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17 Things I Wish I Could Go Back And Tell My First Year Self

You’re only a Fresher once.

1. Get stuck in.

It seems obvious, but there’s nothing worse than regret. Don’t let fear hold you back, and jump at every opportunity that is thrown your way.

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2. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

It’s easy to worry that you won’t fit in with your new flatmates and coursemates, but try not to let this stop you from being, well, you. The chances are everyone else is feeling the same way, so be yourself and it will be so much easier to make the right friends.

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3. Try something new.

Not only will you gain friends, but maybe a new-found passion too. If you’re unsure about joining a society, do it. Better to try it and hate it than get to the end of university and wish you’d just taken a risk.

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4. And be more spontaneous.

Make the most of your new-found freedom. Explore new places, go to as many free events as you can find, and enjoy having hardly any commitments.

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5. Don’t miss out just because of money.

While it’s easier said than done, don’t sacrifice crucial memories for a temporary financial set-back. You’re only a first year once – make the most of it as much as you can.

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6. It’s not always going to be everything you hoped it would be, and that’s OK.

Sometimes you’ll feel like dropping out, moving back home and starting all over again. Whether it’s course-related, flat-related or you’re just having a shit time of it, feeling like this is normal and as long as it’s not all the time, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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7. Make more of an effort with course friends.

You don’t want to get to the end of the year and feel like you hardly know anyone. Join in with any events both inside and outside of your course and, who knows, you may just find some amazing friends there, as well as make valuable contacts for your future career.

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8. Get a part-time job.

You’ll still have time to enjoy being a first year. Sure, you’ll be busier, but you’ll appreciate your free time so much more. Plus, a little extra money means a little less guilt on those nights out.

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9. And start saving up now, even if it’s only a tiny amount.

It’s the last thing on your mind right now, but you will thank yourself later. By all means, treat yourself and don’t let money hold you back too much, but if you can, keep a little bit to the side, too.

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10. Do some kind of sport or exercise.

The student lifestyle isn’t exactly the healthiest, so be sure to look after yourself. University sports facilities are often some of the best out there – make the most of them and the discount student rates.

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11. And learn to enjoy cooking.

Don’t live off ready meals, leftover pizza and cheese. You’ll feel better for it and also save some money.

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12. Take any opportunity to improve your CV.

Raise money for charity, go on the ski trip, apply to be on the committee for a society. The opportunities will be there, no matter how small they seem at the time – take them.

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13. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into signing for a second year house.

You’ll feel like you’ve only just settled into halls when people start talking about looking for second year houses. There’ll be rumours that all the good houses disappear before Christmas and that if you don’t start looking straight away you’ll lose out. It’s not true. You have loads of time, loads of houses, and no need to panic and end up signing for a house you don’t really want.

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14. Embrace your decisions, good or bad. 

First year is a time for making mistakes and learning from them. Don’t worry.

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15. Make an effort to stay in touch with family and friends at home.

The odd phone call goes a very long way.

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16. Take first year seriously.

Don’t be fooled by the whole “first year doesn’t count” thing; you still need to pass. Try to avoid setting bad habits straight away; it will make them even harder break later on. Letting your work pile up won’t seem like a big deal at first, especially in first year, but pile up it will and you will regret it in the end.

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17. And, most of all, enjoy it properly.

It will be over before you know it.

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