First year is fresher’s mania, and, consequently, fresher’s flu, where you’re finding your feet and exploring a new city. Second year you’re out of halls and into your first shared house; amongst disputes about who’s doing the cleaning, it’s an even greater taste of independence. Then before you know it your final year rolls around. Despite being a veteran of the university lifestyle, have you actually done everything you said you would during all of that first year excitement?
Fresher’s week may be the ideal time to try new things, but it's essential to make the most of your final months at university before graduating into the world of work. As a final year student myself, I wanted to make sure I completed everything I said I would, from eating at the restaurants everyone talked about, to trying my hand at drop-kicking a complete stranger. So I wrote a list of activities that I think everyone should try before graduating. Not only will you get some great experiences out of it, you’ll save some of that much coveted loan too as all of the activities are on a student-friendly budget.
From wine to water
We’ve all been there, itching to go out and dance, but finding it impossible to ignore the minus sign flashing at us as we try to take out another £10. So why not try hitting your city with no money at all, except a strictly limited budget for a taxi home?
Stick to tap water with plenty of ice to keep you refreshed and only go to the bars and clubs that are free - and with spacious dancefloors, of course. It has to be said that watching your highly intoxicated fellow students is an experience you won’t forget and will no doubt be laughing about for days. I guarantee you’ll get the adrenaline rush from all of the dancing without the alcohol. Plus, no hangover...
What colour socks are you wearing?
If you were lonely this Valentine’s, fear not because the solution is simple: speed dating. Long gone are the days where to be single and looking is seen as desperate, putting yourself out there is what it’s about. A lot of universities hold student speed dating events, much like the one I attended in an intimate café setting, with 26 two-minute dates.
Daunting as that prospect may sound, it’s one of the most hilarious experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of. The look on the unsuspecting stranger's face sat opposite when you ask them what colour socks they’re wearing is priceless. Asking the most bizarre questions will liven the evening up no end as well. Even if you’re not in it for a date, which, I would just like to clarify, I wasn’t, meeting new people and hearing their stories is part of what uni is about. You never know, you could come away having been matched with the love of your life.
I’m a firm believer in grabbing opportunities with both hands, and uni is the ideal time to do just that. There’s no point just breezing through uni life like anyone can in my opinion. Whether it’s a charity trek to Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro, there are tonnes of ‘challenge yourself’ events to get involved with. Not only will you have the chance of a lifetime to see a far corner of the world, you’ll also be raising money for some amazing charities. If travelling’s not your thing, stay closer to home and try the city’s half marathon. I’m taking on Sheffield’s in May to leave the city on a high note, and hopefully a speedy one.
Kick things off
Kick-start the remaining months of your third year, literally, with a self-defence class. University-organised classes are usually fairly cheap and those skills are always going to be handy. Hopefully though, you won’t ever need to use them. That said, there is something empowering about being able to defend yourself and drop kick someone with grace and ease. Just use your powers wisely, please.
Bonjour, je m’appelle Hannah
I have long been envious of those who can speak more than one language, so it was only right that learning one was added to the list. It’s all about immersing yourself in to another culture and no doubt making a fool of yourself in parts, but hey, that’s part of the fun right? No sooner have you grasped the basics than you can start putting them in to action in that new French restaurant you’ve wanted to try.
Satisfy your appetite
This is far from just a good meal. This is going to all of those places you have drooled over every day for the past two and half years as you’ve walked past them. You’ve avoided them up until now, reciting the mantra, it’s not cheap for me to eat out every night, and often it’s not. If you look out for student deals and discount vouchers on websites though then these places will soon be within your eating budget.
Besides, you’re saving so much money already from your booze free nights out that at the end of the month, why not treat yourself to that little quirky little tapas place with those amazing pastries in the window?
Hannah Bryan is a final-year student at Sheffield University. You simply must follow her on Twitter
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