Tips for Starters
At the very beginning of the game, your character is quite weak, so fighting is ill advised. An option is to seek valuable ressources (like silver, jade, metal etc…) to gather. Then, you can earn some decent amount of money and buy some equipments (pieces of armour for instance). Playing safe would be my go to.
Remember, you maybe know one spell.. so do some homework to buff up:
Eat, go to the Charter house, study. Go get more resources, eat, sleep, study. Keep your spirits up and drink. The mining and foraging for resources to sell will help fund your post-school magic education; help you get better gear; and survival supplies like rations to venture out longer and further.
Gain a few more spells and maybe start taking out some goblins and wolves. If you find a dungeon, don’t go beyond the 1st floor and use caution when opening doors with keys you find because you may get ambushed with some tougher enemies.
Study, practice, hunt, forage. Buff up a bit, find a second or third town; maybe start hauling resources between them, make profit, study some more etc.
Don’t worry about your rivals… Just focus on getting buffed.
I go storm and arcane to start and can wreck darn near anything by 20, or run fast enough to not get killed.
Take all the resource gathering on board, it will make a stack of difference money wise. Test different combinations of spells too. I also find Earth Tremor and Ice sleet a good comb and also the basic arcane missile with a melee attack can definitely kill stuff. If you get to half your protection then by all means run, lol it may not seem fun but you keep the skill upgrades still.