For many parents, having their child leave home to go to university can be a worrying time. Will they be safe? Are they eating properly or drinking too much? Are they getting any work done? Now, with a new occasional column, London News Online brings parents the inside story on life at university.
Issy MacLennan, a first year student from Wiltshire who is studying journalism at the University of the Arts in Holborn, reports on what it’s like being a Uni Girl in the capital.
The first term at university taught me multiple things, for one the only way to do all of your work in one go is by going to the library and staying there until the Tube closes – so you have nothing to do but drink Red Bull and work.
Another thing I’ve learnt is that no matter how hard you try, Super Noodles will never fill you – they’re 49p for a reason.
I’ve been met with several things since starting my degree; apparently for some people journalism is too “academic” for me to be going to UAL, but then to others it’s met with “is that an actual degree? It’s not a subject is it?”
Both people who said this to me went to Imperial College London, they clearly forgot UAL beat them by 150 points on University Challenge, but that’s alright.
Can I afford to eat? Not really, but I will spend £12 on Glenn’s vodka and GV Smooth, from Tesco, not a kiosk, as although I’m burning money, I’m not burning that much.
Is this an issue? No, since I sleep through all meals. Some people put on weight at uni, but they’re the ones who actually have enough student loan to do so.
My number one tip of advice is make friends with people who work in decent places, for example my flat mate who gets 50 per cent off at Bobbi Brown. So yeah, Mum, you did get a Christmas present that said, “I appreciate the fact that you probably won’t be able to retire at a good time in your life because you have to pay for my accommodation since my loan doesn’t actually cover it”.
This however does not mean you won’t be in your overdraft – I like to think of it as a game as to when I’ll actually be out of it.
It’s not because I’m reckless with money it’s just that the cost of travel in London will always set you back at least £30 a week and part of your social life is very much based around alcohol.
Going out is brilliant, until the inevitable happens and either you or your friend gets spiked.
The fear is very real and to be frank it shouldn’t be – if you are dressed up and looking attractive you should not be panicking about whether you covered your drink whilst talking to that bloke or not.
The greatest night out you’ll have is often when you’re allowed to wear trainers in a club – heels are the devil and they often charge boys £20+ entry. Is it worth it? Only if it’s free drinks.
You miss your Mum and Dad, pets and decent a bed. Being in London, I personally also miss clean air.
One of the closest friends from my course I made through having horrific ‘fresher’s flu’ and her having to give me her water in our first lecture because I thought my lungs were collapsing – I hadn’t begun socially smoking at this point, may I add.
Another problem was through getting conjunctivitis from wearing monthly contact lenses on the Tube for two weeks solid and my friend having to lend me a tissue to wipe my eyes.
I guess the main thing parents especially worry about when their children go off to Uni is whether or not they’re safe.
The thing is there will always be something that happens – someone will get followed late at night, someone will get mugged at some point, and although this is very rare, someone may get murdered outside your reception to halls. That actually did happen.
It’s traumatic and horrible but the thing everyone has to remember is that you will always have someone to protect you if you ask for it; in uni you’re always surrounded by friends and you create a new sense of family.
Overall I’d say the first term of university gave me many things to be aware of but more the sense that I have more things that make myself me.
I’m different to how I was before I left home because I’m surrounded now by people who are more like myself, even if they’re from completely different continents.
I miss home but I still feel like now I’m right where I need to be.