Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to University in the UK

University is a huge adjustment for anyone, but with the right advice and preparation, it can also be the best time of your life!

Shutterstock/Jacob Lund

Going to university seems to be the ‘norm’. After studying hard, and getting through your GCSEs, A-Levels, and any other examinations, it’s often expected that the next step is to jump straight into university.

Choosing to study further at university, however, is a huge decision to make, no matter who you are. Of course, we all hear about the rumors and stories and have a slight indication of what to expect from life as a student. But no one really explains what to expect on an individual level.

Here are some things current students wish they knew before coming to university, and why.

1. The Loneliness

As a prospective student (especially in the UK), you are told to prepare for long, late nights of going out, bar hopping, and making lots of new friends. However, many students would agree that at times, the university is one of the loneliest places to be.

Most university students are reported to have been feeling lonely, at 56%. Credits: Shutterstock/Mariia Korneeva

According to research, 1 in 4 students is lonely ‘most or all of the time’. An article published by BBC explained that ‘University students are far lonelier than other adults.’

Current student, Milly James said: “I feel like the only side of university shown on social media is going out every night and drinking. I didn’t know how lonely it would be sometimes”.

2. Learning to Manage Your Money Wisely

As a student in the UK, you are entitled to a student loan. This is intended to cover ‘the cost of living’. This could include rent, food, travel, or any other living expenses. However, it has been apparent more recently that the loan is just not enough.

Students who are living independently for the first time often find that budgeting with very little money is difficult. This is made worse by the rising cost of living.

A study conducted by ‘Statista’ shows that students in England, in 2021 were finishing their studies with an average debt of ‘over £45,000’.

Compared to Wales, with an average of £27,600, Ireland with £24,700 and Scotland with £15,200- student debt in the UK is an astonishingly high figure. Many students do not realize this until they begin their studies.

The ‘obvious’ solution to this would be to get a job. With balancing a job, university lectures, and all the deadlines that are set- it is not so easy for students to make up the money.

3/4 of students have considered dropping out due to money issues. Credits: Shutterstock/suksom

The difficulty with money shouldn’t be a deterrent for prospective students though. It is possible to make do, and even earn some extra money from a part-time job.

In addition to this, the re-payment scheme works slightly differently from most loans and is a lot more bank-account friendly. Still, though, it is a lot of money and something which has to be thought about hard before committing to…

3. You Can’t Replicate Your Home Life

One of the biggest adjustments students have to make is altering their lifestyle choices to fit their budget.

With food shopping and travel expenses, it is common to find yourself unable to afford the same lifestyle. Many people do not account for the extra cost of living independently and often find themselves struggling to balance funds.

This can be hard to acknowledge at first. With limited funds, it is hard to feel like you are appreciating ‘university life’ to its full extent.

However, it is a great way for students to learn saving and budgeting strategies for the future. University offers a unique situation, upon which you can reflect and learn effective ways to manage money properly.

4. ‘Freshers Flu’ Is Very Real

Along with the newfound freedom to go wherever you want and stay out as late as you please comes the dreaded ‘Freshers Flu’.

Freshers Flu is a British term, used to describe the illness you contract after moving to a new city and interacting with a mass of new people. Symptoms normally include fever, dry cough, fatigue, and headaches.

Freshers flu normally only lasts 3-4 days, and is a lot like a cold. Credits: Shutterstock/ New Africa

It’s basically a more severe cold- but is very common in new university students. It also re-occurs when students return for their second and third years.

The best advice for getting over the Freshers Flu is definitely stocking up on vitamins and paracetamol. Many people are convinced that they won’t catch it- but everyone does!

The best thing to do is to prepare, then when it hits you can get rid of it and carry on!

5. Homesickness Will Be Hard

If you choose to move away for university, homesickness is just one of those side effects which must be expected.

And it’s not just homesickness for your own bed and family, but everything else. The knowing all the streets, all the people, the familiarity. This can be very intimidating, especially moving from smaller towns to a bigger city- but it’s all part of the process and experience.

Learning to navigate a new city, and exploring new shops, restaurants, and cafes are one of the best parts of the university. You learn new routines, and shortcuts and settle in without realizing it.

But, it is completely normal and valid to feel homesick now and again.

Written By

Hiya, my name is Megan! I am currently studying towards a degree in Journalism in Cardiff. I am in my third year, and my goal is to be a successful writer for a women's magazine one day, and possibly specialise in media law! I want my brand to be feminine, meaningful and boundary breaking. Some things about me: Christmas is my favourite holiday, even though summer is my favourite season and I am the oldest sister, daughter and grandaughter!

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You May Also Like


I survived bed bugs while long-term traveling in Europe and you can too! Read this article to stay pest-free during your travels.

Social Media

As summer approaches, it's time to consider whether or not you want to have a hot girl summer.


So you're struggling with the loss of independence at home? Let's try to fix that.


With summer quickly approaching here are some fun hobbies to get you off your phone in order to lower screen time!

Copyright © 2022 Trill! Mag