On Monday I had my last exam and that means I have officially finished my first year at UEA! It’s gone so quickly and I’ve had such a great year – although I can’t believe I’m already a third of the way through my degree!! I’ve learned a lot this year so I thought I’d share some of my first year pearls of wisdom with you…
Joining a society is one of the best things you can do at uni. It’s a great way to meet like minded people and some of the best friends I’ve made are people I met through societies. There’s really no excuse not to join a society because there’s over 200 to choose from, meaning there’ll always be something you’re interested in! There’s also the option to start your own society if you feel something’s missing and you can get enough support for the idea.
2. Don’t bring washing up liquid
This might seem like a bit of a weird one, but in my flat EVERYONE brought washing up liquid to uni so we had a never ending supply for the first few months. At one point, we had 7 bottles lined up by the sink! Think about what you need to bring to uni and what you might share as a flat to avoid all bringing the same thing.
3. Start essays on time
Now here’s a cliche for you: do your work earlier than the night before a deadline. I’ll admit this is much easier said than done because university is a really busy time, but it honestly makes such a difference. For the formative essay assignments I had in first term I was really behind on work and it was so stressful to try and get them done in time. So when it came to the summative assignments due before Christmas I decided to be more organised and start work earlier. It meant I finished them before the deadlines, and in the last week before Christmas I could relax and enjoy all the fun christmassy events going on around campus. Although it can be difficult to be organised, try and put in effort to keep up with work because it’ll help you in the long run.
4. Freshers flu is real
Before coming to uni, I kind of believed freshers flu was a myth, but I’m sad to confirm it is very real, and you’ll probably get it at least twice during your first term. In my first term, everyone got ill pretty quickly in the first few weeks but I didn’t, and I naively thought maybe I’d avoided the dreaded freshers flu. I was wrong. I just got it a week after most people had it! It’s pretty rubbish being ill at uni so make sure you bring some paracetamol and Lemsip with you in preparation for inevitable colds and illnesses.
5. Cooking isn’t as difficult as you think
Like a lot of people, I was pretty worried about having to cook for myself at uni with my limited culinary skills. Luckily, it’s not as difficult or as scary as you think. I was pretty concerned on the open day at UEA when we were shown a kitchen with two devices that looked like microwaves but no ovens. However, I can confirm that they are microwave-ovens which function as both microwaves AND ovens so there’s no excuse for only eating microwaveable ready meals!
6. Beware the cleaner
In the accommodation at UEA your room is visited by a cleaner each day to empty your bin and if you’re in en-suite accommodation they clean your bathroom once a week. What everyone failed to mention about the cleaners is that they will lock your room after they empty your bin, regardless of whether it was locked or not when they arrived. This means you need to take your key with you if you’re off to the kitchen for breakfast in the morning in case the cleaner arrives while you’re out of your room. No one wants to be the idiot that gets locked out of your room by the cleaner. I know, because that idiot was me. On the first day. When I didn’t have shoes on. So unless you want to run around the block shoeless looking for the cleaner to let you back into your room, learn from my mistakes and keep your room key with you!
7. Wear suitable shoes for the LCR
The LCR is our on-campus club, holding club nights on Tuesdays and Saturdays and various gigs and events through the year. It’s infamous for having a permanently sticky floor so make sure you’re wearing suitable shoes when you go. I know someone who wore flip flops to the LCR for a toga themed night and they definitely regretted it…
8. Essex uni is bad
I’m not sure anyone really understands why, but as a UEA student you are expected to laugh at the University of Essex. What’s uni without a good old fashioned rivalry? Every year we have Derby Day, a day of sporting competitions between UEA and Essex. UEA have now won 4 years in a row so it’s a pretty easy rivalry to be a part of.
9. Campus is beautiful
UEA has a lot of concrete buildings and I know a lot of people that either love or hate the look of our uni. Having lived here for a year I firmly believe it is a beautiful campus. From the iconic look of the Ziggarats to the futuristic look of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (also known as Avengers HQ), there’s so much variation. It’s also a really green campus, which I love, and the lake is my absolute favourite part of campus.
10. Get involved
One of the main things I’ve learnt this year is that university is what you make of it. There are so many amazing opportunities available at uni so be proactive and get involved with as much as possible. Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone and say yes to getting involved, whether it’s with a society, academic events, sports, gigs or trips. Opportunities mean more than just what’s available on campus too – Norfolk is a beautiful part of the country to live in, so get out there and explore it. Discover the quaint and old lanes of Norwich, visit beaches, spend a day on the broads. You only get a short time at uni, so make the most of it.