To start studying at university can feel like entering a completely new world, and suddenly there are a billion different things that you are supposed to deal with. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it might sound!
- Starting university usually means moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone and most people are very eager to meet as many new friends as possible straight away. This can be quite nerve-wracking, even if it is also fun and enjoyable to get to know new people. However, there is no need to panic if you don’t meet your best friend the first day. There are so many ways to meet people at university: at lectures, halls, sport clubs, societies, and other events. Just try to be open and say yes to anything that sounds exciting. And remember, it’s okay to spend a night in bed with Netflix too!
- London is a massive city, which can be quite daunting and stressful. When I first arrived I tried to avoid the metro as much as I could, as everyone was moving so fast in such a compact space. However, I made sure to have extra time whenever I needed to use the metro, so that I could take it easy and didn’t need to run for a train. Soon enough I got used to it, and now I take the metro all the time.
- When it comes to your actual studies, one very useful thing to find out when you start are the rules regarding participation at lectures and seminars. Some lecturers take attendance whereas the majority don’t, and at some seminars you cannot miss more than one or two before it will start really affecting your grade. Several students from my year failed their modules because they had missed too many seminars, despite getting good grades on their coursework. Also, you wouldn’t want to miss seminars anyway as this is the place where everyone gets the chance to ask questions and share their views – really useful!
- I was absolutely lost among all the reading we had to do during my first few months at university. I felt like I didn’t follow what was going on, and that I couldn’t use what I just read. Eventually I learnt that with most readings, all the key ideas will be shared in the introduction and then repeated in the conclusion. So, if you have 10 books to get through in a week, my advice now is to read those bits first, and take your time to understand it, and then look through the rest of the text for more extended explanations. In addition, write down the name of the author when you take notes – this will come very handy when you write essays or prepare for your exams!
- As mentioned, I felt that London was way too big when I first moved here, and everything seemed to be extremely far away. I spent almost all my time either at university or at home, and couldn’t really absorb the rest of the city. First of all, that’s OK. When arriving in a new city, it is important to get to know the areas where you will live, work or study, as that’s a way to make yourself feel at home. Now, after almost a year of living here, I still think London is huge, but have learnt my way around a bit more through exploring new parts of the city, and that makes the city feel “smaller” and more homely.
Good luck with starting uni! It might be scary at first, but you will grow so much and won’t regret it!
Emelie, International Relations