Let’s Chat…Advice for Uni Newbies and Future Applicants

Everyone from your mum’s next-door neighbour to the lady who gives you coffee at Costa, always talks about how the years you spend at university are the best time of your life. The people you meet. The experiences you have. Even the 9am lectures you must drag your tired self out of bed to attend. It’s all just the best…so they say.
Now I’m not the woman who gossips to your mum, and I’m terrible at making coffee, but I am a Northumbria student who has been studying in Newcastle for a full year now. Learning, making friends and at least attempting to make all my 9am lectures on time. Maybe you can take my word for what it’s really like studying at university and what advice I would give to any guy or gal looking to apply….


First things first, for anyone who is thinking about applying to university…take your time making a decision. I think through all the buzz that is built up around freshers week and attending every themed club event you could possibly think of, people forget how big of a deal going to university actually is. At the end of the day it’s an investment into your future- and a pretty pricey one at that. You need to make sure you’re clicking that Apply Now button for the right reasons…


This year I’m returning to my second year of study at Northumbria University, Newcastle- (and when someone gets the chance to tell me where the past year has gone I’d greatly appreciate it…) First year of university was a whirlwind of eye-opening lessons, both in and outside of the lecture hall. Alongside learning about society and media participants, there was a bit of self-discovery, learning what kind of people I like AND don’t like to surround myself with, and realising just how much time I would be spending in the university library.

As I said I’m studying in Newcastle, and in first year I learnt pretty quickly that the student life here is amazing. From clubs, bars, gigs, mini golf, dog cafes, restaurants…I’m a massive foodie so letting me loose in this city meant I had to become BFFs with my gym. Newcastle is the prefect location to go to university for me as it’s big place but not overwhelmingly big. I can find my way around but every week I’m still finding a new café, restaurant or bar. Plus, my family is only a 35 minute train journey away.
Northumbria University is amazing from it’s campus to my professors. Picture this: a casual Tuesday and there’s a Kripsy Kreme stall outside the library entrance, how can I complain? In first year I became chummy with a gal who’s just as obsessed with online shopping and coffee as me. We spent our valuable free periods finding coffee shops and discussing online purchases of the night before. The best time of my life- sure!

But here’s something they won’t tell you at the university promo fair…First year was also a really emotional time for me, the good and bad times fluctuating in alternating motions. At times it didn’t always feel like the ‘best time of my life’ but looking back now I wouldn’t change anything because I would describe the whole thing as pretty amazing.

I guess what I’m trying to depict here is that: it’s okay to sometimes not be okay at university.

There is so much pressure on making the time at university the best time of your life, which it can be! But it can also be very stressful and challenging. After the buzz and hangovers from Freshers week fade, and exam dates start moving closer and closer, reality can start to settle in for some people. That reality might be that you’re miles and miles away from your friends and family. Miles away from the comfort of simply being at home. That reality might be that you quite frankly don’t fit in with your flat mates, or even like the course that you’ve chosen. University is a serious game and as much as we accessorise it with pub crawls, drinking games and ordering pizza at 2am, sometimes it can get a bit much.
Take myself: a self-diagnosed over thinker and massive stress head. Even a few months into my first year I had doubts of whether I was good enough, whether I fitted in and whether I was just wasting my time. Not everyone will perhaps go through these bad times, they’ll just simply live out their university days bouncing from lecture hall to Wetherspoons. Some people are lucky like that. But for those of you like me, who might come across some low times for whatever reason that may be, you can decide that you tried it out but university isn’t for you, and hey that’s fine. University isn’t for everyone. But you can also choose to accept the challenges university brings, work hard and carry on. I chose the latter option and ended up leaving first year feeling confident and happy with my choice.

Now I’m starting second year even more confident, settled in my new home and dare I even say… excited?

So yes going to university can be the best time of your life. You can make amazing friends, learn new things and make some memories you can laugh about and remember for a long time to come. (That is of course you weren’t too drunk and forget it all the next morning.)
Just remember it is okay to take a step back, re-evaluate and make the right decision for yourself.

P.S. Don’t forget to use and abuse student discount

Love Emma.x

Instagram – emma_sandford
Twitter- itsemmasandford

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