Eleanor’s Blog – 28 July 2014

With 3 years at university finished, my Facebook newsfeed is flooded with fellow 3rd years’ graduation photos. Just one more year and that’ll be me! It’s weird to think that this time 3 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my A Level results, hoping I’d get in to Manchester. The time has gone so quickly!

Academically, uni is a lot different to college/sixth form, as there is a lot more focus on self-directed learning and taking charge of your own studies. Time management is an important thing as some courses look like they have loads of free time as they don’t have many contact hours (hours actually spent in uni in a lecture or seminar). You’ve got to be able to motivate yourself and get some work done, it’s very easy to just sit eating cereal watching Jeremy Kyle (as tempting as it is). My top tip to everyone would be to BUY A DIARY to keep track of deadlines and be able to plan some studying/revision. My whole life is in the pages of my diary and I’d be totally lost without it. It can be very hard to think of the bigger picture when you’re in a first year seminar and graduation seems like a lifetime away, but getting into the habit of starting work before the week of the deadline (and yes, I’m writing from experience here) will set you up in good stead for the rest of your degree. There’s no point being here if you’re not going to do the work!

I had a slightly rocky start to uni in my first year, the accommodation I ended up in was not what I’d applied for/imagined, it really knocked my confidence, and the ease of which I could nip home meant making friends didn’t come as easily as expected. Adding in my mum being ill didn’t make for a perfect freshers experience! University life is a massive change from college and living at home, and although I already knew how to cook and clean and wash clothes for myself, I don’t think I adjusted very well. If I could give any advice to anyone starting uni in September it’d be to just go for it! Take every opportunity given to you and go to as many parties/join as many societies and clubs as you have time for. Even if things don’t go as expected like they did for me, I’ve still ended up with an amazing group of friends and I wouldn’t change that for anything now. I still had fun in first year, don’t get me wrong, but I never thought that I had solid friends. Now I understand that a lot of people probably felt like that too! It gets said a lot, but everyone is in the same boat in first year, so there’s no need to be embarrassed or hesitant about talking to new people, as they’re probably hoping someone will talk to them. Just go for it!

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