5 things I wish I knew in first year
When we’re young, we make unwise decisions. But after spiralling down a black hole of regret, we can only turn those mistakes into experiences and learn from them. Sevin Pakbaz exposes her mistakes and tells you what she wishes she knew in first year!
First year can be all kinds of hectic. For some people it may mean moving out for the first time, for others, being the first one to attend higher education in their family. Whatever the case may be, it is extremely rare to go into first year of uni with wisdom. What I have learnt from my experience is that it is totally fine to make mistakes! Don’t beat yourself up; the only thing that matters is learning from them. In first year, I was a little naïve and and didn't put much thought into anything I did. Here I am, (somewhat) full of wisdom nearly three years down the track.
Apply to things ‘out of your league’.
I wish I had started doing internships and applying to “adult jobs” since my first year. I let myself fall into the trap of thinking I needed some kind of qualification and more experience, when in fact, internships and volunteering opportunities are perfect for students with no experience! Do not let job titles scare you and do not underestimate your skills. Even in your first year, you have more potential than you think, and many companies look for fresh faces to join their team. So don't shy away from that 'adult’ internship – apply! It’s also worth mentioning that any experience is better than nothing and you might have to put up with some dry ones earlier on.
Have a separate savings account
I moved to Sydney when I was 17 and before that, I had only one bank account. However, when I started earning money and paying for rent, groceries, gym memberships etc., my bank account balance would dip and rise constantly, which was so confusing. It took me a year to open a savings account and when I did, everything (mostly) sorted itself out. I was able to save more and easily track my spending/savings.
When we are young, we think differently and we experience new things all the time. Documenting your memories through journaling, photos or even videos is a good way to look back on your time at uni, and you'll learn to admire how far you've come and how much you've changed. I got lazy with my journaling in first year, but now I'd kill to go back and read what I was feeling when I first started university.
Have you heard of the "Freshman 15"? In Australia and New Zealand, sometimes referred to as First Year Fatties – it is the five-kilogram gain that often happens in your first few years of uni. It's fine to have a big night out after exam and drink until your liver gives up, but it is not a sustainable way to live. The throbbing headaches and wrenching gut the next day is not classy either. A more appropriate stress relief method that we should all embrace (and I wish I could tell my younger self) is to invest more time in exercise and movement. Whether it is boxing, running, Zumba class or even yoga, physical activity allows you to sweat out your daily uni stress.
Leave an entire day for yourself
I am definitely more of an extrovert and I'm always looking for an adventure. I find it hard to take a day off and just gather my thoughts. There were times in first year where I consistently went out and made plans day after day with my friends. In the short-term that was extremely enjoyable for me and I made so many amazing memories but in the long run I’d be left tired and behind in organising my life. So make sure you leave one day a week to yourself – you need a breather!
First year is definitely one of the best years of uni so embrace the experience. It’s not the end of the world if you go too hard at a Tuesday night Scary Canary silent disco and miss your class the next day. You aren’t going to be broke by splurging your weekly savings on an expensive brunch. Just learn from these things and move on! Even if you’re not in your first year, these are areas we can all improve on in our day to day lives!
Sevin Pakbaz is a third year Journalism and Law student, who loves to blow her money on expensive vegan desserts. Her passion for true crime stories and volunteering keeps her occupied when she should be catching up on uni.