Money! Money! Money!

Student loans…either the worst or the best thing depending on your personal situation. For me personally I got the maximum loan and ended up with a rather large amount of money, plus my new and exciting overdraft. I have always worked before university, but at most I was making around 600 pounds a month, but my first week of uni and I had over two grand to play with and I was excited!!

Now this is some serious advice that most people will not listen to, I didn’t! But be careful with your money at university, be sensible. I got told this many of times by my parents and teachers but I was 18, in my first week of university and had a lot of money to play with, all sensible plans went out of the window as soon as I checked my bank balance. I went shopping ALL day, I consumed so many overpriced cocktails and joined the most ridiculously expensive gym (that I attended once).

I feel like it’s impossible to try be sensible with such a large amount of money in that situation. It’s a new lifestyle, being at university. The uni life style is basically attending your classes(hopefully), and then going out most nights and making a fool out of yourself, that’s what I did anyway. I think it’s inevitable to blow through a bit of money at the start of university, however my advice is to plan! Give yourself an allowance, with a bit of room to play with. The worst thing you can do is blow through it all and be left with a few pounds to feed you for the next few months. Trust me I know! I ate enough ASDA price noodles to feed a small village for a year!

Make sure you have fun, but limit yourself, organisation is key. Make a list of what is essential weekly, then see what you have left to spend on other things, but stick to it. It’s hard and a lot of willpower is needed, that new MAC lipstick can wait. If you stick to it then give yourself a reward at the end of the month, go buy that dress you have had your eye on while doing your window shopping to help you feed that shopping addiction. It’s vital you have something to work towards, saving money is no fun when you have no incentive so give yourself one. One method I used was every two pound coin I got I would put straight into a pot and then if I stuck to my budget all month I could take the jar and spend it on myself. If I didn’t stick to my budget then I could’t touch the jar, then it gave me more reason to stick to my budget next month because there will be even more money in my jar. The main thing in doing this is being strict with yourself. If you’re going on a night out then it is so easy to ‘borrow’ money from the jar to pay for your taxi. DON’T DO THIS. because then it will keep happening. Do not touch it for any reason. This is all worth it in the long run.

Basically, my advice is to have your mini blow out (not to my extent) in freshers week, go for the cocktails, buy some new make up. But as soon as freshers week calms down and you get into a routine, give yourself a budget, and stick by it. It will be worth it when you still have an overdraft available and get your little treats at the end of the month. Do not make my mistakes, I’m still working my way out of my overdraft two years later.

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Motivation

One thing I have always struggled with is motivation. Growing up, I was a lazy child, doing homework the morning it was due, revising for an exam two days before, and somehow I always got away with it. However university is completely different. I wanted to be there, I wanted to be learning and I wanted a good degree. But what was the problem? I have no motivation.

Unfortunately this lack of motivation basically led me to depression. This may seem ridiculous but thats what it did. The whole buzz of being at university wore off for me in a matter of months, and I became a bit of a recluse, when everyone went out to start their day at university I would stay in bed until the afternoon, not even getting out of bed for food, my only happiness at that time was my boyfriend who I barely saw, and going on a night and getting that drunk I would forget my own name. I can’t understand where this came from, I can’t understand why I felt like this, other than the fact I had no motivation. I got myself into a routine where instead of going out in the morning and having a productive day and feeling good about everything, I would instead get up late, then realising I have wasted my day, back to bed I went. I felt like I had no purpose, but it was MY fault, so why couldn’t I fix it? I could cry all night at the fact I had no order in my life and that I locked myself away all day, and how lonely I felt.

It took me a long time and a lot of tears to realise that I was the one that needed to pick myself back up, I couldn’t stay in bed all day and cry, waiting for my boyfriend to come back and cheer me up. Since when did I start thinking my happiness was dependant entirely on somebody else? I realised I needed to snap out of that, pick myself back up and stop relying on other people to make me happy. That was hard, where can you suddenly get motivation to sort your life out from, it seemed impossible. I had to start forcing myself to actually wake up before noon and go into university and this did turn my life around, after a few weeks of forcing myself I was happy to do it. I was back to my normal self.

Although I’m aware of why I got depressed, I still sometimes fall back into that routine and can ignore my friends for days, even pretending I’m not home. It’s difficult when I fall back into it but at least I know now that I am capable of picking myself back up, and I have a lot of motivating people in my life that are always willing to help me when I’m down. I still love university and wouldn’t change going if I had the choice, it’s helping me understand who I am and what I need to be happy, and one thing I definitely need to be happy is motivation.

 

The walking Jager Bomb

So, freshers week! I’m slowly but surely making new friends. Now I’m wondering why I was even scared about this because everyone is in the same situation, needing to make friends. So me and my new housemates are all getting ready to go out for our first freshers themed club night and what better theme to kick it off with than ARMY. Now I have always been a bit of a party animal, going clubbing since I was 15 so innocent me thought ‘a full week of drinking, eaaaaasy’. Wow was I wrong.

So back to our first night out, we were getting ready in our army gear, pre-drinking as the new found family my flat and I now are. Now like I said, I’ve already been partying and clubbing for 3 years so I thought nothing of the amount I was drinking, but then the games started. Imagine playing beer pong when your eye sight is already blurred from the vast amount of alcohol you have already drank, you’re gonna keep losing right? So this is what was happening, it was a vicious circle of drunk little me being too intoxicated to locate the red cups therefore having to drink more and more. Now my friends at home would realise I need to go to bed by this point, however my new housemates who are equally intoxicated by this point did not.

Next on the cards for tonight..CLUB! So we head off in a group of about 70 students and start queuing. At this point I’m making even more friends as we’re all equally as drunk, so equally as chatty. Now once in the club, this is the moment I knew I was going to love university. Everyone was as desperate as each other to make new friends so not only was a lot of drunken conversations happening but also a lot of phone numbers exchanged. I was seriously happy with how this night was going, I had about 13 new phone numbers which meant more friends yay (I’m soon to realise these numbers would never be used due to the pure embarrassment of how I acted that night).

The night pretty much continued the same, and I knew it was time to head home. So off home I went with my housemates, basically a giant walking jager bomb. Now this is the part of the story that shows what a complete mess I am. We managed to get into our flat no problems, I had my kebab under my arm and a smile on my face proud of my first night. It was about half an hour later that the most ridiculous bonding experience between my housemate and I happened. I’m unsure of how the situation happened, but this is how it ended; Me sat in my shower naked with my housemate (who I have only known less than 36 hours) feeding me my kebab.

What a night!

Welcome to Freshers

What can be more daunting than leaving home for the first time? Leaving home for the first time AND going to live with 5+ strangers. It’s pretty terrifying! Once you get over the initial shock of the fact you now have to be an adult and take care of your self and have done your research, including google searches like ‘how do you work a washing machine?’ (I won’t tell if you don’t). You now realise you are FREE. Sleeping in till noon? Eating ice cream for breakfast? Who cares, you can do what you like.

The night before you’re leaving for university, the nerves kick in. You’re panicking about being so far away from home, you’re wondering what your housemates will be like, will you get on, will you even make any friends on your course, what if nobody likes you, what if you hate your course, I could go on for hours about what could possibly go wrong and trust me the night before we consider everything. I was a bag of nerves pulling up to my university, but luckily the movers (third years) put me at ease straight away, they were so lovely and chatty and I felt right at home.

After moving all of my things in, I left my dad to start unpacking and I went for a nosey around my home for the next year. One of my flat mates had already moved in so I popped my head around her door and said hi, and the rest is history, we were best friends by that night. As for everyone else it took a bit of getting used to and a lot of drunken games of ‘never have I ever’ for us to finally be comfortable around each other.

However, it wasn’t that straight forward. After I moved everything into my flat I had to say goodbye to my dad, I didn’t think this would be a big issue for me because I was so excited about having my freedom and the fact my dad will only be an hour away, I should have been fine. But as soon as I shut the door to my dad I cried, I mean I really cried. I am now an adult left to fend for myself. How did I think I could do this? I mean I can’t even make toast. I was alone, and how did I know if I would make friends? I’m not exactly the chattiest, confident person and making friends hasn’t always been second nature to me. The question I kept asking myself was ‘have I made a huge mistake?’, but after a few hours and my new house mate asked me to go for a drink, I was fine. I had one friend and how easy was that? I decided I had made the right choice, and that I could definitely do this.

However, the question of whether I had made a mistake by coming to university is a question I asked myself a lot over the last two years of university, and probably something I will continue to ask myself in my third year. I love university and wouldn’t change coming for the world. However, things always go wrong and its all about whether you can pick yourself back up, and with that I have struggled a lot. This blog is basically going to be about my experiences, good and bad and how I have dealt with them. There will definitely be a few embarrassing stories but I’m sure most university students can relate.

I look forward to keeping you updated.