5 things I wish I knew before starting university

RGU alumna Marisa discusses 5 things she wish she knew before starting university, covering allareas from using the bus services to making friends with locals.

In this blog post I will share with you 5 things I wish I knew before starting university. There are obviously many more things to do while at university, however these are some of the main things that had an impact on my time as a student.

Explore your university’s city


Travelling around Scotland and exploring new towns is amazing but it is also important to discover your university city. You can visit all the popular spots and the tourist attractions but you can also take more walks, look at the buildings and notice the architecture. You can perhaps find out more by starting a conversation with a local at the bus stop, or at a shop counter with the business owner. By chatting to people you will discover new places to visit such as parks, cafes, a walking trail, a nearby forest, viewpoints, and small local businesses. Another way to get to know your town, is to follow local social media accounts like travel bloggers that post about hidden gems, places to eat, things to do in the area and the official tourism organisation Visit Aberdeenshire, and of course the RGU Student Blog.

Photo taken by @marisa.vogiatzi

Using bus services

You can take the bus to other cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and so many more places for an affordable price but you should also check out the local bus services within the city too. First Bus operates all over the city and there are dozens of day trips that you can take to some beautiful areas including picturesque neighbourhoods, parks, museums, walking trails, etc. Travelling by bus is not only economical but it is also a green and environmentally friendly way to travel. You can use their app to help plan your trips as well as purchasing bus tickets. For me, it was worth getting the year ticket as I went to campus almost every day for either classes, work, or just to study, and I used it for day trips and to go food shopping as well. There are also options to get the semester or month ticket instead. If you do not require long term tickets, you can also explore the Flexible Day Ticket Bundles.

University facilities

There are many facilities and services that the university offers and it’s definitely something that I always recommend students to make the most of. From using the RGU library, learning centre and the printing services, to hanging out with course mates in the common areas and study pods, the campus has lots to offer. One of my favourite things about uni was how easy it was to meet people and make friends, and one of the ways was through sports clubs and societies. There are so many sports clubs to join such as kickboxing, cheerleading, ice skating, climbing, pole dancing and then societies such as Harry Potter, languages, business, gaming, etc. It is definitely worth trying these out and it will give you a chance to explore new hobbies and meet tons of new people. RGU SPORT is also currently offering free memberships for students for the academic year 2021-2022, so it would be a shame not to make use of their great facilities!

Photo taken by @marisa.vogiatzi

Free attractions

One of the great things about Scotland are the free museums. Most museums are free to enter, same goes for the art galleries and these are perfect places to go to on a rainy day. Some of my favourites in Aberdeen are the Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum and the Tolbooth Museum.

Photo taken by @marisa.vogiatzi

Make friends with locals

At your university you will meet many different people from all over the world and that’s amazing. You get to learn a lot about other cultures, and you might also meet people from your own country who are also studying abroad. However, it’s important to also hang out with people from Scotland, so you learn more about the Scottish culture or new Scottish words, and even day to day things that might be different from some other countries, for example waiting in a queue for everything such as the bus and the bank. There are many benefits from making friends with locals in a new country.

What are some of your recommendations for someone who is just starting university?

Comment down below!

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