I found out last week and I still can't believe it, but I've actually managed it.
Three years ago I packed up my parents car, got on the ferry and moved across the Irish Sea to start the biggest part of my life so far: university. Now that I've reached the end I thought it would be the best time to write a post giving advice to the soon to be freshers out there.
1) do what you love, regardless of what others tell you.
You might get advice at school or 6th form where they might tell you to do specific course because they have better employability or something, but honestly, three years is a much longer time than you think, especially if you're stuck on a course that you hate.
Doing something you love really helps make the work seem easier and slightly less stressful.
2) you might not meet your best friend on the first day.
And that's ok. I was lucky that the first person I spoke to at uni is still now, one of my best friends, but apart from that one person, it actually took me until 2nd year to find the people I now consider to be my closest friends.
3) get a part-time job. Even if you don't need the money.
Even if you're one of these people who gets a healthy loan that they can survive off easily (lucky you!) getting a part time job can do so many things for you. Weekends at uni can be very boring, so it's nice to have something to do that's giving you a bit extra in the bank too! I've also met some amazing people in my job who I hope to be friends with for a long time, and it's a whole other group of people to socialise with. The possibilities really are endless.
4) Experience is key.
Even if your grades aren't the highest in the class, there are ways of impressing future employers by gaining experience in other areas. I've done work experience at several big magazines, and even though I don't currently have a job, my CV looks quite impressive and this gives me confidence when applying.
5) if you aren't happy don't feel like you have to stick it out.
If you get accepted onto a course you've always wanted to do, in a city and uni you dreamed about, but then get there and realise it's actually the last place you want to be, that's ok.
We all suffer from thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else, and then we get there only to find that we were much happier before. Talk about it with someone and don't suffer in silence. It will only make everything harder to deal with. It's most important to be happy, an despite what you think, no one is going to think that you've failed. I had a few moments in second year where homesickness almost got the better of me and I nearly packed my bags for the next flight back to Ireland, but after some long ready phonecalls with my mum or my sister I realised I was exactly where I needed to be.
6) Network. Network. Network.
You never know who knows the right person to get your foot in an important door. The right email from the right person can be all it takes to set you on the right path.
7) Be prepared to make the best memories of your life.
As cliched as this sounds, some of the funniest moments ever have happened at uni with the friends I've made for the rest of my life.
8) Party a little too!
This is the one time of your life that you can enjoy midweek drinking and not have to be up early the next day. Embrace it! I mean, if the price of a drink when you're a student isn't enough to convince you then I don't know what will!
9) Take advantage of being a student while you can!
Student discounts, interest free overdrafts, cheap rent with no council tax and long holidays. I'm starting to ask myself why I want to graduate so badly!
Oh how I wish I was a fresher again!