TEN THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN BEFORE GOING TO UNIVERSITY

How to fit the whole of my life into the back of my mother's Metro every time she drove me to Surrey University. No matter how sparingly I packed, there was never enough room. The big mystery is, even students whose parents have large cars (eg Mercedes) still cannot fit their possessions in.

How to grow money. Even after working in a bank for a year before university, I still found after the fourth week of term that my bank account wasn't going to stand another Friday night in the Students' Union. Joining the entertainments committee was a financial boost - I got into events free.

How to be in 40 places at once to take advantage of all the opportunities university throws your way. I strongly recommend taking part in as much as you can while at university, never again will you got such a varied social life on your doorstep.

How to say no nicely to all those societies in Freshers' Week who desperately want you to join. When the rosy haze has faded, you realise the Exotic Travel Society you've just joined is really just a bunch of train spotters.

How to type. Not only can you get your assignments finished faster but tutors are more inclined to mark typed essays more favourably, presumably because they can read them.

How to surf the Internet. A growing student pastime. Tucked away in a non-air-conditioned room in the darkest depths of campus, you can spend hours surfing a vast ocean of trivia - from the latest discoveries at NASA to what's on TV for the next nine days.

How to cook. Pasta and cheese gets boring after day four.

How quickly one gets old. In the first term there was no problem going to bed at 4am and getting up for a 9am lecture. This proved physically impossible in the second term.

How noisy student residences can be. I'd have invested in earplugs. Just who are those people who get up and slam doors at two in the morning?

How to do laundry. Never put your black jeans in with your white T-shirt!

University life is not difficult for the prepared student. There are no nasty surprises, just a good time waiting to be had. Only the most ill-informed student finds out the hard way that a diet consisting purely of toast and Marmite gives you scurvy.

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