Saturday, 29 September 2012

Freshers guide to being a geek at university


You've made it! High school's in the past and you're looking towards a bright future of independence and heavy drinking. You're starting university.

Unlike high school, university is a place where us geeks aren't the butt of jokes and where there are substantially more of us than back in the old days. It's an amazing place where you meet all kinds of different people from different backgrounds, many of them academically sound.

But the likelihood is that you've moved away from home - far away in many cases - and you've left your old gaming group behind. Fear not, though, as university is a fertile land where you can easily find gamers, anime lovers, LARPers and anyone else you can imagine.

Join a society - Most universities offer clubs or societies you can sign up to. They usually cost a small join-up fee and can offer what you need, whether it be tabletop roleplaying, wargaming, physics or anime. This is also a great way to forge friendships for the future and can help you when you come around to choosing people to live when you move out of halls of residence.

Don't be afraid of showing your geek side - In my experience, people generally don't care what you're into, as long as you're a cool person. More often than not, telling people what your extra curricular activities and hobbies are could help recruit more people to whatever you're interested in. Also, showing that you're smart can have big advantages at university - the more people you can help out with their work, the more friends you will make and a better social experience you will have. Just don't go overboard and write entire assignments, just general pointers will do.

Try new things - University opens you up to a world of new possibilities, so my advice is to go for it and have fun. Don't go to excess, but it's important that you expand your mind and your experiences, which helps you find out who you really are.

Familiarise yourself with the library - You will be spending many hours in the library, both day and night so get to grips with where everything is and how the computer system works. You don't want to be caught unawares by an assignment and have no idea where to find good information. I know it's a basic one, but I knew loads of people who barely used the library and their work definitely suffered. It also saves you from having to buy certain books.

Discover your local area - If you've moved to a new and unfamiliar city then take the time to explore. Find the comic book stores and gaming retailers. Find out where they might do weekly games and sign yourself up. It's sometimes nice to game with people who aren't students, so get involved with the community.