From A Fresher To A Second Year Q&A

Before starting to University you’re encouraged to talk and ask any questions you have… that’s great, but not when you’re only asking professional at the University. As much as they claim not to be biased, they are!  Of course they’re going to want you to attend their university, enrol on their course and reside in their halls, it’s ‘the best’ remember? As much as it may be the best, I feel like you can’t truly make your mind up based on a biased opinion.

That’s why I spoke to those who are a year above me before I made any decisions. I found that they gave the best advice and most real advice regards University studies, and student life. I’m now heading into second year this September and was chatting with Laura who is starting first year in the South of France to study English Language, Literature & Civilization this September. I asked Laura to ask me some questions she’d love to know the answer to ahead of being a fresher this September. So here I am to share my answers as a second year student.
– Did you have any fears or apprehensions before going if so what are them and did you go through them at the end?
I was just worried I wouldn’t like it, I loved Sixth Form so I was hoping it would be similar. Obviously you have the fears of moving out and being independent too but luckily I was brought up being taught how to look after myself so I was fully prepared to step right in.
-Did you find it hard to make friends?
I was quite fortunate that I got on with people before I started University who I met up with while I was there! Because I go to a local University to home, I knew a few people who were also attending that University so had a chat when I bumped into them.
-How did you meet your UNI friends?
I met some of my friends online in freshers groups for the specific University before we started. I’d definitely recommend joining them if you come across any, especially the ones for the halls of residence you’re staying in (if you are). It’s great getting to know either the people you’re going to be living with or the people you’ll be living nearby. Other friends I’ve met since being at University on my course.
-Did you feel any pressure while going/being at UNI?
Not really, I’ve never been pressured in any way. The only pressure is me wanting my work to be good, especially when it’s something practical like making a website or video, i’d be tough on myself to make sure it’s ‘perfect’ in my eyes.
-Do you regret anything that you did or didn’t do this first year at university?
A huge part of University is societies, but I never found any societies that I particularly thought i’d love so I didn’t bother with any. I do feel like I should’ve gave one a go for a little while. I did however, not regret all the freebies at the fresher fair.
-What are the things that made you the proudest of yourself that you achieved/did this year?
Probably quite a cliché answer, but I’m super proud of the grades I got. Especially when I got the results back from my first semester and I got a high 1st in my practical module. And then to end the first year 1% away from a 1st overall was a massive achievement personally.
-Did you learn anything about yourself this past year?
I learnt that you’ve got to be in it for yourself. Everyone is at University for different reasons, some for the degree and some for the social life. You could easily get influenced and end up going down the wrong route, just keep reminding yourself which is the reason you enrolled at University in the first place. There may be occasions that your friends don’t turn up to lectures or additional events, but don’t let it influence you to do the same. If you’re there to get the degree, you need to get the degree yourself, nobody else will work for your degree like you will. The same with your student debt, at the end of the day, you’re the one that will be paying it back, nobody else so make the most of it and make the most of the resources you get.
-Did you find it hard to juggle your social/blogging life and your UNI work?
To an extent. I had an old blog that I launched in Summer 2017, I wasn’t completely happy with it and wasn’t dedicated to it so I stopped it and no posts went up after I started University. I did a module in my first semester that involved creating a blog on WordPress and it made me want to re-start my blog again, so I did. Trying to fit blogging and uni work in at the same time can be difficult, but as long as you plan ahead it is possible. When I knew my deadlines were approaching I made sure I had posts scheduled to go up, that way I still had content going up but didn’t have the stress of last-minute writing posts. I’ve got a whole post on how to manage the balance between work and fun which explains it all in more depth.
-What are the hardest things that you went through this year related to UNI?
For me it was adapting to how much of a step back lecturers take compared to at college/sixth form. I understood they don’t help you out as much and it’s based more on independent work, which I started to implement during sixth form, but it really is quite a jump. When I did a coursework subject at A-level I got my teachers to check my work multiple times for improvements and to know roughly where I’m at. I have to have reassurance from my mentors to know that I’m on track, once I have the reassurance I feel much more confident about the piece of work i’m doing. But at University my lecturers would only check my plan and perhaps one draft, sometimes my work wasn’t checked at all before submission. This meant I got considerably stressed out for my deadlines, especially since they were the first lot of deadlines being marked agains the University grading system so it’s really hard to predict how well or not you’ve done.
-What is/are the best memories that you made this year?
I loved spending time with my friends whether it be in lectures, in the library, at my flat or on nights out. University is amazing for being able to make incredible memories with your friends because you spend so much time together and go through so much together, you quickly form a strong bond with the people you surround yourself with.
-If you could change anything that you did/feel (stress, pressure etc) this year, what would it be?
I wish I could’ve stressed less over my deadlines, but I know for a fact I’ll do it all over again next year haha. I started my second semester assignments a lot earlier so that I was less stressed about the deadlines approaching and it did take away some of the stress and gave me enough time to make sure I got my work checked beforehand.
If any of my readers have any other questions they wish they could ask… please comment them on this post, I’d love to answer them!

(2) Comments

  1. pixieskies says:

    I wish I’d had the idea to speak to older students before I started my course, it would’ve been really helpful and definitely would stop my initial stresses. You’ve given some great advice in this post, I agree that one of the hardest things about the transition between sixth form and uni is the lack of feedback – it’s so hard to suddenly go it alone like that.

    Megan //

    1. It’s definitely all part of the experience!

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