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Tips to make the most out of relationships, studies and finances at university

Because, coming from us, you know these tips have got to be good.
BY Sylvia Nankivell |   13-03-2019

BrainGain Magazine
Image credit: 123RF/Gregory Johnston

University isn’t just a case of rocking up and getting the best degree you can with a pint in your hand. It’s a big lifestyle change, and one you need to prepare for as a student. There are 3 main areas to focus on - relationships of every kind…. studies of course… and last (but not least) finances. Our guide doesn’t promise to solve every issue life throws at you. But it will give you a pretty good idea on how to proceed in this crucial stage in your development… 

  1. Relationships

    Your relationships at uni can be divided into 2 categories - professional and personal. As you’ll soon see, these can overlap, but generally that’s the rule!

    Here’s a tip. Your tutor may be friendly and approachable but don’t take that professional relationship for granted. A lax attitude to deadlines could turn things sour! Meanwhile, there are your buddies, who you blow off steam with, or chill with over a boxset. If you don’t feel confident making friends, then read more here. There is another side to uni relationships - networking. Remember, some of the people you’re rubbing shoulders with could become future business partners! Having a decent overview of your interactions at uni is invaluable. It turns a potential minefield into a rewarding, productive and above all meaningful experience. Don’t forget that most graduates often rank lifelong connections made at uni as one of the top benefits of the program.
     
  2. Studies

    The biggest ball to juggle when trying to have a social life at university is studies. It’s the key reason you’re at uni after all…

    If you remember one thing it’s this. Plan, plan and plan again! Drawing up a daily and weekly schedule keeps you on track and gets you hitting those deadlines. Have a strong idea of what resources you’ll need, from the right books to the right tech. Kit yourself out, but be mindful of your student budget! Also, just as it’s important to work hard, it’s important to rest and relax. Make sure you get the right amount of sleep for starters.

    Diet and exercise are also beneficial to a balanced student life. With the right fuel and regime, you can feel energised and better able to manage things that crop up. So, once you have a good grasp on how to work both independently and effectively, this becomes great news for your future employment prospects.

     
  3. Finance

    Without doubt the dominant factor of your student existence is going to be money. Students are typically poor, and use every penny they have to make ends meet.

    Here’s the thing. Balancing a student budget may seem impossible, yet it can be done! Being organised, ready to work and aware of free stuff is essential. Budgeting is a great skill to learn, not only for uni, but life afterwards. Creating a weekly or monthly budget helps you manage your spending, and avoids disaster.

    And if you think numbers aren’t your strong point, a range of apps are available that can crunch those figures for you, making things easier. Best of all, some are free. Another thing you’re definitely going to need to factor in is a part-time job. Student loans only go so far, and things like rent, shopping, transport and more soon pile up.

    Freebies are up for grabs to take the pressure off your stressed student finances, you’ve just got to know where to look. There are sites out there, which keep you up to speed.

    When you arrive at uni, there will be all sorts of Freshers events going on to welcome you into student life. It’s virtually guaranteed they’ll have free food and drink! And if you can’t get it for free, you can look out for healthy discounts. For example, Amazon Prime Student gives you access to ebooks, entertainment and much more. Plus being a student is practically a licence to get discounts. You can do this through a TOTUM card, or reductions on travel, thanks to the 16-25 Railcard.

    So, while uni will be a sharp learning curve, with these little tips and tricks you will be able to make the most of it. That’s why you’re there, right?


More on how to survive university:
How to get the most out of international student services at US universities
6 top tips for shopping on a student budget in the UK
7 simple tips for dealing with your exam results
How to find on-campus jobs as an international student
5 challenges and tips for international students in the UK
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