I’ve finally got round to writing this blog post after thinking about writing it for the past couple months. I was initially planning on doing it straight after I finished uni in May, however that was the month I submitted all of my coursework and I guess I didn’t want to think back on how uni was after stressing about assignment submission. On the other hand, I think me writing this blog post now will be a good motivation booster for me and those of you starting uni as a year 1 student or even returning back. In this blog post I wanted to share pretty much my experience as a year 1 uni student and share some of the things that has helped me through assignments and deadlines. Just to clarify I am a year 2 student now so I’ve only been at uni for a year and the course I am studying is Education Studies and each course has its own workload and assignments, and these are purely my experiences and things that has worked for me.
Before uni started, accommodation wasn’t a thing I had thought about or considered as I’ve always intended to live at home with my parents, as my uni is in London and isn’t too far away so I managed to travel there. My journey took about an hour up to an hour and 20 minutes sometimes in the morning during rush hour and obviously coming back took the same amount too, so pretty much I spent about 2 and half hours travelling to and from uni within a day. I only had uni 3 times a week which was a true blessing in terms of traveling and the financial side of it. The journey to uni really tired me out as I had to change 2 tubes and I had 9am starts for all 3 days which meant I had to leave the house by 7:30am to get to my 9am lecture, with about 10 or 15 minutes to spare. During the journey to uni at the beginning of the term I would have my headphones in and listen to music or a podcast but as time went on and my deadlines were close I started making to do lists on the tube in my notes section on my phone of the stuff I wanted to get done in uni which was helpful and filled in my time to be honest. I’d also read some book sometimes if the tube wasn’t too busy on my way back home. The financial side of travelling to uni was costly obviously, I’d top up my oyster weekly or every 2 weeks so I wouldn’t have to think about everyday. I found that budgeting my monthly travel costs helped me keep on track with spendings.
I feel like this is the biggest problem and the issue people are worried about when starting uni. I found that I didn’t really think about it a lot till the first induction day at uni and to be honest it was completely fine as everyone is like you and you don’t know each other on the course, but there’s ALWAYS activities and engaging conversations on that induction day which carries onto the first couple weeks of uni so you easily talk to new people and make friends. On my induction day and within the first introductory lectures the tutors made us talk to the people around us for the topic we were talking about and at first it is VERY awkward because you literally start with ‘my name is…’ but once you get on with the group activities the awkwardness dies down and the convo just flows. The last lecture of my induction day was probably one that I won’t forget as our tutors made us write a question on a piece of paper and make them into paper airplanes and fly it across the room (yes it all felt like we was in a primary school or something). To be honest that activity was the most engaging and ‘fun’ as we got to talk to loads of people and introduce ourselves and that’s where I actually met my current friendship group. Our tutors then set us tasks to do over the next few weeks and one of them included making a trip to a museum with someone on your course and then having to make a PowerPoint presentation from the information you gathered. This seemed quiet scary because obviously making a museum trip with people you don’t even know yet and then having to work together as a group and make a presentation seemed nerve wracking but it was all good in the end and we went to the museum with the girls and ended up not having to present the presentation (LOL)!
In addition, I always find that saying ‘yes’ to things has made me step out of my comfort zone loads and meet new people in uni. Most of the people at uni such as your tutors and experienced uni students suggest you to join societies to make new friends and fill in your empty days and hours in your week. To be honest I didn’t join any societies because I knew uni would get too busy too quick such as the workload and I didn’t want to have to think about going to those societies when I’m already busy. However I do find in order to stay in touch with the people you meet on your course is to exchange your social media handles and numbers, because obviously us millennial teens do everything over social media lols.
This is probably another subject that gets asked a lot to uni students, such as ‘how is the workload, do you have a lot of things to do?’ I guess the answer is you have SO much to do but also you have NOTHING to do at uni and yes that is confusing! Uni is really independent and your not told what your meant to be doing pretty much, so at first your like errrr I don’t have anything to do I guess other than attend the lectures and seminars. In fact you should make your own plan and work schedule and keep on top of your work like that. The first couple weeks of uni your tutors and lecturers will literally tell you what tasks to do and how just to get you used to it, but then they expect you to do everything yourself. For example check your uni emails regularly for any updates on lectures/seminar changes, check the uni website before the lecture for any handout you needed to print out.
I’d highly recommend to print off your lecture slides beforehand so you can make your own notes in the lecture, so when it comes to writing your essays you have YOUR OWN notes to write from instead of your tutors and the books which will help you not get plagiarised!! At the beginning of the term time me and my friends (group work comes in very handy at uni even if your not in the same class, so try and have a close circle of friends which you can ask for help with) made a list of all of our deadlines for year 1 so we knew each date when it was needed. This way you can work towards your closest deadline before your tutor introduces it. You get to find your deadlines within your module handbooks which is on your uni website, as I mentioned before all of this is independent work that we did in order to be organised and on top of our work.
Our course requires us to read A LOT from textbooks, because in the end that is where you gather your research and evidence for your essays and assignments. We got set weekly readings which we weren’t often reminded of in the lectures as again it’s all very independent and all down to you to do your research and find set tasks and weekly readings. Doing the set weekly readings has actually helped us A LOT in the long run when it came to writing essays as we made our own notes and highlighted the key points and eventually gathered research from that. I’d highly recommend to do little bit of work everyday rather than nothing for 2 weeks and having a heck load to catch up on in the space of a week!! All of my year 1 assignments was essays/reports and presentations so we didn’t have any exams which means I’m going to have my first uni exam this year and it’s a tad daunting to be honest! My friends and I found it super helpful to peer mark each other’s essay for grammar, spelling and format mistakes, as it’s so hard to spot your own mistakes in your own essay after you’ve been writing it for couple days. There is also loads of extra services in the library that peer marks your essay for you and spots any mistakes, which is always a plus before showing your tutor for the final mark!
As I mentioned above I lived at home for uni and will do again this year which obviously meant I didn’t have to think about rent charges, food shopping expenses and any other bills which I was super lucky with and I’m grateful for. I’m not a super spendy person I think (says the girl who did a big shopping spree after a big holiday… oops lols) so I didn’t really struggle with the financial side of things. I just kept budgeting how much I will need for my travel and food costs during uni weeks and how much I had to spend as an extra and saved up the rest. I guess being organised with your spending helps a lot as I set aside an amount to spend per month and if I didn’t spend it all I’ll just roll that over to the next month or just move that into my savings. I don’t really have much else to say about financial costs over than just budget your spendings and don’t get too spendy when your student loan drops (lol we’ve all been there).
That was a heck load of information to take in about uni and my experiences as a year 1 student. Hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it somewhat helpful for you and comment down below one thing your looking forward for, within the new academic term!
Ayse Merve! X