Dudes, remember the mad stress of A Levels and how you nearly lost all your hair revising? Of course you don’t, ’cause you just had a badass summer and are preparing to head off to university, a magical land of supreme awesomeness. And since I already know you’re gonna be all like ‘ZOMG, what will I wear? How will I make friends? When the hell do I get my student loan’, I figured it was only right for me to help you out. As someone who has been to university, and because I’m a giver, I thought I’d pen some advice for new university students.
Halls of Residence
This will most likely be the first time you’re living away from your parents, so naturally, the temptation is to go balls out crazy. Totes understandable. But there’s a few things you should know about halls (or ‘dorms’ if you’re of the Yanky variety):
1. They’re filthy
Seriously, you may not have encountered filth before, ’cause your mum kept a nice house, but get a couple of hundred 18 year old living in the same building and filth knows no bounds. Wear flip flops in the shower, have your own bleach handy and make friends with the cleaner. The toilets at my halls were so bad, I occasionally left the building altogether and used the loo at the restaurant down the street. Not kidding.
2. They’re noisy
Within term one, the chick next door to you will have broken up with her boyfriend back home and will be playing ‘Cry My A River’ by Justin Timberlake on repeat for hours on end, full blast, til you want to suffocate her with your pillow and make it look like an accident. Also, people don’t seem to be able to talk at normal volumes in halls, everything must be shouted. There will be sleepless nights. Many of them.
3. There will be at least one drug dealer living amongst you
That student loan doesn’t stretch far (we’ll cover that in a minute), so everyone has a side hustle and for some, that’s drugs. In my halls, the weed dealer lived in room 711, true story (seven eleven y’all, really). I should point out, as a non-drinker, non-drug user, my uni days were different to most and I only knew 711 girl ’cause she was down the hall from me (and the scent of ganja wafting from her room was quite a giveaway). Don’t be shocked by the drug activity – unless they have some sort of operation similar to that of Avon Barksdale from The Wire set up, it’s best to just keep yourself to yourself.
The days before your next student loan installment drops in your account, people are walking around looking like crack addicts going cold turkey (there are already more drug references in this piece than I’d intended). Unless you’re a trust fund baby, this is probably the first time you’ve had a large sum of money land in your account. I hate to be the voice of reason here, but that money has to last you a whole term.
1. Buy the essentials first
Books you’ll need for your course, stationery and all that good stuff so you can do what you came to uni to do (which, to clarify, should be studying) – most important thing. Prada bag = not important.
2. Get a job
I had a part time job my whole way through uni. It’s the only way I could survive financially. Also, my jobs were always in retail, so I got discount on clothes. Two birds, one stone and all that.
Yup, we get it, you’re a student now, and as such, it’s your contractual obligation to drink yourself into a stupor every night, wake up in a puddle of your own vomit and instagram your friends peeing themselves. As the girl who made it through my entire university life without touching a drink or drugs, I’m here to tell you, there are other options open to you. You haven’t failed at university life if you choose not to spend 90% of it off your face. Sure, not living at home, you won’t have to justify your drunkenness, and this is probably the first time you’ve had sex without the threat of someone’s parents walking in at any given moment, and if all that is your idea of fun, knock yourself out, but you know, just…be safe. Most likely, the people you meet in uni will be in your life for a long ass time. Some of my best friends were made chomping on post-club 4am bagels.
Throw yourself in
This is a time of major adjustment. Life lessons are being hurled at you from every direction. Everything’s new and different, but my advice is to dive right in with both feet. My uni career got off to a rocky start (went to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (which I have since renamed ‘de-Preston’), a couple of weeks in I was assaulted by a gang of local yoofs. I ended up leaving after six weeks, moving home and working for the rest of the year before getting in to London College of Fashion) – but once it got going, I truly had the time of my life. I met some of the best people at LCF and have often wondered if Lady Gaga got her style simply by hanging out in the cafeteria there. Live, learn, love, embrace the mistakes ’cause this bit right here, is what sets you up for life.
Now go forth and be great!