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Things We Wish We'd Known in First Year

First Year can be an overwhelming time. Whether it’s making new friends, submitting your first assignment, having a little too much to drink on a night out: we’ve all been there at some point. You can’t get everything right, but some mistakes ought to be avoided. With this in mind, The Saint team has taken it upon themselves to collate a list of things they wish they had known in their first year, so that others may live their Fresher lives to the fullest.

1. Do and go to everything you can.

  • At the Freshers’ Fayre, don’t be scared to sign up for as many things as you want.

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something quirky. You may regret it by the end of the year and look back in embarrassment, but that’s an essential part of the uni experience.

  • If you don’t like something, you can always quit, so there’s no harm in trying.

  • Don’t be afraid to go to things alone if needs be.

2. Branch out as much as possible.

  • Don’t confine yourself in any way.

  • Unless you’re sure that the first people you meet are friends for life, branch out and meet new folk.

  • Go to a range of events and try all different clubs and societies before settling on any.

  • Join lots of academic families before choosing one for Raisin. In most cases, your academic parents won’t be offended if you ditch them for another family — many do it. Also, you can still hang out with them even if you don’t join them for Raisin.

3. It doesn’t matter if the first people you meet in Freshers Week don’t turn out to be your best friends.

  • You’re bound to meet people from other halls, on your course, or at club/society events over the course of the year.

  • So don’t stress about finding your best friend on Day One!

4. Year group doesn’t mean anything.

  • Unlike at school, there is no need or pressure to socialise exclusively with people in your own year.

  • You may find that you click with someone in 4th year as much as someone in 1st year.

5. Throwing up in the Union results in a fine.

  • If you can avoid it, don’t be sick in the Union, as you will be charged.

  • Outside the Union, on the other hand, is fair game.

  • If you are in McIntosh, or have a friend there, it is only a 2-minute walk away, so if you’ve got any pride or self-control, best do it there.

6. Take your coursework and exams as seriously as you want to.

  • You will hear a lot of people saying that first year doesn’t matter and that it’s supposed to be all fun and games. It’s entirely up to you.

  • If you want to work hard and get good grades, don’t let anyone stop you. But equally, don’t feel pressured to be a high achiever.

7. If you’re disappointed by your grades, don’t fret.

  • The leap from school to university is a big one for a lot of people, so it can be quite hard to get to grips with the new teaching style and assessment criteria.

  • If you get your first grades back and they’re not what you hoped for, don’t lose heart — there’s plenty of time to improve before you go into Honours.

  • Speak to your tutors to get as much feedback as possible, as this is the best way of improving.

8. If you’re a guy, it is 100% worth bringing a suit.

  • So as to not miss out on the variety of balls that St. Andrews has to offer, guys should bring a suit - if you don’t have one, buy one!

  • If you don’t consider yourself a ‘ball’ person, be open-minded! Christmas Ball and the various hall balls are some of the best events in the year.

9. You’re better off being a lightweight than a heavyweight.

  • That way you don’t spend nearly so much on alcohol.

  • If you’re the kind of person who can get pleasantly drunk on one pint, keep it that way.

  • So don’t actively try and build up your tolerance.

10. The Third Pablo (vodka and VK combo) is never a good idea.

  • …..but you will probably do it anyway.

  • If you go against your better judgement, see point no. 5.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Richard Sutcliffe

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