Having been at university for two years now, I feel I have learnt a great deal of tips and tricks for students that I thought you ought to know if you are starting university.
Tip 1: Be open minded to meeting new people – By this, I simply mean don’t judge a book by its cover. This is especially key in first year when trying to make friends and moving into student accommodation. At university you will meet people from all different countries and backgrounds that range across all ages. Even in my third year I am still meeting new people. Long story short, someone who you may think looks quite scary or weird could turn out to be a great friend who you keep for life.
Tip 2: Be open minded to trying new things – When I came to uni it felt like a fresh start for me to try new things. You can interpret this how you want but for me it meant trying new sports, volunteering for events and applying for jobs I might have avoided in the past.
Tip 3: Use all resources given to you – We are paying a lot of money (around £9,000 a year) so why not make the most of it! I know a lot of resources can be accessed online but things like the library can be a great resource to use when writing assignments. The Academic Skills Centre or similar can be amazing for checking any work or helping understand assignment briefs and is a resource I can highly recommend. I am lucky that my university has a centre for helping students apply for jobs as well as having many other resources to help you not just while at uni but also after.
Tip 4: Know your deadlines – This sounds like such a crazy thing to advise but I do know people who forgot their deadlines or got the day wrong and got into a right pickle. So, get organised early, know when your work is due and don’t leave it all to the last minute just in case!
Tip 5: Read, Read, Read – You may be sick and tired of hearing your lectures say this in your first and second year. But now I am in my third year, I can honestly say this will save your life when it comes to writing your assignments. Without reading you have no resources to back up your points and can’t get a good grade. Some people will read this and think ‘I don’t have to do this until third year’, but if you get into the habit of doing it on your first ever assignment then when it comes to your dissertation you will be a pro and essay writing will be easy.
Tip 6: Always make two copies – I find having a copy of your work on a laptop and a memory stick means if one gets lost or deleted by accident, at least you have a spare. You could even have a paper copy too if you prefer!
Tip 7: Not always perfect – First years especially should know that your first ever draft of an assignment is not going to be perfect. The change from college to university can be quite a big jump as the style of writing is completely different. Don’t panic if your first draft isn’t the way you want it, you can write as many as you want. This is where you need to combine this tip with that of 3 and 4 – if you start early then you can rewrite your assignment using the resources provided by the uni to help you improve. I have found that coming back after the holidays, even after two years of essay writing, can affect my writing as it takes a while to get back into it.
Tip 8: Get yourself out there – I have only recently learnt the importance of this one but it is something I am going to try and do this year. By getting your name out there it can give you more opportunities to meet new people and stand out. No matter what industry you are in, I strongly believe that it is not all about what you know, but who you know. So, volunteer for everything from student rep to a marketing opportunity to a chance to work in your dream industry. This could even be trying your hardest during first and second year so you stand out to future employers and lecturers ready for third year. Don’t hold back and go for it!
Tip 9: Mind food – I have found that quick easy to eat on the go snacks are a life saver at uni to give me a bit of brain food between lectures when I am feeling a bit run down. I love Go Ahead bars, Nature Valley honey and oats bars and of course you can’t beat a cheeky chocolate bar or cake! A bottle of water is also a good shout as there is nothing worse than being in a lecture theatre with a headache.
Tip 10: Make every moment count – Again, this is something I have learnt more now I am going into my final year, but something I will never forget. University flies by – this is no understatement. Yes, there are the odd days that drag but the year as a whole goes way too quickly. Therefore, I suggest you make every day count. As much as you should try and focus on your work, remember to have fun and create as many memories as possible. You may not have this opportunity again.
I hope you have found these tips useful. I was very nervous when starting uni so little tips like this were helpful and I hope they will help some of you too. If you have any tips or tricks you have learnt while at university then please share them in the comments.