Things I’d wish I’d Know in My First Year of University

March 2nd, 2012 → 1:41 pm @ // No Comments

who thinks i have a book problem? (274/365)
Hindsight is a great tool for giving advice, it’s just a shame when the advice you give can’t help you go back to change your own experiences. Only a time machine can do that! Here are a few tips to get the most out of life at university from the perspective of those who have already been through it all. So before you pack up your life and move into halls, have a read through these tips.

Meet Your Lecturers

A lecturer will receive an endless stream of emails in a week. It’s important to make personal connections by visiting them during office hours or by asking them questions after a lecture that particularly grabbed your interest. Make the effort as knowing your lecturers personally is important. They can provide career advice, write reference letters and will be more willing to supervise or help guide you with a special project.

Change Courses (If you want to)

Sometimes you realise after a month or two doing your course that it’s really not right for you and you feel you would be much happier doing something a little different. It can be fairly easy to switch courses, depending on the circumstances and availability of what you want to do. Don’t do this on a whim though; think carefully as it will impact your future heavily. Get advice from lecturers on what your options are.

Learn to use the Library Right Away

Clearly this isn’t the coolest thing to do but it’s pretty important. You need to know how the facilities work from the very beginning. You’re going to need to know how to conduct your research and find what you need for reading. Getting familiar with the library system and services will help immensely and take away any hassle, leaving you free to focus on your studies. There is usually an orientation during fresher’s or registration week, be sure to attend!

Don’t Try To Read Everything

Let’s say you’re supposed to do two hours of reading to prepare for each class, you could end up doing a full working week of reading before even getting started on assignments. This just isn’t feasible; you need to prioritise your time. You need to think about what needs your focus at which point and dedicate your time accordingly. A looming assignment deadline will take priority over reading for a seminar. But you still need to make an effort with the reading, just take a more ‘skimmed’ approach and do what you can.

Get a Part-Time Job

Working during university can not only reduce your debt upon graduation, it could also just give you a little extra cash to enjoy your time a bit more. A part-time job can also help to take your mind away from the stress of studying, there are plenty of fun student jobs! On the other hand, you can use this as an opportunity to work your way up in the industry you’d like to get into. Start low in the food chain and get your foot in the door.


University presents the best excuse you’ll ever get to travel overseas through exchanges, semesters abroad and volunteer programs. Once you start working, you can forget about extensive travel as you’ll probably only get a few weeks of vacation per year from whichever company that hires you. While you’re young and have the chance you should go and explore the world. This can be done cheaply through student-targeted schemes.

Don’t Take On Too Much

It’s a good idea to try and fully immerse yourself in student life; joining clubs and going to events, but make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thinly. It’s great to make the most of your first few weeks. Fresher’s week is ideal for having a go at everything; if there’s a club for a sport you’re good at or have always fancied trying then by all means sign up! After time though, your study will really start to eat up all of your time and you’ll find you have little time for everything you signed up for.

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