It’s official! I obviously knew I had finished first year, which to me was an achievement in itself, but now I know that I’ve definitely passed I can breathe a sigh of relief. My grade amounts to either a 2:1 or a first, (depending on the marks being confirmed) and I’m happy with either – I cannot explain how glad I am that my hard work has paid off!
To be honest, this time last year seems a lifetime away. Since leaving college, I have grown a lot, which is to be expected, but I now feel like my career is in sight, I have a good set of friends and life is working itself out. I am a more confident person than the one I was at college, which most likely comes from having taking part in a work placement, and I have a whole new set of challenges to overcome.
I won’t lie, the first semester was a real struggle for me but the by the second I had settled a little more and had worked out where abouts I was up to. I really did have no idea what to expect with uni, so I thought I’d put down a few tips for freshers.
To be honest, I’m probably a bit of a geek when it comes to going to lectures but in my eyes, if you’re going to go to uni, you might as well go to uni. At an open day before I started university, a lecturer said to me that “university is like opening the door to a feast, but it all depends on you how much you take from it.” Looking back, this is good advice. Yes, you can probably wing it in first year, but what’s the point when you’ll get yourself behind for second and third year?
If you get a good flat – good for you! Enjoy it and be grateful. If not, don’t worry. Keep your head down, it’ll fly by (even though it doesn’t seem it at times) and you will be able to choose who you live with in second year. Try to keep it amicable, there’s nothing worse than living in a hostile environment.
Work outside of uni
This is one area I do feel like I have struggled with this year. It hasn’t impacted my grades too much because I am quite good at forcing myself to work and living right by the library also helped, but losing the structure and guidance of college has been hard. I think it is important though, that however much your lecturers insist that they won’t ‘spoon feed’ you, that you ask for help when you need it. Don’t drown under work if it’s making you feel terrible. It’s also better to ask sooner rather than later.
I found that there’s loads of support available within the university, particularly if you have a chronic illness, which I’ve found absolutely vital. My DSA and reasonable adjustment plan means that I have a mentor, as well as things like extended library loans. If there is help offered, take it.
Student’s Union and Societies
Don’t drop out of uni until you’ve joined at least one society.
They are so good for helping you meet new people, who often become your friends.
I’m lucky enough to have ended up on the committee of RAG this year, which not only looks great on a CV but means I’ve met loads of people and got involved in plenty of things that have helped to fill my week up – all while helping great, local causes.
If I think of anything else, I’ll add it in – but for now, that’s my first year of uni over.
Now to work and enjoy the summer while it lasts!