Seven things that will make an average uni year amazing


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The Independent Online

It’s not a certainty, but one of the more prevalent risks of being a student is finding yourself well into the second term, feeling stuck on a merry-go-round of naff club nights and cheap booze. Combine this with a degree that isn’t going too well and the prospect of long holidays at home involving reality TV and the occasional chain pub, and you’ve got a classic case of 'second term slump'.

It's this common second term situation that inspired the creation of Refreshers Wall. This is an online ‘fair’ for students, designed to help give their uni year a bit of a boost. It has competitions, special student offers, jobs, travel options - all kinds of things. It’s a great place to go for ideas and inspiration, but first let's run through how doing these five things below will turn your average uni year into an amazing one.

Go on the hometown tour

People often claim they’d love to travel in the UK more if it weren’t for lack of holiday time from work (which presumably they’ll use to go abroad) and the expense of travelling in the UK (especially the incredibly high cost of accommodation).

Well guess what? You’ve got enough holiday time. And the accommodation issue doesn't apply to you because you have have uni friends and they have houses dotted around the country. Well, their parents do. Lastly, you have the incredibly rare bonus of a ready made local guide who can also link you to the inner social and cultural life of the area (your friend - please keep up).

Plan all your friends' hometowns on a map and get arranging your tour. You won’t get a better chance to see parts of the UK on the cheap than this.
Get involved in performance

Now, before you scan away to the next point, we’re not just talking about thesping it up with the drama society (although that’s an excellent option to explore, especially if you’ve let a past interest slip). By performing we mean anything from, forming a band and playing a gig, to joining an orchestra or doing a charity fashion show or art exhibition.

Anything that involves creating something with people and then showing it to other people has a particular quality to it - stronger bonds are created in a shorter period of time than in other circumstances . Plus, the other benefits are numerous; sense of achievement, opening up of new social networks, CV fodder, satisfying ‘the artistic/performing’ need...

Remove stress from your studies

The title of this section could also have been ‘get a better degree’, because that’s what removing stress will result in. And what could be a more amazing boost for your year than upping that grade?

This is obviously a hugely broad area, but a key thing that will make a huge difference is organising yourself properly - improving your planning and recording.

You’ve got a main calendar or diary right? Right? You've got one place (just one) where everything that has a deadline, and that you physically need to be doing is recorded? Yes? Of course you have.

Which leads us onto the tool that can unlock full time organisation  - the one you have with you full time. Take a look at 6 ways your phone can get you a first

Do the 50 things to do before you leave university

If you ‘do the 50’ you’ll leave university with no regrets, we can guarantee that. What is this 50? Please, take a look for yourself here.

Get high for free

There are numerous studies that show helping others lifts your mood. This is why volunteering makes so much sense - and why volunteers keep doing what they’re doing. Everybody looks at them and thinks ‘why do they do so much for free?’- but what they're  actually doing is getting themselves HIGH for FREE. Clever old volunteers.

Volunteering has multiple benefits other than getting you high on helpfulness too. It's great for your CV, good for meeting new people, it can give you new perspectives, and new skills, and also, erm, there's the people actually getting help element too.

Go on an Asparagus Tips Trip

Short-Gap, Little-Gap, Mini-Gap, Snap-Year (ooh clever)... There are many names for doing a bit of travelling gap year style, but not actually spending a year doing it.

The mini-gap is becoming a more and more popular option, not in small part due to the making of inroads into the world of work becoming increasingly more pertinent than hanging round a hostel in Cambodia.

There is also the 'Asparagus Tips' element of a shorter travelling period. With extended travelling there are inevitable boring patches, be that through lack of money, or 'travel fatigue' - losing your excitement and passion for discovery because you've simply been doing it so long. It becomes 'just another vista', 'just another monument', 'another bloody hostel' - they all start to blur into one.

A mini-gap means you've got the money, energy and impetus to have a high quality trip  - you're simply consuming those high quality, delicious asparagus tips of travel and leaving the far less tasty stalks.

Do the year improvement thing that powers the other year improvement things

It's a sad fact but most of the year improving things in this article require a degree of cash. The good news is, there's something you can do that is packed with its own year improving benefits whilst providing the cash to power all the others. Sounds like magic huh? You could call it that! Or you could call it a part time job.

Firstly, a job is an excellent way to expand socially. Secondly, if you can get one that teaches you skills that you feel you're going to need in your future life/career, then that gives it a point beyond just the cash and social elements. It doesn't matter if those skills are fairly general, like becoming more organised, or increasing your confidence in dealing with others - if you're learning something that can come in handy, you're winning. Find a part time job.

So there it is. We guarantee that if you build all seven of these into your life, your 'just ok', or even 'pretty good' year, will turn out amazing. Please feel free to visit Refreshers Wall, the student year planner, to get things started. Forget 'ok', or 'pretty good'. Your amazing year starts NOW.