment. Especially when you’re thrown into ‘halls’ with a bunch of strangers—who are all in the same boat as you, stressed, homesick and nervous. Health professionals agree that this time of a young person’s life can be one of the most stressful and if you have a consistently low mood or lack of motivation, to seek advice from those around you.

On top of this, you have to deal with student loans, room inspections, hangovers, assignments and exams. If you live off HP sauce sandwiches and water for weeks, you go home looking withdrawn and your parents start to wonder what drugs you’ve been taking.

Here are my top tips for surviving your first semester of university:

  1. Do not forget you’re independent – Mummy isn’t going to do your washing or make your dinner anymore, unless you want a bad smell hanging around and a faint feeling of starvation, I would set a day a week for house chores and start making dinner plans.
  2. Make your own lunches – This saves a tonne of cash and avoids that nasty cheap cafeteria food they serve up on campus.
  3. Write up a budget – You can’t blow all your cash on booze, remember you need to eat, pay bills, buy household items, use public transportation. Be wise and don’t leave yourself short.
  4. Copy and paste is a no-no – As well as using Wikipedia as a source of information. Plagiarism is taken very serious within the academic world, the best bet is to write your references and bibliography as you go along. Instead of reaching then end of a 2000 word essay full of quotations and having no idea where they came from.
  5. Make friends with the people on your course – Throw a party or take them on a night out, either way you’re going to be stuck with these people for years so you may as well make the best of it.
  6. Work – Most students have to get a part time job to support themselves through their degree, but don’t overdo it. You came to university for a qualification, not to work. Twelve hours a week should be enough for a bit of pocket money without exhausting yourself.
  7. Use the university library – Buying books all the time can be a real money-sucker, even if cheap online companies are used. Utilise your campus library, but remember the due dates! Library fines can build up too.
  8. Calendars are the key – Keep one hung up in your room, circle all the dates of your assignments and exams. It’s unlikely that pulling an all-nighter to finish your work will get you a good grade.
  9. Medicine, fruit and vegetables – If you stop eating your greens then you’ll be prone to getting sick more. Having a handy draw of fruit and veg in the fridge can be a lifesaver. As well as keeping a medicine box in your room. Who doesn’t need aspirin when they have a hangover?
  10. Clubs and societies – Great way to meet new people but make sure you don’t sign up for everything or your e-mail inbox will be full for the next year.
Charlotte Appleby
I never know what to say about myself when people ask. I’m your average Joe. I’m from a big family and something is always going on. I’ve learnt to appreciate the peace and quiet now. Writing is my real passion; I started my degree in creative writing this year with the vain hope of one day becoming published. I’m working on a collection of poetry, a fantasy novel, stage plays and short stories of all variations. When I’m not scrawling, scribbling or typing, I can usually be found on my guitar. Music is another important aspect of my life and I’ve been playing for over a decade. I also have some weird hobbies like growing tropical plants, fire dancing and collecting coins.