It can be difficult making the change from high school to university. For one thing, you have a new found freedom. It is an exciting time in your life. You’re between the responsibilities of adulthood and the curtailing of being a teenager. Especially considering you’re taking on the responsibility of a student loan.
However, there are certain pitfalls that can cause this experience to become a nightmare. We want to make you aware of them, so you can enjoy the best years of your life. And so you can make the most of your student loans – that is, graduate without any bugbears.
Partying shouldn’t be parrying predators.
Unfortunately, we live in a county where crime is high and exploitation of a sexual nature is not uncommon. You deserve respect as a human being, so there are certain things to take into consideration. No one, ever, has the right to pressure you into doing anything you’re not comfortable with.
This means being careful whose home you go back to, this means informing your friends about dates you might be going on and having them check in on you.
Most of all, it means being very wary of anyone who is too controlling.
You know you’re in a controlling relationship when the person you’re with demands to know who you are meeting up with, insists on looking at your phone to see messages, and generally tries to manage you and your life.
No matter how much you “like” them, this does not bode well. You deserve better. Worse, these things always escalate – as often seen in the news.
Unfortunately, you can’t trust your own feelings sometimes. Especially as you are in a state of emotional flux, coming from puberty into adulthood.
When on a night out, be very careful with your drinks. It is unwise to let someone you don’t know buy you a drink.
It is very easy to slip something into it, which will have the consequence of leaving you vulnerable. And on that note, make use of your friends.
Ensure you all have each other’s back. And that means they shouldn’t let you be “escorted’ out of a bar by someone they don’t trust themselves. Especially when you are unsteady on your feet.
Be careful who you board with.
Normally after the first year, many students decide to do “digs” (or find a house) to share the rent with. That’s all well and good, but normally one person becomes financially responsible for the payment to the landlord. If that’s you, ensure you go into a digs with people you completely trust will deposit the necessary money into your account on time, so you don’t have legal issues when it’s that time of the month to make payment.
Landlords are used to dealing with students, and tend to be very harsh with non-payments. The last thing you want is the stress of making that payment because of some or other excuse offered up by one of your digsmates.
In fact, before agreeing to be the responsible party, it might be a good idea to get the other digsmates to sign a contract ensuring they make their payments on time. Speak to a professor at the law faculty if you have to. They will generally be happy to advise you without the actual expense of consulting an attorney.
Be VERY careful when dabbling with drugs.
We all know some students like to get “high”. We’re not here to judge. We understand that university is a time of experimentation. But this carries risks.
We know we may not be able to convince you not to experiment, but be aware there could be serious consequences for you. With the law, for one. With the university, for another.
And, just as importantly, with your studies. You didn’t take out a large student loan just to fail your exams because you were smoking marijuana the night before.
Marijuana affects your short-term memory functionality, so you will find it harder to recall important information related to your course work.
You could end up dropping out, with no career, but a large loan to repay. The banks don’t care about poor life choices. They want their money.
Always carry protection.
We’re not talking butterfly knives or packing heat. We mean condoms.
There are certain sexually transmitted diseases you really don’t want to get. Such as an unplanned pregnancy.
Always insist your partner uses a condom, and if they don’t, walk straight out the door. No excuses are good enough when it comes to the risk of contracting HIV or other diseases.
You want to leave university with a degree, not a dread disease.
Find your tribe.
It can be difficult in the beginning of university to make the right friends.
But do social events, clubs, and sporting activities – because soon you will find like-minded individuals you’ll form a tight bond with.
And this leads to a circle of friends that could last you a lifetime. More importantly, especially considering your student loan, this could pay dividends in terms of networking and future job opportunities.
Say a friend manages to make it into a prestigious law firm. And they know how good you are at, say, medical negligence law, they might recommend you which leads to an interview… you get the idea. Another side benefit of taking out a student loan and getting into university.
Study, study, study.
That’s what you’re here for, right? It almost goes without saying, but many students drop out in their first year – so intoxicated (sometimes literally) by the freedoms suddenly offered to them by university.
And while it is heady stuff, don’t make the mistake of throwing your academic career away because you keep being carried away by nights out. And carried out of nightclubs while in a state of stupor.
It’s just silly.
Rather plan the occasional big night, be resilient enough to turn down offers for a boys’ or gals’ night out and focus on your course work.
Keep studying, keep on top of things, and you’ll keep a perfect academic record. Your future self will thank you for it. It’ll also make taking that student loan out worth it.
Don’t miss lectures.
They have something called “dawnies”. iThese are the first lectures of the day.
It can be tempting to miss them because the bed you’re in is oh so comfortable. Well, the first step towards adulthood is waking up, cleaning up, and showing up.
No exceptions. Otherwise it becomes a bad habit and you start missing most of your lectures. And not doing course work. Soon you’ll find you’re not even allowed to write exams because you’ve not made tuts.
Don’t do it. You’re too invested with your student loan, your future literally depends on it.
So, the key take out here is: have fun, but be responsible or you will pay the price. Unfortunately, with no money to show for it. Then what was the point to that student loan at all?