Recent music graduate, Eve Carpenter shares her top ten tips for surviving university.
Here are my top ten tips for surviving uni…
1. Be open minded! Make sure you go into everything with an open mind you may be surprised! City’s music course has a huge range of ensembles and modules for you – pick something different, try something new. (I didn’t like composition possibly because I found it difficult so lacked confidence with it but when I had to take it in first year I really enjoyed it and ended up doing it all the way through my degree!)
2. Get involved. City offers you a lot of music making opportunities. Join as many ensembles as you can – it all helps develop a great overall musicianship so even if you’re not playing your main instrument it still helps loads. (You’ll also have great fun, make friends and play at some cool events – in my first year we played Samba at the London Marathon)
3. Keep an eye on your expenses – don’t spend all your money at the beginning of the term and run out as the term goes on, remember deadlines fall in the second half of a term so you don’t need the added stress of money troubles whilst writing essays and revising for exams!
4. Save the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves! Okay so you’re moving to London obviously rent isn’t going to be cheap but be sensible and save money in the places it’s easy to save in – for example make your lunch everyday, you don’t need to spend £3 every weekday on that meal deal! – say you spend £3 on your lunch everyday, that’s £15 a week….£60 a month…£720 a year! Okay maybe you won’t be buying lunch every weekday of the year but think how much you could save by getting up 15 minutes earlier and make your own lunch!
5. Start essays and revision earlier than you think you should! Okay I know this is a boring one and it’s probably one we all tell ourselves anyway but in all seriousness it’s important. Maybe you could get away with doing an essay the night before the deadline for A-levels but I would advise STRONGLY against that at uni!! You will need to spend lots of time reading up and researching your topic thoroughly to have lots of great references for a good essay. Don’t submit several papers before realising the importance of good researching and planning for your essays. As for exam revision – after a lecture, write up your notes neatly into something that you can easily revise from in the future. Doing it a second time after learning it will help when you come back to it later and it stops you from looking at your scribbled notes later on and realising you can’t read your own handwriting! If you’re a performer don’t leave your practice late, do it as you go along – regular practice really does make perfect! I know all this because I didn’t follow my own advice in the beginning but once I started to do it it made a huge difference. I actually don’t know how I would have met my deadlines if I hadn’t begun starting sooner than I thought I needed to (the time flew).
6. Uni work! You don’t need to go get a part time job in a supermarket. There are loads of opportunities for work right at uni! Also when you hit that crazy deadline patch if you’re picking up uni work you can be more flexible, taking on as much or as little as you want unlike jobs with weekly shifts that are tricky to rearrange or get cover for and can give you a lot of extra stress. City has loads of work opportunities –look out for student ambassador work at the Fresher’s Fair – it’s great pay, great for your CV and you may even make some friends along the way (I’ve loved being an ambassador)!
You can also find out about lots of part time/one off job opportunities if you sign up to unitemps - just ask at the careers office and they’ll give you all the info you need to know.
7. Student discount! Make the most of it while you have it!! Loads of shops offer student discount especially if you sign up for an NUS card. Make sure you sign up for a student oyster card if you’re travelling around London a lot as it can work out cheaper to buy a weekly or monthly travel card as you can get up to a third off with an 18+ oyster card. In general keep an eye out for any student discount, and remember if your buying sheet music plenty of music shops give student discount – I didn’t realise this until my second year!
8. Work experience! Make the most of any work experience type opportunities that come along – uni isn’t just about getting a degree. It’s also all the opportunities that not only give you things to write about on your CV but will also give you great transferable skills.
9. Eat healthy! It may be cheap and tempting to buy that 24 multipack bag of Walkers but 1- it won’t fill you up and 2- your health won’t thank you! If you don’t eat properly and you’re like me your blood sugar will be all over the place resulting in some not so pleasant mood swings – which won’t help you or your flat mates! So try and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and try and keep eating fruit and veg, it’ll stop you feeling too stodgy and sluggish.
– check out this site – http://www.studential.com/university/student-cooking. It’s got tips on budgeting, healthy eating and recipes.
10. Enjoy yourself! Above all make sure you really enjoy your time at uni because it’s great! It goes by so quickly. I can’t believe how fast my 3 years have flown by. It’s your chance to make loads of new friends who you can make great memories with because even though it sounds cheesy at the end of the day that’s going to be the best thing to take away from your time at uni!