Five years ago I was on my way to Sussex University. Sitting in my Dad's car, next to an old toaster that wasn't needed and a kettle that would burn me more than it boiled water, I felt excited. Anxious. Completely unprepared. It seemed crazy. I'd relished in writing endless lists, delighted in trips around IKEA. Upon arrival, fear gripped me. What should I do now? Where do I go? What do I do? I wanted to vomit. Thankfully, I didn't. What a first impression that would have been...
As students across the UK enter the world of academia; all eager to jump start on destroying their livers, I thought I'd make this Top Ten an educational one. Here I impart with four years worth of experience. Wisdom. And it's free. Take it, please:
1) It's okay to introduce yourself to every person you see, including the maintenance guy. He may come in handy when the light bulb blows at 3am and everyone has to pee in the dark.
2) Make every single moment of Freshers' Week count. No one told me this. Or they did but in a really flippant way as if they had asked me to buy them a pint. 'You want anything at the bar?' 'Yeah, I'll have a Bud, oh and by the way, make freshers' week count.' Doesn't really get into the thought processes, does it? Maybe if they had written it down in capital letters; they seem to do the trick. MAKE FRESHERS' WEEK COUNT. GO TO EVERY BAR CRAWL. CHAT UP THAT CUTE GUY OR GIRL. DANCE ON THAT TABLE. You'll know what I mean in four years' time. Comprende?
3) Don't buy every book on your reading list (or read them). Not only will you still have those books (unopened, in pristine condition) five years later, your wallet won't thank you for it. Then you'll be all, 'Sorry guys, I can't go out tonight, I bought a book instead of dancing and laughing and generally having a good old time.' Sitting in halls, penniless and alone, your new books will start to mock you and that's never fun.
4) SAVE SOME MONEY. The capital letters return. By the third week of uni, after you've paid rent, bought way to much food for one person, and wasted enough money getting wasted, you'll be scraping inside the smelly communal sofa for extra coinage. So be prepared. It will save you sticking your hands down that sofa. Worth the effort alone.
5) Learn how to cook. Even just the basics. A diet consisting mainly of toast, kebabs, chips, and alcohol will age you thirty years. And possibly give you an eating disorder.
6) Go to the Freshers' Fair. You may think it looks like a load of drab tables lined up in the drizzly rain with naff home-made posters pinned to trees. You'd be right. But there are freebies. Baked beans. Light bulbs. Spoons. What more could you possibly want?
7) Sign up for the Doctor asap. Yes, there is such a thing as Freshers' Flu. No, it is not a rumour and/or a conspiracy theory. I wish.
8) It's okay to not go out drinking every night. It doesn't make you un-cool or antisocial. It makes you normal. This is good.
9) Attend lectures. You never know, you may actually learn something. Learn, she said? Of course! Remember that grey matter inside your head? The brain. It's quite handy.
10) Whatever you do, DO NOT break your foot a week before starting University. Crutches and drunken people do not mix. Trust me...
So reader, anything you'd like to add?