Every September, thousands of innocent, wide-eyed freshers arrive at UEA ready to embark on a new stage of life. For most of us, living away from home allows us to gradually learn skills that will be useful for life: money management, time management and how to use a washing machine. But coming to university is about more than just learning how to live off pasta and value tins of beans. It’s about discovering new places, meeting new people, and gaining the qualifications that will, hopefully, help you to climb the career ladder after graduation.

Unfortunately, three years really isn’t as long as it seems when you turn up in freshers’ week. Before you know it, you’ve reached your final semester and it really doesn’t seem like five minutes since you started. But what if you do only have 12 weeks between you and the real world? Here are five tips to help you make the most of university before you head off to pastures new.

1
Spend time with your friends. No doubt you’ve met countless new people at UEA, from your flatmates in first year to your course friends to those random people you got talking to in the LCR queue. Sadly, even if you’re planning on staying in Norwich next year, chances are many of your new best friends won’t be. This means that now is the time to pack in as much socialising as you can and make plans for how you’ll keep in touch after graduation. Skype, Facebook and a 16-25 railcard mean that meeting up with friends, even those in other parts of the country, is easier than ever.

2
Speaking of socialising, one perk of student life that we will all surely miss is that valuable student discount. We all know how satisfying it is to get 10% off a new pair of jeans, or a free cheeseburger at McDonalds. Unfortunately, unless you are planning on staying in education, you’ll soon have to say goodbye to that glorious discount, so make the most of it now (though avoid your overdraft; that’ll soon be disappearing too).

3
Although UEA is a campus university, you’ve likely become very familiar with Norwich over the past few years, and since it is a bit of a trek for most of us to get to, it’s possible that you might not visit again once you’re living elsewhere. So now’s the time to explore this great city, with its castle, cathedrals, shopping and proximity to some of Norfolk’s best beaches.

4
UEA is one of the best universities in the UK in terms of student satisfaction, and this is partly down to the numerous facilities that provide support to its students. If you haven’t already, now might be the best time to pop down to Career Central to get some tips on your CV and job hunting. The Dean of Students office is also available for advice on stress and work management as exam period looms nearer, and can also give you tips on budgeting and money matters, which will be vital once you start working.

5
Finally, and most importantly, don’t let all this socialising and exploring get in the way of your course. You came to UEA to work hard and gain a degree, so make time to attend all of your classes, complete assignments and meet with your lecturers and advisers if you need help. Their help can be valuable not only for passing your modules, but also for finding opportunities after university.

Whether you can’t wait to leave university, or you’re in denial about having to move on, follow these tips to make the most of your time left at UEA, and come graduation you’ll be glad you did.