Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Sulayman Khwaja : Politics and International Relations
The big step of moving to University and leaving home came with many challenges and rewards. One of the things I constantly reminded myself of was that I was not alone and everyone else was in the same boat as me; this helped me a lot. In the beginning, with the help of fresher helpers and fresher events, I began to feel more comfortable in my surroundings, and by participating in many activities during the day and evening, I made quite a few friends. By putting myself out there and actively getting involved in activities, I naturally became more comfortable and embraced the new experience.
Another challenge I faced while living out of home was that I had so much freedom and free time that I did not know what to do. Unfortunately, in the beginning, I fell into the trap of shutting myself in my room and binge-watching Netflix all day long. However, as this began to feel more uncomfortable, I began to message the few friends that I had made at the start of my university week and asked if we could go out and explore the campus. As we explored more of the campus, we naturally met more people and played football, which allowed me to make even more friends. These outgoing activities helped me utilize my free time in my first few months at University. In the first month of University, first-year students should prioritize establishing links and connections in their free time. They should also get comfortable with socializing to avoid falling into the trap of shutting themselves in their room.
Another critical factor that helped me adjust to staying away from home was learning how to manage my finances efficiently. Managing my finances is probably the most crucial thing that helped me get through my first year in one piece. It was easy to get carried away with the substantial amount of money provided by student finance, and many people I know fell into the trap of spending all their money on nights out and clothing - Please Don't Be One Of Them! Learning to budget is such an important thing that many people- including myself- were not prepared for. However, every week I slowly began to budget how much I needed to spend on food, travel, nights out, and other necessities; I also began to save money. By setting a limit on my finances, not only did I become and remain disciplined, but I also learned the art of saving, which is highly important if you don't want to become broke in University.
Finally, cooking and cleaning were detrimental to my university experience. In the first few weeks of University, I found the closest and cheapest stores; this also gave me an excuse to explore Loughborough town and become familiar with it. Luckily for me, my mother feared that I would consume too much pasta (which I still did), so she forced me to learn a few recipes from her. For those with little cooking experience, my advice would be to search for essential recipes on the internet and try to create them as best as you can; they will come in handy in times of need. One thing I also need to stress is, KEEP YOUR ROOM, BATHROOM, AND KITCHEN CLEAN. Having a tidy and clean environment boosted my work productivity, gave me a sense of accomplishment when I was cleaning, and prevented me from arguing with my flatmates.
Student, BA in Politics and International Relations