For me, the transition from school to university wasn’t the easiest. During 6th form I spent a lot of time training for canoe slalom, a sport which I often prioritised over my social life and studies. To then give up high level competitive sport and replace it with a social life and increased work load I felt quite out of my depth. I wanted to write a blog on this topic to give students in similar positions a heads up as to how to make your transition easier.
Get involved – try lots of new things. University is a world of opportunity – everything from trampolining to curry society and more, each opportunity with a different group of friends to come with it. If you try the things you enjoy, you are bound to meet groups of like-minded people who you will soon form surprisingly close friendships with.
Talk to people – Anyone and everyone, get to know them, their course, their college, their interests. There’s a huge variety of people on campus, and getting to know quite a few of them will only add to your university experience.
Get the balance right – “work hard, play hard” is such an irritating cliché saying but nowhere is it more true than at university. As a pharmacy student my workload has definitely increased since school, but every day I find more new and interesting ways to relieve stress and enjoy myself. During my first year I founded the Pharmacy Society and got involved with a national student pharmacy organization which involved a lot of extra work. But, prioritising things and managing my time well allowed me to do this whilst studying and enjoying myself. It’s so important to have that escape when your course work all gets a bit much, or even days to sit and do nothing but binge watch TV series with friends.
Plan your time a little – deadlines loom up all too quickly and there’s nothing worse than doing an all nighter working whilst your friends are busy ice skating, going to the beach, watching TV or doing anything remotely more interesting than work. If you plan ahead just a little you can make sure you get your assignments sorted with plenty of time to still do the stuff everyone else is doing.
Don’t worry about drinking – Before Fresher’s Week I had never in my life set foot in a nightclub, and my total alcohol consumption would probably have fit inside of a coke can. I was worried that because I didn’t drink, I wouldn’t “fit in”, but from day one of Fresher’s Week I was overwhelmed by how accepting people were when I told them I didn’t drink. It didn’t seem like a problem in the slightest, in fact it was the opposite of a problem; I didn’t have to stand and queue at bars all the time! never drunk before was a little weird for me, but no-one made a big deal out of it.
Enjoy it – get ready for new friends knocking on your door every day, events every evening and weekend, a busy social life, and some of the best years of your life.