How can you get the most out of your time at university?
Beginning university can be a daunting experience, with lots of tasks to complete and friends to make, not to mention the fact that you may be moving out of your parents' home and into a new city such as Cardiff, which may seem quite busy if you're from somewhere a little quieter.
As such, it can be all too easy to question whether you've made the right choice, but don’t panic, as Capital Properties have collated a few tips to help you get the most out of your university experience. While university isn't one-size-fits-all, these ideas should help subdue that initial worry and make way for the life-changing experience that university offers!
Make your new city your home
If you’re moving to Cardiff for your studies, it can be difficult to shake off that tourist feeling upon arriving in such a varied and culturally rich city. Letting this feeling linger could prevent you from really connecting with your new environment, leaving you longing for the family home when the holidays roll around.
To conquer this feeling, scout out the nearest cultural and artistic hot spots like Cathays and Roath (or Canton slightly further out), make friends with your local coffee shop, and take a tour with someone who knows the place well. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a free library card sooner rather than later! If you set yourself on the path to becoming a true Cardiffian right away, you’ll become less dependent on the life you left at home and will feel less like a tourist and more like a resident.
Don't forget to broaden your horizons!
Becoming comfortable in your new home is great, but exploring the surroundings further out and making the most of your free time by travelling to different locations will allow you to absorb a variety of new and exciting cultures
Broadening your horizons doesn't have to mean booking a three-week holiday in Spain, it could be a day trip to a new city in the UK, or a weekend away to a European city such as Paris, Amsterdam or Lanzarote. There’s a lot to see and experience, so make the most out of your student discounts while you can to enjoy the long university breaks!
It can be easy to forget sometimes that your student loan is just that - a loan. It’s great to discover the world and enjoy your time, but it’s also important to ensure your student loan is used appropriately, and the key to making this happen is to manage your money.
No one will begrudge you that new outfit or a post-exam comfort pizza; however, if you find yourself spending without counting only to break into a cold sweat at the thought of checking your bank balance, then take a breath and spend some time thinking of more appropriate ways to use your money. You can also look into getting a part-time job; you’ll definitely approach spending your money differently when you've worked hard to earn it!
Develop a hobby - or find a new one
Many students can get tangled in a web of new friends and things to study, which makes it easy to lose focus on yourself and neglect the things you used to be passionate about as you attempt to forge a new sense of identity.
However, if you’re a passionate photographer, a talented artist or a crafty cook for instance, your hobbies are vital to your overall wellbeing and are great for relieving stress, and could even prove key to finding like-minded people and experiences in your area. If your hobbies are closer to nature like horse-riding, hiking, mountaineering or even surfing, remember that the Brecon Beacons National Park is just over an hour away from Cardiff, and that cliffs and beaches are easily accessible from the Welsh Capital.
If you don’t have a hobby yet, university is the perfect time to find one, so check out the list of student societies available at your university and join one! Joining a student society or taking on a hobby by yourself is not only a great way to meet like-minded people and share your passion, but it’s also a fantastic way to relax and recharge your batteries when studies become stressful. Developing a skill during your time at university also ensures you’ll undoubtedly have gained more upon graduating than your degree alone.
Allow some time to study
Keep in mind that university should represent some of your most formative years, and that meeting new people and experiencing new things is arguably just as important as obtaining the degree itself. Your studies are food for your brain and should help expand your intellectual horizons, and your hobbies and friends help you develop your social skills.
However, your studies should remain a constant fixture of your life at university, and neglecting them could end up spoiling the experience. Spend a little time working initially on a study schedule in order to balance extracurricular activities and studies, and stick to it. If you begin university by learning when to say no to late nights on the town, you’ll appreciate it later on when the work begins to pile up. It’s a tricky balance to negotiate, but the main goal is that there is a balance between the two!
If you’re looking to move to Cardiff for your studies, check out our available properties in booming student areas such as Cathays and Roath, or alternatively, visit our office in Cathays and speak with our friendly staff; to keep in touch with news in the Cardiff area, visit our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.