Ah, Swansea. That’s all you can say really, isn’t it? Arriving in Dylan Thomas’s “ugly, lovely town” for my third and final year, I get more of a sense of returning home than I did when I got back to London after three months spent working in Italy.

That’s what university does to you. It’s an experience unlike any other: where you find out more about yourself in the space of three or four years than you will at any other point in your life; where you make friends that become like family, and where you gain an education that is in no way confined to lectures and seminars.

I was accepted at Swansea University through clearing and haven’t looked back since. Determination to get as much on my CV as possible resulted in my becoming involved with the Siren in January 2011 (back then a brand new project founded by co-editors Elena Cresci and Sammy Siddique), taking over as editor-in-chief in my second year and also being elected as President of the English Society for 2012-2013.

SUSU English Society committee. Left to Right: Me (President), Rachel Hodgson (Social Sec), Bethan-Rhian Norvil (Publicist) and Alex Roberts (Treasurer)

You’ll find publications all over the UK throwing the same tired advice at new students every single year. Don’t spend all your money on alcohol. Learn to cook. Don’t put metal in the microwave. Attend at least some of your lectures. Don’t spend all of your student loan. You cannot escape Freshers’ Flu. Don’t eat the yellow snow. Tea makes everything better. Man/woman cannot live on pot noodles alone, but you can give it a bloody good try. Don’t eat snow (that last one’s actually mine).

One of my favourite things about the first term is witnessing the number of freshers in six-inch heels who are planning on a night in Diva’s or Sin. Please. My advice? Primark flats, £4, they’ll last you at least five trips to Tooters or OMG (four to Sin Savers) before you need to superglue the soles back on.

And my only other piece of advice for all you Swansea newbies? Make the most of your time here, and don’t restrict yourself to the degree + alcohol= university stereotype that the British media are so fond of. Join societies, run for positions in the Students’ Union, get involved in student media, and discover just what it is about Swansea that will end with you finding it very difficult to leave.

By Roisin O’Connor