You're about to have the best three years of your whole life. You've no doubt heard that already, either from parents or friends or UCAS, but seriously – it doesn't get better than university. Once you leave you have to get a job, and jobs are rubbish. You have to sort out bills, pay rent, form lasting bloody relationships with stupid bloody people. It all gets complicated once you get out of uni, so for the love of God and Jesus, make the most of this.
I have a few pieces of advice which I'm going to try to disseminate in the most straightforward, least patronising manner possible.
The first thing is make sure you go to all your lectures. And I mean all. This will seem like a drag every now and then, but it's damn important. The exams are hard, the coursework is hard – you need all the knowledge you can fit behind your face. Also bear in mind that the people teaching you are world class. You will never, ever get an opportunity to learn like this again in your life.
On top of that, you're one of the privileged, tiny percent of people in the world who has secured a university education. To do anything except make the very most of it would be obscene. Get in there. Do your job. There are people everywhere who would kill for the chances you're going to have.
Second, when the time comes, make sure you know what to do about moving into off-campus housing. This was a total nightmare for me. Seriously, you've no idea. There are breeds of cat that would have done a better job communicating with the estate agent than I did.
Check out property websites to make sure you aren't getting stitched up on price and confirm all the utilities providers beforehand, so that when you move in you can call them all, set up your new account details and maybe talk down their prices. Also, go and visit as many places as you can. Don't move into somewhere just because it's a bit cheap or looks nice on the pictures or is close to an off-licence. Check there isn't black stuff growing on the walls. Check the oven, heater, etc. are all working properly. If there are any problems, ring, ring and ring the estate agent again until they get someone round to fix it. Make sure you ask for the landlord's number as well, since estate agents are typically harder to get in touch with than actual ghosts.
Third, throw in with some extra-curricular activities. If you're sporty, join a sports team. If you're arty, get on campus radio. Even if you have absolutely no interests at all, there will still be a club for you. Honestly. You'll find a group for just about anything. Ice sculpting? Horse whispering? The ancient art of Stoic Joy? Throwing dogs at...cups? They'll have it all. So, again, make the most of it. Once you leave university the amount of free time you have will shrink like a penis in an igloo, so get out there.
Fourthly, and finally, have fun. And I don't mean that in a glib sign-off sort of way. I mean really, seriously, emphatically, HAVE FUN. Imagine there's a big man in a hockey mask holding a rifle to your head screaming at you to have fun – imagine it's THAT IMPORTANT that you have fun. Because it is. Once again, time is of the essence. Yeah, you need to do work and keep your finances in check and partake in some social club bum-froth, but the most important thing is to enjoy yourself.
Go out. Get drunk. Meet people, talk to them and kiss them a bit. This is the first and last time in your life that all of your best friends will be centralised to one area, the last time you'll get a complimentary few thousand pounds off the government to, effectively, squander on gin and knickers. So go nuts. The one thing I regret about university (apart from the fact I did Film Studies and am therefore not qualified to do any job in the world ever) is that I didn't get out more. At this age, in this place, there's no shame in lager-ing yourself senseless and smoking enough cigarettes to turn the o-zone yellow. For crying out loud, kick back. I can't emphasise enough the unending funlessness of the real world. You have to get out of bed. You can't be drunk all the time. It's like an anti-holiday – it's like Butlins.
After university, for the rest of your life, you'll be spending most of your time doing things you don't want to, like washing up or going to funerals. So heed my advice. Make the most of this time. Do everything you need to do to keep life running smoothly then get blitzed off your head on, I dunno, Gangnambombs or selfiebuckets or whatever it is you younguns are into now.