What I Would do Differently if I was a First Year Again

Dear current or future university freshers, as daunting, unfamiliar and somewhat monotonous as university may seem, there are plenty of ways for you to enjoy your time, both in the lecture halls and away from them (all whilst "finding" yourself). In this article some of UoN's third-year students talk about how university is much more than doing your reading and going on nights out.

Rita (International Media and Communications Studies):

“There are a couple of things I’d do differently if I was a fresher again. For one, I’d definitely make an effort to become friends with more people from my course.”

We've all been there. Sitting in a lecture hall with strangers, glancing at each other awkwardly and being slightly tongue tied.  However, when you're a few weeks into term, you'll realise having a friend/coursemate makes your life much easier. No matter what course you are doing, make sure you're friends with at least a couple of your coursemates – not only does it become useful when you're struggling with work and with picking presentation partners, but you'd be able to laugh about your times as coursemates after university.

“I would try to get more involved with the SU and keep myself more updated regarding their activities/participate more.”

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a fresher is to be convinced that you have barely any time for extracurricular activities and your priority is getting a first in an essay that won't even count towards your degree. First year is the perfect time to get yourself involved in as many extra activities and events as you can. It'll give you the chance to make new friends, voice your opinions and expand your knowledge on different issues and events happening in and out of university.

 

Nikola (Finance, Accounting & Management):

“Focus more on what potential career opportunities there are  and attend employer presentations/workshops. It would have helped me a lot in understanding my degree.”

At university many of us don't really have a clue about what we want to do after graduation and that's okay. Fortunately though, there are loads of events held by the uni that would let you work out if a certain career path would suit you (they literally have workshops for every career path you can think of) as well as working on your employability skills. Make sure you attend one now and again just so you can understand what you can actually get out of your degree.

“ Don't spend so much on partying and textbooks but on activities and academic material that can be useful after graduation.”

Sure, everyone chooses how to spend their money but sooner or later some people realise that nights out are one of the most pointless activities to spend your savings on. Yes, it could be fun and all, but it doesn't really pay off in any useful or practical way, does it? If you are someone who actually wants to do more than just well at university, grow your mind. Next time you feel like splashing out your loan at Ocean or Crisis, why not buy a book related to your degree or something that actually interests you?

 

“Take pictures of your time at university."

Well-said and self-explanatory. University is a unique experience and some of the moments you'll have will probably never happen again. For that reason, make sure you capture every special moment and every unusual thing you see or do. Right now, you might not appreciate what you have. But years from now, you will be grateful to have had kept the memories and glad to reminisce and look back at your university years.