For most people, the time you spend getting a degree will be short. When you first move into halls as a bright eyed and bushy tailed fresher, the 3 or so years you’ll spend on your undergrad degree will seem like a lifetime. However, when you’re about to graduate it’s likely you’ll be wondering where all that time has gone, and what exactly you’ve done with it.

Whilst your time as an undergraduate will be brief, the opportunities available to you during this period will be huge. At university, you’ll be exposed to an extremely diverse range of people, beliefs, and possibilities, perhaps more wide ranging than you’ll ever encounter again.

With tuition fees higher than they’ve ever been, getting the most out of university life is perhaps more important than ever. To get you on your way, we’ve put together a few tips to help you ensure you get good value for money from your time at uni.

1. Remember your degree isn’t everything

No, this doesn’t mean skiving off lectures and waiting till 9PM the day before a deadline to finally knuckle down to that essay you were assigned 3 months ago. It’s important to focus on academia when you need to, but you should remember that this is only one side of student life. The first step to getting value for money is to remind yourself of the range of other activities available to you, and to seek out the fresh, exciting, and often weird underbelly of student life.

2. Seek out societies

Interested in football? Politics? Dressing up as a dwarf and hitting people with sticks in a wooded enclosure? Guess what; so are others. Whatever you’re interested in, it’s likely there’ll be a society full of likeminded people waiting for you to join in. You’ll make new friends, get involved in activities you’re truly interested in, and most probably go on a few socials. Or, even better, why not join a society you know nothing about; you might just discover there’s a whole new hobby waiting for you to discover it. Plus, in the event that your university doesn’t have a shadow puppetry or Tuvaluan throat singing society, you could always show the initiative and set one up yourself; something employers are sure to view in a good light.

3. Get out of the university bubble

Just like how your time as a student doesn’t just have to be about your degree, university doesn’t just have to be about university either. Sounds confusing, but hear us out. Spending 3 years living with students, attending lectures with students, and socialising with students can give you a warped idea of the real world. Plus, depending on what you do to burst the bubble, you could give yourself some real long term benefits. One way to get out, and give back to your adopted local community is to do some volunteering. Charity organisations like the youth orientated Army Cadet Force are more than happy to accept student volunteers, and the range of activities on show is sure to appeal to a huge range of interests and expectations. Volunteering can give you a chance to gain experience in a number of areas, meet people from backgrounds you might not encounter at university, and could even help you secure an idea of what you’d like to do when you graduate. We’re sure it doesn’t need to be said, but volunteering is also a great way to add a little boost to your C.V, with prospective employers viewing those who give up a little of their spare time to help others in good stead.

A simple three tips is nowhere near enough to tell you about all the possibilities available to you as a student. With everyone telling you you’re in the prime of your life, it can sometimes be easy to feel doubtful about these claims. However, if you’re ever feeling restless, bored, or unsure of how to best make use of your 3 years, we urge you to remember these tips. Hopefully, you should then be on your way to a productive happy, and helpful student life.