Uni can be both one of the most fun, but also the most terrifying of times of your life. Moving to a new place, a new school, with complete strangers - *shudder*. But while it can be the extroverted gal's teenage dream, for some it could be something they dread till the end of summer.
No doubt there's things you wanna know about. Don't know where to start, tho? Gotchu. Here's some things I wish I'd known going into my first year of uni!
1. Everyone's a little scared
No matter how confident people appear, everyone's lowkey a little nervous or scared. International students have had to say tearful goodbye to their parents almost halfway across the globe, people have had to leave their childhood besties. Everyone's gonna be a little lost so if you feel nervous initially, dw. It's totally normal.
2. People are friendlier than you think
Yes! This is 100% true. Even that really pretty popular-seeming girl currently has no set friends and would be open to conversation. The first couple months of your first year are gonna be spent trying to find your #pack, but until then, don't close yourself from the idea of speaking to anyone and everyone. Classes, frosh week and your rez halls willl be where like, 90% of your friendship building happens
3. No, you don't have to look HOT daily
Literally, one of the biggest myths I've ever heard. Yeah sure, first day everyone wants to look super glam, trust me I woke up two hours earlier to straighten my hair and look picture perfect. But really, once you unwind and get comfy, uni will seem like home and before you know it, it's 4am and you're in the library munching on cookies in sweatpants with*hopefully* less breakouts than I've had.
4. Dining hall food isn't THAT bad
Now I know as an int'l kid who has exactly zilch cooking skills, that I'd have to be accept res food. But guess what? It's really not THAT bad. I mean sometimes, but definitely do not use bad dining hall food as an excuse to eat fast food. Going to uni already puts quite a strain on that wallet and eating out makes it worse. Try to eat on-campus while you can, cook, or just become besties with that cafeteria grilled cheese
5. Your dorm isn't gonna be huge
Yea, sad facts. Obvs at home we're used to the luxury of our massive four-poster queen-sized bed, while a uni dorm doesn't afford half as much space. But what's important is creating that 'home' feeling in it, which should be super simple after you've done the first couple IKEA runs. Honestly, a big one for me is posters - fill up the walls, fill up the room! This might be your first independent 'home' and despite all the jokes and myths the beds aren't bug-infested or wtv. I almost teared up while moving out of my dorm this year *sob*.
6. Profs don't bite
I can't recall how many times I've stayed after class to speak to a prof about an assignment and then ended up having one of the deepest, most interesting convos of my life. Profs vary tho - some might be super chill, while others could be really strict about deadlines. What matters is finding yourself in that classroom - profs love kids who speak up, give opinions and challenge them. They're gonna remember your name right away, will always be open to help, and might even give you an extension :)
7. You're gonna wanna chill-out
Honestly as someone who's always had a really active lifestyle, uni got to me in ways I didn't even realise. You're gonna have a lot of work, socialising is gonna take up a huge chunk of your day, and at the end of it all you'll want is a fat sleep. Or a fat nap. Don't push yourself against it, it's completely normal to get a little exhausted and laidback. Taking that self-care time is suuuper important - know what your body needs.
8. You're going to meet some of the most interesting people
Oooh, a big one! Firstly if you're going to a massive uni, most likely you're gonna run into new people constantly throughout the day. If you're on a smaller campus, you're going to find it a little easier to connect with the people you vibe with the most. What's important is being open and sensitive to all the diff backgrounds, experiences and lives everyone comes from. You're gonna end up with having heard so many inspirational stories, or end up having mad beef with people you don't agree with. But you gotta learn from both - sometimes it's best to agree to disagree.
9. Be prepared to get #cultured
If you're going to a foreign city for uni, or better yet, a whole other country/continent, there's going to be SO much to learn and explore. I bonded with my uni city by participating in local events at the beaches, or parades downtown. It could be different for you - maybe try the local cuisine, pick up a few words in their lingo, and gosh, DEFINITELY go out. There's nothing that connects you to a new city as much as taking the public transport, walking around, and seeing the most popular sights.
10. You're going to find YOURSELF
Sure, finding yourself amongst so many people is going to feel a lil' intimidating. But uni is gonna ask you this question - what do YOU like? And it's going to present you with so many options to explore. Keep yourself open and try everything you feel intersted in. Never done archery but it's sounds super cool? Go for it. Always wanted to learn swimming but never got the chance? YOLO honey, start now. Write poetry? Take a friend to a poetry slam. The only time is NOW.