Thursday, 10 September 2015

14 tips for first year

A lot of people will be starting their first year at university very soon, so I thought I would compile a few tips. Some of these are things that I've done/found useful and others are things I wish I had done. So I hope it's of use :)

1. Take things a step at a time: don't rush into everything all at once. Make a list of things you need to do/get before you move to university, and when you get there, and tick them off one by one. Don't expect it to all happen overnight.

2. Don't expect to be able to do everything all by yourself straight away: there are many home comforts that aren't available at uni, like your parents doing the food shopping etc, so don't expect to be able to do everything completely independently from the very beginning. Shopping with your flat mates is always a good idea and even cooking with them if you like the same things.

3. Don't rush yourself to make friends: I think this is one of the most important things. Don't just become friends and end up lumbered with people you meet in the first week that you might not really like that much. Let it happen naturally, and give it some time to get to know various different types of people, and you'll make the friends that suit you best.

4. Get involved with your course from the very start and put the effort in: we all know very well that you only need 40% to pass the year, but why aim for the minimum when you're capable of so much more? Engaging with your course and doing the reading will put you ahead and you'll be thankful that you've gotten into good habits in first year, as it will benefit you throughout the rest of your time at university.

5. Volunteer: I think volunteering is a great way to meet people, and a great way to meet kindhearted people especially - the kind of people who look out for others rather than just themselves. I volunteer with a student run group at a day centre for the elderly once a week and I enjoy it so much.

6. Try to stay at uni for at least four weeks before visiting home: allow yourself time to get used to your new surroundings rather than looking for comfort in the place you've always known it to be. I left it six weeks, until reading week, before visiting home, and by that time it didn't really even feel like home anymore.

7. Try societies out, but don't force yourself to commit to all of them: during welcome week there will be various fairs, including a societies fair, where no doubt you'll be bombarded with all sorts of information for societies that you didn't think could even exist. Most of them will be happy for you to go along to a few meetings to see if you like it, and if you don't enjoy something, don't feel under pressure to continue with it.

8. If you aren't big on going out partying, don't: or at least don't force yourself to go a lot just because everyone else is doing it all the time. There will be other people who feel the same and you'll find common interests among them.

9. Get your friends from home to come and visit you: it helps you settle in, and it's an alternative to going home. Let them see your new home and I'm sure they'll have fun. I had friends come and stay with me to go to a few gigs in my first month at uni and we had a great time.

10. Learn to handle your budget: this was something I didn't find particularly difficult, but I know a lot of others struggle more with it. Plan out what you're going to eat and write a list of expenses to make sure you're not overspending.

11. Go out and explore your new location: it's no good moving to a new place and not knowing where anything is. During freshers' week my college, and I think most of the colleges at my university, held a tour of the main city, which I found really beneficial. It made me more confident that I knew where I was going and equally made me want to see more of the city.

12. Arrive a little early on move in day to ensure you get good kitchen cupboard space: this is something I didn't even think about in first year and something I regret not doing. I was left with the smallest food storage cupboard and really limited space for my kitchen utensils. Get in early to avoid missing out, but also be willing to help make more space for anyone who might show up late.

13. If you get your clothes out of the tumble dryer as soon as it's finished you'll never have to iron a thing: this is something I learnt after the first wash. And I think it's something everyone needs to know in life, not just those at university. Fold/hang your clothes whilst they're still warm and you'll avoid an abundance of creases.

14. Have fun, your kind of fun: make sure you enjoy the experience, by doing your favourite activities and embracing your course. You don't want to look back in three years time and think about all the things you could have done. And make sure you're not just pertaining to other people's idea of having fun; have your kind of fun.

Wishing you all the best at uni.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour

Saturday, 5 September 2015



On Thursday Charlie and I started celebrated her birthday a few weeks early. I wanted to do something before she moved to uni (which is happening super soon and I'm so excited for her to live in the same city as me gaaaaa), and I know very well that she's an avid lover of musicals. She's wanted to see Wicked for ages so I thought I'd take her out on a little surprise trip to London, to see some sights, eat some food, and watch the musical. And it was the loveliest day. She was so surprised when we got on a train and I gave her a card listing our itinerary. It was wonderful.

When we arrived in London, we headed off to do a little bit of sightseeing, and wandered around Oxford Street, Park Lane and Knightsbridge. We had a gander in Harrods, where Christmas has already started, so that was fun to see. And then we headed to Piccadilly Circus for food (although we did take a wrong turn somewhere and had a detour via Leicester Square before we sat down to eat!).

We had an early dinner at Planet Hollywood (somewhere we'd intended to eat in the past but hadn't gotten around to). It's such a lovely place, with fantastic staff, and the interior is so wonderful, with film props hung about the walls. The food was also amazing; I had the Hollywood Bowl salad, which tasted delicious (and there was SO much of it), followed by the Strawberry Cheesecake - no words to describe just how amazing it tasted (maybe the best cheesecake I've ever had). You can also use a Tastecard at Planet Hollywood to get 2for1 on food, which is always good news.

We then sauntered through St James Park as we made our way to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see Wicked. The show was outstanding. Honestly, the acting was brilliant, the dancing was perfectly on point, and the singing was utterly superb. I highly rate the show and would greatly recommend taking a trip to see it if you're ever in London; it's well worth watching.

All in all we had the loveliest time, and I'm so glad that Charlie loved it. Couldn't be happier with how the day went.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour