General Purpose University Advice

General Purpose University Advice

This week was A-Level results week for students in England and Wales — the time when students find out whether they got into their first choice university. I remember it being hellishly nerve-wracking (I barely slept at all the night before my results), but even once it was over, the anxiety is only just beginning. Because preparing for university can be stressful.

In the lead up to university, I read everything I could find. I read student newspapers. I researched which societies were available. I looked online for room tours and vlogs (and didn’t find any, which is why I made videos about Cambridge when I got there). I was lucky that my older siblings had both been to university, as had my parents, so I could ask them for advice — but some people don’t have that, and it’s hard to know who else you can ask. Especially when you’re pretty sure your question is stupid and everyone else will already know the answer and how did you even get into university when you don’t even know that?

Imposter syndrome is real, guys.

You can write an entire dissertation and still think it was somehow a mistake that they let you in.

I’ve written a few posts about university life in the past for this exact reason — the advice and information I wish my younger self had been able to access. I wrote An Introvert’s Guide to Making Friends at Uni. I answered a question about Finding Balance and Routine (something that’s crucial for everyone, but especially those with anxiety or similar issues, and which can be really hard in a new place). And I also wrote a post on What to Wear to Lectures at Uni, because that was something I worried about a lot before I started. 

However, there are probably any number of topics I haven’t covered yet, and I know I have some readers who are of an age to be heading off to university this year, so if you have any questions that you’d like answered by someone who just about survived university despite the universe conspiring against them, I would be extremely happy to write a post on the topic.

Study tips for those whose ability to handwrite is extremely limited? Best napping procedures to balance productivity and fatigue? How to feed yourself when you have ten million food allergies and a shared kitchen? You name it, I’ll attempt to answer it. Obviously, my responses will be from the perspective of someone who went to Cambridge (not a typical uni by any stretch of the imagination) and did a pretty weird course, but I think some things are universal.

(Feel free also to ask very specific questions about ASNaC or Newnham or Cambridge, though I’ve answered a lot of those on Tumblr in the past.)

You don’t even have to be a fresher. Returning for second year and wondering how to do things differently? Returning after a gap and wondering how to deal with all your friends graduating ahead of you? All totally valid.

So, send me your questions, anonymously or otherwise. Leave them in the comments, ask on Tumblr, tweet them to me, or email me at miriam [at] miriamjoywrites [dot] com, and I’ll see what I can do.


This week’s reviews over on the book blog are of We Are Young by Cat Clarke, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, and Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg.

3 thoughts on “General Purpose University Advice

  1. How do you think of balance between social life and work? How important is budgeting? (I’m trying to find a flat rn and the money!) What is a good process for knowing if you want to be involved with an extracurricular or not?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: