20 things I wish I’d known before starting university


Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Midwifery
Category: Student Blogs

10 May 2019

Hi I’m Anna, a second year student midwife. Reaching that milestone of the halfway mark of my degree is quite exciting but scary at the same time. The last year and a half has flown by! Thinking back to when I was about to start university seems like a while ago now, but there were so many things that occupy your mind i.e. what to bring, who you are living with, do I really need this as you look down the utensils isle? To make things simple, here are 20 things that may come in handy along the way.

1. ARU, UCAS and other websites have checklists for what you need to bring with you for those living on campus away from home. You just need the essentials (like a tin opener), you can buy things along the way once you’re settled. Plus your flatmates may have things that you have forgotten and may be willing to share with you and vice versa.

2. Learn a few simple but easy recipes that you can rely on (so you don’t have to live off of pot noodle, although I was always say you can never have too much pasta or rice!)

3. Everyone’s university experience can be different, so make the most of yours and all the opportunities!

4. Don’t forget to look after YOU - both physically and mentally and ensure to make time for yourself (who doesn’t love a pyjama day?!)
5. You meet so many new people from different courses and backgrounds - it may be cliché but you do make friends for life!

6. Don’t feel pressured into fitting into the student stereotype – you don’t have to go to all of the freshers events and student nights if you don’t wish to. It’s okay to let your hair down every once in a while and also have movie nights!

7. Freshers flu will likely affect most people - make sure you have a stock of medication, drink plenty of water and binge on Netflix.

8. Try something new and perhaps join a society – choose something that interests you or a sport, but you don’t have to try everything.

9. Your 1st year is just as important as the others, even if people say otherwise - it provides you with the tools and foundations to carry you through to the end of your degree – so do attend your lectures.

10. My course offered a Facebook group which was fantastic as I could ask lots of questions and discuss anything related to my course with my peers before I even started. Check to see if your course offers the same.

11. Try not to leave all your referencing to the end of your assignments – try and do it as you go along as it can be a lengthy task!

12. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support if you feel overwhelmed or worried – speak to your tutors, student support services or even your flatmates as they are there to support you!

13. Your university library will become your friend – take the time to get to know what’s available to you as they have useful resources and 24 hour opening times that will be handy, especially around assignment and exam periods

14. Also on this subject, you don’t need to buy every book, the library gives you access to thousands of books and most have an online version available too through their website

15. In the first year you are trying to remember everyone’s names (which I’m terrible for) and think about living arrangements for second year. Take your time to get to know people and don’t rush to choose who you want to live with.

16. Student loan - don’t spend it all at once as tempting as it can be!

17. Budgeting is key, especially in the long run!

18. Get yourself an NUS card or sign up to Unidays – everyone loves a student discount!

19. You can also get student discounts on travel – it will come handy and save you some money on travelling back home or travelling to placements for your course (e.g. 16-25 railcard, first bus ticket app)

20. Don’t let your washing pile up until you’ve run out of clean clothes (not guilty of that at all….)

But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy and make the most of this new chapter of university. As many say, it will fly by!


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.