University | Tips and advice

graduu

As a new term of university approaches, I thought it would be only appropriate to share with you my tips and advice for all of you that are embarking on your new adventure. Let's be honest - although the sound of a new city, new freedom, new home and new friends sounds like everybody's dream and chance for a fresh new chapter, the reality of packing your life up into your car, moving miles away from home and everybody you know does start to be some what daunting - but do not worry - here is my guide to prep you on everything you will need to know!

Halls/Student accommodation 

Moving in to a new flat with unknown people is never going to be a nerve-free experience but knowing you are all in the same situation does make it somewhat easier. So instead of getting there, locking yourself in your room and hiding your head under your duvet, break the ice by making the effort to get to know everybody, suggest going out for a drink or grabbing a pizza together - after all you will be living with these people for the next year so being able to get on with them will make your experience much more enjoyable! If worst comes to worst and the people you have been put with really aren't your cup of tea, go to student services and ask for a transfer right away, they will try their best to help you! If you are in private halls, just try to ride it out - you will eventually make friends in your lectures at uni so then you can invite them over to your place!

Lectures/Tutorials/Seminars

Yes it is true - first year does not count towards your classification at all, but don't use that as a free pass to skip lectures, attain poor attendance and fail every assignment as you do still need to pass the year! It will also help you get into good practice for second and third year as it only gets harder from here (believe me!) - so put the work in, get familiar with how to write essays 'uni' style and second year will be so much more of a breeze for you! Also if you do decide to favor a lie in over a morning of uni (we have all done it!) do make sure you try and find out what you have missed. I know some lectures can seem like the most pointless waste of time ever (especially if you are commuting!) and so you decide to skip the next one, but you always find it's the ones you skip that end up being the most valuable and there's nothing worse than being out of the loop on what you should be doing - so do try and catch up if you do skip one! On another note do remember it is your lecturers that mark your work so you really want to stay on the good side of them - poor attendance might imply to them that you aren't bothered and so some of them may not be as keen to help you when you need it the most!

Get to know your lecturers 

 If you are the sort of person that worries about deadlines, is unsure about an assignment or needs some support and guidance, then having a good relationship with your lecturers will really put you at ease during your time at university. As I always say, you are in charge of your education and more importantly you are paying for it, so instead of keeping quiet and falling behind, get the most out of it and ask for help when you need it! Unlike school where you are spoon fed and handed everything on a plate, university life is left to you and your independence! Your lecturers won't be there to continually give you reminders and pick up on you falling behind - it is all down to you.

Organisation  

If I could put this is in font size 1000 I really would right now. Organisation really cannot be stressed enough if you want to do well. Year 1 you may get away with it, year 2 you might just pull through but if you haven't got your act together by year 3 then I seriously fear for your classification as a 10,000 word dissertation will be the death of you if you leave yourself a month to do it in. So start as you mean to go on, start your planning early, start assignments in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to do everything. I know how it feels to look at a deadline and put it of thinking you have heaps of time to do it, but don't because it really will creep up on you - (you don't want to put yourself in those caffeine overdosed all nighter situations I assure you! ). If you are like me and do tend to put things of, here's a little advice - lets say you have an assignment due in 4 weeks, start of by arranging a tutorial with your lecturer for two weeks time and say to them can I bring a first draft. This way you are setting yourself an earlier deadline where you feel that you have to do it as your lecturer is expecting it. It may not work for everyone but for me this really helped as it made me get my assignments done earlier whilst also being able to get feedback and assurance of whether my assignment was on the right lines! 

Also get a wall organisation chart - this really helped me keeping on top of my deadlines (they gave them out for free at our uni) - this allows you to write all your deadline dates on, when you want your rough draft done and so on. This way you have a constant reminder of all your assignment dates on your wall (no excuses!)

Books

So during your first few weeks at university you will get lumbered with zillions of reading lists, must haves and essential books. Now to save your pennies do not just jump on the net or go to the uni shop and buy every single one straight away! You honestly don't need them and also prices will be sky high on places like amazon as everybody will be wanting them. Instead go through your list and research which one's will be useful to have, you will find that some books will come in handy all through your three years at uni, others may only help you with one assignment and it's these ones that you can request at your uni library or loan out if they already have them! Again, a tip with loaning books out from the library is to get there early and keep renewing them (if you can), do not, I repeat do not stroll into the library a week before an assignment as the chances are most of the books will all be out on loan!  If you do buy books, take a look at the website "ABE books" - this usually is cheaper than amazon! 

And finally enjoy it. I assure you now these three years will absolutely fly by so make the most of them, play hard but more importantly study harder. Graduation is one of the proudest days of your educational journey and you really don't want to be sitting there regretting, being upset and knowing that you could have worked harder. Luckily for me I managed to reach the 2.1 I had set out for - of course, a first would have always been desirable but on the basis that I worked 17/30 hours a week, blogged for a company, attended uni and fitted in writing assignments I think I did pretty dam good!

If you have any other questions about uni then feel free to email me! I'm more than happy to help.

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