Dear prospective Surrey Student,
My name is Bradley and I studied Physics here at the University of Surrey. Like many, I have had many ups and downs (but mostly ups, thankfully), and so what follows is a collection of tips along with a bit of an insight as to what to expect while studying.
I remember first arriving at Surrey and moving into halls (Battersea Court for the win!), I was so excited to get started; I wanted to throw myself into University life! I know, not everyone will feel this way - it can be daunting coming to a new place and staying with people you’ve never met before, but remember everyone is in the exact same position. Nobody will be quite sure what to do or where to go just yet, try to embrace it, and as time goes on you will get more familiar with university life and start feeling like a proper student - student debts and all.
Living at University also comes with another challenge, living with strangers; if you haven’t already, be sure to make a group chat with all of your flatmates in it, it might seem obvious, but it can be really good tool for organising nights out or flat meals together, or even just passive-aggressively asking that one annoying housemate to wash their dirty dishes (I can almost guarantee this will happen at some point, a lot of freshers seem to not be used to cleaning up after themselves…). Also be sure to socialise in the kitchen with them and get to know everyone, for many special bonds are formed between flatmates that can last a lifetime.
To get the most out of your time at Surrey be sure to throw yourself into everything you can. Go to Freshers’ Fair: sign up to things you love, things you like the look of, or just something that you’ve never thought of before but looks interesting - try it! Not everything will stick, but the ones that do are a great way of finding new friends and hobbies. It might be clichéd, but there really is something for everyone. Whether it’s sport like running, football or lacrosse, to societies such as the Harry Potter society, Cocktail society, or any of Stag media, there’s plenty, and if you feel there’s something missing, you can always create one yourself.
If you do at any point feel overwhelmed by it all (it’s happened to all of us) or feel a bit ill, the University has some excellent resources you should make the most of: the University Health Centre and the Centre for Wellbeing, both located near Millennium House, which are great to make you feel better, both physically, mentally and emotionally. You can also talk to your personal tutor, who is a lecturer on your course that you should have been assigned to you. The chaplaincy also caters to the needs of many, religious or not.
Finally, study and work, the thing you picked the university for (I hope – the nightlife leaves much to be desired!). It is very important to keep up-to-date with your work, as this is most likely the first time you have had free reign over your education. Personally, I went to most of my lectures, but to be honest with you I do think I learned much better from a recording of the lectures afterwards. It is important to find the best way that you learn, whether that is going to the library to brush up on your recent lecture, or to watch videos and make flashcards on your subject. Having such freedom shouldn’t be an excuse for being lazy and staying in all day and sleeping (although yes, I have been very guilty of that a few times). Be sure to use all the resources available to you at Surrey – you might as well get your money’s worth as you are paying over £9000 to learn after all.
Life at university is what you make it. If you want to go out as much as possible and go to lectures hungover, all power to you for doing what you love, the same goes for if you are a bit quieter and prefer to stick to yourself, or if sports takes over your life. There is something for everyone at Surrey and I would hate if you missed out on something amazing because you didn’t jump in and do what you love. So, my most important message to all you freshers is to embrace it and enjoy it, because before you know it, university will be over, and you’ll be a freshly graduated adult, like me, with no idea what he’s doing in life, but can always look back at the good time he had at university.
A graduate, disappointed to have left Surrey