Open days are arguably the best way to seek out which university is best for you. Going to open days allows you to explore the campus and surroundings and ask questions with lectures and previous students about your course or the university in general.
But, from my open day experience, even this cannot answer some of the biggest questions. The sort of questions you don’t really think about until you’re packing your stuff and ready to go, but are still just as important.
From my experience, and just using basic logic, it’s not really something that Universities can tell you, as it can be so subjective. And although it’s unlikely to come up at any open days, it is incredibly important to know when starting off at Uni, else you could end up in your overdraft almost immediately!
It is also, however, difficult question to answer! For the past two years I have lived off a weekly budget of £50 when I had enough for it, and wanted to enjoy myself and go on one or two nights out or social events during the week, and £30 when I am not looking to do much.
So essentially, a weekly budget is a very fluid concept. And although Universities can’t really tell you what yours should be at Open Days, it is most definitely worth asking current students about, or your peers, so you have a good idea before you blow all your money on fancy dress you will never wear again!
The things everyone hears, and the stereotype of Freshers week is that everyone will be in a state of semi-consciousness all week, spending all night in town and all day in bed.
And though some people do choose to do this, more often, Freshers Week is not quite as mad as one may think. And there are plenty of opportunities to not only get to know your flatmates, but your coursemates as well, as most Universities dedicate this week to also having introduction tasks with your cohort.
So fear not, those who worry they may be homesick and struggle to settle in! Not everyone will be staggering around in an alcohol-induced zombie-like state! And you will indeed be broken into University life gently. Freshers’ week, much like any other week at University can be made into exactly what you want it to be! And it really is a great chance to make some close friends from the very beginning of your time at University!
From assignments, to new living conditions, to new friends, and new people to avoid, the first year is a year of discovery. And it really will set you up well for the rest of your time studying!
How different will it really be?
For me attending open days was a great way to get a feel for the place I could potentially be studying and living in, but one of the questions I was left asking was – how different will university really be from college?
In truth, university is different in some ways and not so different in others. The biggest change for me was dealing with the amount of downtime you get as a student.
You may have 9-12 hours of lecturers per week but then find this doesn’t exactly fill up your time! At first this was a shock to me as I had never really experienced anything like this before, but instead of sitting there twiddling my thumbs I used this time to get involved with societies and projects which could help me develop my CV, meet new people and become a better manager of time!
Some of these opportunities (to name a few!) consisted of becoming a student ambassador and getting involved with the Bright Futures society which allowed me to not only meet new friends but also gain employable skills I could put on my CV.
However, this downtime isn’t just a great way to ‘go the extra mile’, but also an opportunity to hang out with the ones dearest to you – your friends! This may include going to the cinema, cooking fajita kits or working through your favourite boxset together.
Overall working on assignments, hanging out with friends and getting involved with societies and projects became brilliant great ways to put your downtime to good use!
Do you have any burning questions about university life? Make a list and ask them at the next Open Days – 28th and 29th of October! I’ll be around as well, so say hi if you see me on campus!