Any tips for someone going away to university for the first time?
It'll be my first time living on my own and all.
1. The most important thing, I think, is to remember that you're there to learn. You're not there to get grades, or get a degree, or make friends, or do fun stuff. You should do those things too, but that's not why you're going to university. So you should take classes in areas that you like, even if they're hard, or if you hate the professor. One of my biggest regrets in college was dropping an analysis class in the first week because some people said it was the hardest class in the school. Another one of my biggest regrets was giving up on learning abstract algebra because I (and everyone else) hated the professor. I don't regret it because I did badly in the class, but because I still had access to textbooks and classmates that could have helped me to learn the material better, and I didn't take advantage of that to learn something that I really love. So even if you can't improve your grades, if you like the subject content in the class, take advantage of your university's resources to learn that material as best you can.
Sort of along with this point, you should find opportunities to build skills related to your major outside of classes. There was a math club at my school that I never participated in, because I thought, I'm majoring in math, why would I make myself do more math. But now I wish that I had done so, because a. it gives you opportunities to learn things or solve problems you would never get to do in class, b. it gives you chances to meet people with similar interests, and c. leading into my next point, it might give you opportunities to make good impressions on a professor.
2. Try to pick one or two professors that you get along with, and/or whose class(es) you know you're doing well in, and make an effort to make sure they know who you are (by asking lots of questions/giving lots of answers/contributing to discussions in class, and/or by speaking to them outside of class). That way, when you're applying for jobs and/or grad school, you have someone you know will write you a strong recommendation. It may sound hard if you're shy (like me), but if you're shy, it'll be harder to approach professors who don't know you and ask for recommendations. (That being said, if you don't take this advice, don't feel discouraged about asking professors for recommendations later if you need them.)
3. Make some friends, and spend time studying with them and hanging out with them. You don't have to make a lot of friends. Personally I think a few really close friends is better than a lot of distant friends, but this is sort of an introvert vs. extrovert thing I think. Studying with friends is a really good habit to get into. It's more fun than studying by yourself, and both you and the friend(s) you're studying with will learn more than when you study by yourself, AND you'll finish whatever you're working on faster.
Okay so how do you make friends? For me, I joined a few clubs and made almost all of my friends through those. That was easy because my school had an insane amount of clubs and organizations (in the 200's I think), so pretty much anything you could be interested in (like board games and Smash Bros.), my school had a club for it. It's easy to make friends who share common interests. But outside of clubs, you can also make friends just by hanging out somewhere and doing things you enjoy. Just go play Dominion online in a public place, and if someone else who likes Dominion sees you, they'll stop and talk to you about it. For some reason my experience is that college students are friendlier and easier to get along with than other people. I was playing sporcle before class one time and some guy behind me I'd never met before just started whispering answers to me. I'm not sure why I brought up that example, I just thought it was funny.
4. Don't go into college expecting to meet your dream girl (or guy if you're homosexual, but girl again if you're a girl, but guy if you're a straight girl, or either one if you're bisexual, I think I've covered all my bases). You might, a lot of people do, and if you do that's great. But it's not necessary for having a good time in college, and it's bad to have a perspective of "I need a girl/boyfriend to be happy".
I don't drink or party in general, so it's not really fair for me to say this, but I think that aspect of college is overrated. If you spend time with friends doing stuff you love, college will be the best time of your life.
I'm just going to reiterate my first point because I think it's really important. You're not at school to get good grades or get a degree. Those are just formalities that tell potential hirers or grad schools that you've learned what you say you've learned. You're there to learn new stuff. Having this perspective should help to relieve you from some of the stress that comes with difficult classes and tough workload, while also helping you to learn more efficiently (because you'll be studying for the sake of learning, and not for the sake of passing a test).