In October, I’ll be going into the second year of my course (Mathematics with Economics – yes, I know I’m crazy). I am looking forward to what the new academic year will bring, however, I am worried about the potential pressures I could be faced with, for example, the heavier workload and balancing my degree with other university commitments – but by God’s grace, I will be fine. Looking back, First year was such an experience. I learnt a lot about myself, others and life in general.
The thought of going to university is exciting – especially when you think about the unlimited amount of freedom! While some of you are excited, there are some who are nervous – worried about being independent, making new friends or even just your course. These are all natural feelings as a lot of us currently in university all felt that way at some point. That is why I thought I would make a little survival guide for the upcoming first years (these are brief tips, but hopefully it helps):
1. PACKING: Please do not bring your entire life to university. I’m telling you now, that you will not need it. I remember someone telling me to “pack my entire bedroom” (the biggest mistake I ever made). I can guarantee that you will not even use half of your stuff, and the struggle to bring everything back home is not worth it.
Here is a good summary of everything you’ll need: http://www.topuniversities.com/blog/what-take-university
2. FIRST YEAR: First year is difficult, don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
3. MANAGING YOUR TIME: Time management is key. We tend to underestimate the importance of it. Good time management will go a very long way in university. If you know you can’t manage your time well, then I suggest you use this summer to practice. (Take this advice, if you don’t listen, don’t say nobody warned you)
Here is a good video on How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work
4. MATHEMATICS: To anyone studying any related Maths degree, Good Luck. The course is hard, but it is not impossible. However, there’s a module called Analysis – all I can say is May the Lord help you.
Quick advice to Mathematicians: Go over your A level knowledge, it will be useful. The content at A level will not be exactly the same as degree level, however, being familiar with it is helpful. Additionally, If you haven’t done further maths before, look over FP1 and FP2. Further maths students definitely have an advantage in a maths degree. (I didn’t do further maths btw, that’s why I’m letting you guys know)
5. LECTURERS: Take advantage of your lecturers. They are there for a reason. They will not find you if you need help, you need to contact them. There could be up to 100-200 people – depending on your course, in your lecture so it will be difficult for the lecturer to individually point out those who are struggling. Disturb them if you need to, spam them with emails (not too much though), don’t let that 9K go to waste.
6. GOOGLE MAPS: Google maps is not your friend. It will not help you get around campus – in my case, it got me lost. For ages, I was taking a 40-minute route to my campus library, only to discover that it’s really meant to take me 15-20 minutes. I was fuming, I used to arrive at the library tired and hungry all because of Google maps.
7. FRIENDS: You are going to meet some friends for life but at the same time you’ll meet some characters. You’ll discover the most unexpected things about people, so be ready. Choose your friends wisely.
8. TRY NEW THINGS: I would encourage you to try something you have never done before and dedicate more time to an interest you have, whether it is photography, dance or even hockey. You should get involved in as many extracurricular activities (sports, societies etc.) as possible. First year is the best time to experiment. It is also a great way to learn more about yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes etc.
Have a look at your university website to see what is available. You could also call them up to enquire about your chosen activity, commitment hours needed and the price. For those attending Loughborough University this academic year, click here for a list of all the clubs and societies available.
9. OPEN MINDS: If you’re attending Loughborough University this October, make sure you join Open Minds, it’s such a fab society. For more information on Open Minds, follow the Twitter page: @openmindslsu
10. STAYING MOTIVATED: It is very easy to lose motivation in university. Different aspects can get very overwhelming and after a while, you won’t be bothered with things anymore. You’ve got to find a way to overcome this sudden wave of demotivation. One thing I would say is to make sure you surround yourself with the right people who will always support and encourage you.
Got a few more tips on how to keep motivated in my previous post, First steps to success. Have a read.
11. REVISION: The last minute cramming session that worked during A levels, does not work in University. Don’t make the mistake I made – around exam season, my stress levels rose significantly because I realised it was difficult to learn everything in the short space of time I had given myself. Look over your work as you go along, last minute revision is not worth the stress!
It is important to add that, University is not as glamorous as it may seem. It is hard work and can be a lot of pressure. You may experience every single kind of emotion in university, but this is why supportive friends are extremely important – I will say this again, surround yourself with the right people. When you feel like things are “too much”, take a break. Your health is more important than any success.
Oh yeah, this is important.
Do not lose yourself in university – do not forget the morals and values you had when you first entered. Don’t try and be someone you’re not because it just never works out in the long run. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Embrace the traits God has blessed you with. You were created the way you are for a reason & with that, you’ll find your purpose.