But Grand Central has compiled the top tips for students to get you through your first semester with your dignity intact, and hopefully a few pounds left in your purse.
- Study hard– it might sound obvious but after the whirlwind of Fresher’s and adjusting to your new surroundings, actual education can slip to the back of your mind. Remember what you’re there for! You chose to do this course at university with a hefty bill – you should and probably will enjoy it. Take the opportunity to absorb information around your subject area and use the free books from the library while you have the chance. Use the five minutes waiting at the bus stop or the train journey home and to visit friends to read – you’ll be grateful in the long run.
- Save, Back up, Repeat – missing a deadline due to computer issues won’t pass as an acceptable excuse. Investing in a good memory stick and an external hard drive with a lot of memory are two of the best things you can equip yourself with for your university life. Ensure that you save your work as you go and back up regularly so that a spillage on your laptop doesn’t mean you lose the term’s work. Likewise, take out insurance on your laptop so that if it does end up with a cracked screen you can get a replacement.
- Plan your work – you might have been able to get away with leaving essays until the last minute at A Level, but you will need ample time to research around the topic and gather sources at Degree level. Leave yourself plenty of time to gather information and draft essays and set yourself a schedule that you stick to. If you’re doing an arts degree it may feel as though you have a lot of free time, but you should be spending it studying to ensure you can enjoy your evenings and weekends. Work backwards from deadlines and build in contingency time for proof-reading and laptop issues.
- Bag a bag – This is mainly for the menfolk as women will have this under control. Invest in a good bag. You may have got by in life before with a worn-out backpack, but you’ll need a strong bag with a bag for life as overflow. You’ll be amazed at the number of books you rack up in addition to your laptops, chargers, iPads, and various passes and discount cards. Then there’s gym kit and materials needed for clubs and societies. Do yourself a favour and get a good bag now to see you through.
- Heels have no place on campus – Abandon those heels on day one of term, ladies. You may be the girliest of girls and never caught dead without your stilettos, but they have no place on a campus of students dashing between lectures and hauling books on and off public transport. Invest in some (comfortable) flats and save the heels for nights out.
- Stay positive – At some point in the first term you will feel unwell, have pangs of homesickness and question your choice of halls/course/city. This is completely normal and will subside. And if you genuinely think you have made the wrong decision on your course, there are often ways that you can switch during the first semester. Visit the student guidance team who are there to support you and give advice on how to go about this.
- Enjoy yourself! – You’ve made it into university after all this hard work, enjoy every minute of this amazing opportunity. A new city, an interesting course and new friends to share it all with. These next three years will fly by at an unbelievable pace so don’t let them pass you by. Make an active effort to do everything you want to do because now is the time the time to do it.
Students travelling by train with Grand Central can benefit from a further 10% off Advance train fares when booking with an NUS extra card. The discount, exclusive to Grand Central and sister company CrossCountry, is in addition to the 16-25 Railcard saving, meaning students have the potential to save even more when travelling on Grand Central’s North East and West Riding routes.