Before writing this article I went through a number of different topics in regards to what I could write about. I started off thinking about money, then work, then assignments, time management and more. Finally I decided that I hadn’t wrote an article around ‘STUDENT WORRIES’ in a while and thought it was time to revisit that theme. However, I couldn’t think of a singular theme to write about – as I established above, so, I had a little think. I finally decided that a huge student worry, before you’re a student, is being a student.
When I first decided to go to university, my biggest fear was being a student. Specifically, a university student. Growing up, all I’d heard was stories about how being a student revolved around being intoxicated all the time with 9am lectures, spending money you don’t have and being in debt and completely forgetting what normal food is because all you are doing is eating takeaway all the time. Therefore, I was terrified for that life.
However here I am in my second year of university and as of current, I’ve had no major problems with student life. Sure, I’ve been intoxicated sometimes (cough, cough) and had to wake up for 9am lectures with massive hangovers. Of course I’ve spent money that I don’t have and been in my overdraft, but I’ve always planned to do that – I’ve had control and you know I’ve definitely chucked out regular food in replacement for takeaway’s every other night (I wouldn’t suggest that last one). Therefore, despite being terrified of being a student, I became a stereotypical student.
What have I learned whilst being a student?
- MONEY: You’ll either have loads or none. It depends on whether you have a job or depending on your student finance etc etc. In first year, for example, I had around £80 a week to live off. That was without a job and what my student finance allowed to live on. However, now I live in the student house and it costs a little more than accommodation did last year so I’m down to £33 a week to live on. (It was a struggle to change). It’s just important that before you start university, be it first – second or third year, plan out your money. Have a look at your student finance, take away how much your accommodation is going to cost and see what you’re left with. Devide it by the number of weeks inbetween each payment and there you go. Now for some people you’ll be like me and have loads to live on or like others and have nothing. That’s when you need to get a small job to support you – however there is the whole other side of looking at whether your parents give you money or you get bursaries etc.
- TIME: Depending on your course depends on how much ‘free time’ you’ll have. With my course, my ‘contact hours’ at Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10-1. Which isn’t too bad when you look at it like that, yet you then have to account for my rehearsals when they start to appear again. Which means my time on Monday and Tuesday, as well as time after lectures, start’s being used it. I’m then left with my weekends and evenings. That’s good free time. With other courses you may be in everyday, or your days are scattered and if you’re working at the same time, all your free time is taken up. As with the money situation, it’s good to know when you’re free time is – be it for some down time or social time. Make the most of it but make sure it’s time that you are not focusing on your course or work and just let off some steam. It’s important.
- SLEEP: It’s none existent, get used to not sleeping. Scratch that, get used to either not sleeping at all or sleeping all the time and napping like a baby once again. It’s mixed and can’t be judged to be honest. I miss sleep.
- WORK: Work isn’t essential whilst at university, but it’s ideal. It’s good to start earning some money to give you something a little extra per month and get into the working world. Then again, saying that, it can affect your studies with the added stress yet some people can handle it, some can’t. It just depends on the person. I didn’t work through first year but have worked a little bit in second year and recently got a job managing a drama holiday club at a new business, so that’s out of university hours but may still affect my studies, I won’t know until I get into it.
- FOOD: Food wise, I have had more takeaways then I have ever had in my life whilst being a university student but at the same time, surprisingly, I’ve experimented with a lot of new foods, cooked a lot more and tried new recipes and meals – so, there is a balance there and besides, I love cooking. I appreciate the meal more if I’ve cooked it – sometimes you’ve just got to push yourself that little bit away from the takeaways (I try, I fail).
- COURSE: This came pretty low down in my list… for absolutely no reason at all, just the order they popped into my head. Course wise it’s pretty standard that first year is just a joke. All year you will get everybody else saying how “first year is pointless, it means nothing” etc and finally, you’ll come to realise that it is true and accept it – however, it’s an important year. First year allows you to understand how university works with marking and such and gives you a good idea of what kind of level you are at. I knew I was working on a strong 2:1 throughout all my assignments and assessments so I knew how hard and how much I had to put into my work in second year and so far, so good. It’s important to give first year a good go so you understand what you need to do in order to achieve certain grades etc. You just need to understand your course basically.
As I usually end these articles, there is a lot more I could have gone into and this list could be extended more extensively but I feel that there is enough there to allow you to understand what I’ve learnt through being a student so far.
Another article will be posted as soon as possible.