Image credit: Tulane Public Relations/Wikipedia
Some people find it really hard to settle in in first year, and some find it really easy and make lots of friends. Some people love it and some people feel as though they have to muddle through. Here are a few different and realistic views of people's experience first year and what you can expect.
Unfortunately Charlotte had rather a tough first year and negative university experience, but she’s ploughing through! She talks about how she chose her university - Huddersfield - and what she wanted to study. She also touches on how she coped with not drinking too much, but her advice is to go out an push yourself to be social and you will meet friends. She notes that there are other ways to meet people at uni beyond drinking.
Charlotte also talks about all the new, little things she enjoys at uni that she never thought she would or has never done before, for example a weekly food shop.
She also talks about how she found the wellbeing and health services, and how they were and weren't helpful for her.
She admits that she worked too hard, and you shouldn't do the same, and although the workload isn't too much you make what you want of it and definitely can go overboard.
Abbie Rose definitely had less of an isolated first year with 9 other people living in her flat in first year! She talks about her experience of living with so many people (which often happens at halls in first year). Apparently 10 people is too many, and the flat tends to stay messy, and that there are obviously some tense times. She also talks about how she spoke to all her housemates before she arrived through Facebook and they set up a group to decide who would bring what before they got there and get to know one another.
She warns Freshers of alcohol! Don't drink too much!
She also talks about how it's a good idea to get to know the town and the uni buildings before you start so you don't get lost and can find your way around quite quickly.
Although she doesn't go into specifics about her course she mentions that it's a good idea to make a plan and to keep up with the work as the university won't help you in this respect. She also talks about how she dealt with being behind and struggling with the workload, and who you can turn to when you need help.
Phoebe Slee talks about her part-creative, part-academic course of Make-up Design. As the course has to create a level starting point for students from all backgrounds, her and her peers for first year a bit too easy, but I'm sure it's only going to get harder!
She talks about feedback at uni; that it's different from college in that they don't give you pointers. If you give them a draft of your essay they can’t tell you where you are going wrong or whether you are on the right lines. She also finds some of the other academic aspects hard, such as referencing.
Like many others, she's found the social aspect hard, as well as moving away from home, and still doesn't really think that uni is for her. However she says that homesickness goes away after a couple of months as you make friends and are busying yourself, and that the idea of second year where you can choose your own flat and flatmates is more appealing.
Two crazy, talkative uni friends talk about how they find university in London living at home. Although they weren't in halls they still found it easy to meet friends, and reassure you that you'll find people you'll bond with. They are the most bubbly people you've ever seen, so it's no surprise that they settled down easily; they just advise you to speak to people while you are out and about on campus.
One girl ended up in her second choice university after failing to get the grades for her first, and she briefly describes how she felt after her A-levels and her thought process when applying for university.
The also talk about the work/life balance at uni - they tell you it's important to keep on top of your work and go to your lectures, but have fun as well. They also advise getting a part-time job as you won't have enough money from Student Finance to see you through in London.
Three girls from the University of Kent remind you of that very important fact that your social life is what you make of it and you don't need to conform or do what other people say you do.
They talk about their course - they are all studying Pharmacy - and remind you that you do need to do well in 1st year as you might need your grade to gain a placement with a company, and if your grades are low you'll be at a disadvantage. They also let you know that lecture notes are available online before you attend, so instead of spending the lecture constantly taking notes just print them out and fill in the gaps.
They also advise you to start looking for a job early in your first year as you'll get the best jobs before everyone else's money runs out.
Emily's blog is interesting because she got into uni through Clearing and talks about her experience of it. It sounds as though she got a great place through it, but warns you to be ready before A-level day because it all goes so quickly. She felt as though Clearing gave her a second chance, however notes that the downsides are that you don't get the best accommodation.
However her accommodation experience has been a good one! She likes living in the student village and reminds you that you might not like everyone and there might be a few disagreements with people (a theme throughout the vlogs, it seems!), although in general it's very easy to meet people as everyone is in the same boat.
Hawa's vlog is great for helping you prepare for uni and she maps it out for you. Again, she talks about how to make friends without drinking and notes that there are lots of non-drinking events like picnics for you to attend. Her regret is that she wasn't social from the start and didn't join any societies, and it sounds as though she found the first few weeks tough going. However if you do make the effort to be social you can make friends, and the homesickness that you were feeling soon gets better.
Hawa also goes into details about the academic side of university. She talks about the virtual learning environment, which most unis have, where you can get your lectures in advance and any information relating to your lectures. She also talks about how no one is checking up on you so if you don't know your deadline dates you can quickly loose marks.
Abisola's vlog is interesting as she talks from a perspective of not being keen to attend uni in the first place, and still doesn't feel as though it's for her. She finds the organisation of herself hard, having a number of things going on at any one time.
But she also notes that she has learnt to budget and is more aware of money, and in the holidays at home she has found herself missing have her own time and space.