University Series | General Advice

I haven't written a university post in a while so thought it would be the perfect time to write one and take a break from writing about travel. Most of my university posts including my freshers week post were written after I had finished my first year at university. However, I have now graduated after spending three years studying so thought doing a general university advice post would benefit those of you who are off to university or thinking about applying.

I'm by no means an expert but I think my three years have taught me a few things about life at university.

I thought as well as doing my freshers week post I would write about other tips and advice for the whole of first year / university experience, these are things that I have picked up over my first year at university.

Be as open minded as possible 

Try and be as open minded about everything as possible, I'm definitely a lot more open minded about things now than I was at the start of university. Give everyone and everything a chance. The great thing about first year is that most university's are very lenient in allowing you to change courses or change your modules. At my university we had a week to test out the modules  going to lectures and then we decided which ones we wanted to continue with. Quite a few people I know ended up changing their course slightly when they went into second year. If you want to change to a course that is very different to your current one then you'll most likely have to start again but if it's changing from a joint honours to just one subject then you'll probably be able to go straight into second year.

The same goes for people, don't assume you won't get along with someone. First year is the time to chat to everyone. This is something I should have done more of. I was surprised at how chatty and welcoming everyone is in the first couple of months. You have to remember that everyone's in the same situation, everyone's strangers at the beginning. Obviously, as time goes on you'll start realising who you'll stay friends with and the people who just aren't going to stick around or are just not on the same wave length as you but give everyone a chance at the start because you don't know who you'll click with!

 It's possible to have a balance between work and fun

As much as you want to have fun at uni, there are deadlines you have to meet and these are proper deadlines, I say this as sometimes in sixth form/ college teachers give extension for deadlines but at university you won't get this unless you have special circumstances, so make sure you meet your deadlines. You may automatically lose marks for being late for a deadline, this is what happens on my course. Also know how you have to submit your essays/ assignments, your tutor will most likely tell you this near the start of term.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask for help, if you need advice or help with an essay go and ask your lecturer or tutor. I should have asked for help more, even if it was just asking them to read some of my essay, my grades would have probably improved quicker if I had done this. Or ask your course friends, in my third year one of the students set up a study session for one of our modules, this module was my only coursework based module and we had a deadline for it every week, being able to meet up with other people on my course and give feedback, as well as, receiving feedback was really helpful! 

Do your seminar prep

Trust me, you do not want to be the person the lecturer picks out who gives a blank look and has to tell the lecturer and the rest of the group that they haven't done the prep. Yes, they'll be times that you just don't have any time but I always tried to read at least the first couple of pages of the reading and read the questions so I knew the general gist. You also start learning which seminars you need to do detailed prep for and which you do not.

 Make the most of your new home

Unless your living at home and going to uni in your home town or very nearby or commuting and living at home then you'll be living in a completely new place. There will be new places to explore. Make the most if it! I live in a small town and went to university in Nottingham, a small city. It was great to suddenly have so many shops, bars and restaurants nearby. If you already live in a city you'll probably be used to this but these aren;t the only things to explore. For example, Nottingham is home to Wollaton park and Nottingham castle. The first couple of months are the prefect time to explore these places before work gets too much. Or if you're like me you'll end up trying to squeeze them all into the last two weeks of third year!

So learn from my mistakes and go to see the things you want. It's sometimes hard to organise people, housemates go home at weekends or people have different deadlines. But there are always home friends or even your parents!



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