For those starting in September, you might be wondering “What’s the best way I can make the most out of my time at university?” Although many people make a big deal out of Freshers’ week and the activities during that time, people rarely continue to be as active during the university term time. In this blog post, I’m going to go over things you can keep an eye on during the year so that you’re getting the most out of your time here.
You can join societies whenever, not just in Freshers’ Week!
I’d say that the first mistake people make is assuming that you can only join societies during the Freshers Fair. Although that is a prime time to see what societies there are and what introduction events they have, you can join societies whenever! It’s never too late to join a society, and I’m sure they’d all love a new member. And there are so many, pretty much anything you can think of – check the SU website for details. If it’s your thing also look into student media, such as the Mancunion or Fuse FM because they’re always happy to take on new team members and you can do as little or as much as you want throughout the year!
If the university societies aren’t your thing, don’t worry about it too much
It can be frustrating if you want to join a society but timings clash or if you simply didn’t like the energy there. However, don’t fret! Look around to see if there are any local groups you can join that are open to the wider public. For instance, on Facebook groups such as Manchester Girls, there’s always plenty going on and new activities to try. There are also lots of events advertised on Manchester Students’ Group too! Manchester is such a fun city and there’s plenty to do and lots of ways to get involved.
Bonding with your flatmates is great, but don’t worry if you don’t become BFFs
I always had the expectation that if you didn’t become best friends with your flatmates, then you were doing university all wrong. Definitely not the case! Sometimes flatmates might just be too different for you to get along with. And whilst not ideal, it isn’t the end of the world! Making sure you stay civil with flatmates is important so your time isn’t miserable, but you don’t have to be best friends. Try and be open to people, and try and maintain contact and plan events, but if you don’t love your flatmates then it definitely isn’t the end of the world. And, if you really don’t get along, you can always request to move halls or find someone to take over your tenancy.
It’s really important to remember that you can make friends on your course or in societies, or honestly, you might just go to the pub one night and really click with some people – who knows!
(Also, a side tip for later in the year… don’t sign up for houses too early with people you barely know – it usually ends up disastrous!)
Learn how to be independent and do things by yourself
I’m not saying to be a loner, but it’s so healthy to do activities by yourself. If you have anxiety or other mental or physical issues then this may cause problems, but within your capabilities, try and learn to be comfortable in your own company.
If you want to invite friends, then of course do it, but I’ve discovered that, sometimes, it is nice to spend alone time. As a 22-year-old woman, I get people telling me that I’m ‘brave’ for going to concerts or even to the cinema by myself, and I think that’s so odd. Do things because you want to. Be safe, of course, but if you want to do something then I think it’s sad to rely on other people as a source of happiness. If no one wants to go with you but you really want to go, listen to your gut and just do it if you feel comfortable. It’ll make you a more well-rounded person – let’s normalise doing things alone without people assuming you’re lonely!
Balance is key
Social life and academics are both an important part of your uni experience – and maintaining a balance is how you’re truly going to make the most out of your time at university.
Know your limits and be sure to take breaks – this applies to both! You don’t want to burn yourself out socially or mentally, so be aware of your limits and learn to understand what you can do without becoming too exhausted. Maybe going out 5 nights in a row until 4am isn’t the best idea if you have a deadline coming up. Plan when you’re going to do work but be flexible for change if something comes up that you want to do. Don’t be hard on yourself for ‘not working long enough’ or ‘not working hard enough’, but alternatively, don’t let it get you down or give in to thinking your’e missing out if you have to put in some serious library time ahead of a big deadline. Know what’s good for you at the time, listen to your body, and do what’s best for you. And, if you need a break from either, take it! Finding a balance can be difficult, and at times the balance will be quite skewed, but ‘figure out what works for you’ is the best advice I can give.
Those are my tips on how to make the most out of university, and that advice can be applied to whatever stage you’re currently in. Good luck to those either starting September – make the most out of it whilst you can!