‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); ‘now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet…..’

So it’s the end of first year.

Twenty pieces of coursework, four exams (one of which made me question my existence on this planet), fifteen million gallons of coffee (won’t go there with my alcohol intake – in Freshers my motto came from the great Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, ‘Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker’), enough chicken nuggets to outsource McDonalds and about three hours of sleep overall.

Oh, and a sh*t load of debt – I have looked into organ donation. However, my rubbish eyesight and smoker lungs are not desirable, I’ve spent the entire first year ‘giving up’ but as my flat mate said ‘no one likes a quitter’.

Somehow, when I wasn’t balls deep in Stalin (sounds weirder than intended…he was sexy when he was younger – seriously look it up), I managed to work, volunteer and see London. In my hometown the most interesting thing was watching thirteen year olds fight outside McDonald’s.

Despite ups and downs, I loved it. You only get one First Year; it’s the year that counts for nothing (or in my case 10%) so:

1. Don’t stress about the little things (just get your work in on time and make sure it’s your coursework and not your ‘choccy woccy brownie’ recipe).

2. Lectures and seminars are a pain but try and  go (I won’t lie, my 9am ones were recorded and attendance was not taken – I’d like to say I went to all/one of them). When it comes to exams you will thank god for these notes.

3. Meet people (avoid the drama – it’s just not important anymore).

4. JOIN A SOCIETY, OR A TEAM OR US/THE PRINT – I didn’t realise until Second Semester that you need an outlet for yourself, doing something you enjoy – if you’re nervous meeting new people just take a friend and dive in.

5. Do stupid, fun things you’d never do before – in my reading week I flew to Amsterdam with my housemates (doing coursework in a coffee shop is interesting to say the least – got a First though).

6. Don’t spunk your loan up the wall (you’ll go from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference to Slovakian Dairy lee very quickly). Here are the best things to help save that loan: BUDGET! find the student nights, PREDRINK PREDRINK PREDRINK, download Drinki (gets you free drinks in really cool bars), and oh my Christ Ubereats will save your life (every time you recommend to a friend you get £10). Also as a QM student, you have to go to Dixies when you want some heart attack inducing carbs.

7. Call your parents and friends from home (honestly, they miss you like hell and when you talk you realise you still need your OGs).

8 Don’t sh*t where you eat in Fresher’s, yeah you might think the guy who’s in the room opposite you is a ‘peng ting’ but then he doesn’t call back, leaves the kitchen when you cook and brings back ‘Becky from Geography’. Who, might I add, is slim, tall, tanned and contoured on point while you’re there, short, got a constant Doritos/wine baby, can’t remember when you last washed and actually have a vitamin D deficiency due to your latest Netflix binge – so yeah, you’ll regret it.

^ If you hadn’t realised already I did indeed sh*t where I ate – went very similar but now we’ve been together seven months -, to explain I’d need about four hours and a hella lot of Beyoncé to get me through.

9. And of course the whole purpose of my column, for when you’re not feeling your strongest, there is support (throughout the year I’ll explain it more in depth).

Don’t think that missing home, stressing about work or friends are ‘not worth worrying about’ – yes, they are. If they are affecting you then don’t hide in silence, visit our advice and counselling website:

So that’s my advice! and always remember:

‘University’s like this little world, a bubble of time separate from everything before and everything after’ 

Mhairi McFarlane, You Had Me At Hello



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