1. Signing up for all the societies (and paying for them all)
My first mistake was paying the membership fee for multiple societies on recruitment day. Put your name down for the emails but do not make any commitments until you have looked at all the societies and have found out what day(s) they meet, how many hours they expect you to commit etc. I ended up joining (and paying membership for) three societies which all met at 6 pm on a Wednesday! My second mistake was thinking that there were enough hours in the day to attend everything on my timetable, do the required readings & assignments, socialise and stay on top of six societies. Nope.
2. Not getting enough sleep
Between the late nights in the city, the late nights cramming assignments and the late nights spent binging Netflix with your flatmates, sleep can become an inconvenience quickly. A good night’s sleep means your body is less susceptible to illness, is shown to improve memory and can help you maintain a healthy weight. It might even save you money – no need for late-night pizzas and no need for a large coffee the next morning when you are struggling through your 9 am class.
3. Doing a month’s worth of grocery shopping
It all seems well and good buying a load of veggies and fruit with your parents on the first day, but it is a bad idea. Honestly. You will not even eat an eighth of them in the first few days and after that they will all be gone off. The amount of mouldy strawberries, black carrots and furry blueberries in my bin in those first few weeks made my heart cry.
4. Not emptying the bins until they’re full
Refer to point 3. Between gone off fruit and veg, those last two slices of pizza you cannot stomach at 2 am and that ready-made meal that tasted like cardboard… they’re going to STINK.
5. Sticking with the same five people you met on Orientation day
The wonderful thing about University is, in contrast to school, you are not stuck with the same few people in your class. Get to know people in all your lectures/labs/tutorials – and not just people who did their Leaving Cert last year. Talk to the mature students, the students you meet in the years above you, the Erasmus students and members of your clubs & societies. University is probably your first and maybe your best chance to meet people of all different ages, cultures, countries and interests – take advantage of that.
6. Leaving everything until the last minute
I am not sure how exactly I have managed to go from that girl in school who had everything done the day she got it, to the person starting their assignment an hour or two before it is due, but I have been told I am not alone. Look, I know that it is tempting to leave it all to the last minute but it is not a good idea. Firstly, you could get sick or find out something cool is on the night before the assignment is due and now you cannot go. Secondly, if you cram it, it will not be nearly as good. Just sayin’.
7. Buying all the books
When your lecturers give you a list of “required” readings and suggested readings and you dutifully head down to the University bookshop and purchase them all with such good intentions… The truth is, if you read the required readings you are doing well, and you can just borrow them from the library anyways. Save your cash for those late night spontaneous Supermacs trips instead.