What to Expect from University as a First-year Student!

By Fatima Adil

Thinking about going to university for the first time can be a daunting experience for many reasons. Firstly, you are presumably leaving home for the first time and moving out into a new city, environment, or even country thus feeling anxious is completely normal. Secondly, worries will bound to be about making friends and fitting in. Lastly, thinking about whether you will keep up with the course can cause some level of distress. So today I shall be addressing some of the common disturbing thoughts first-year university students have before starting university and ultimately changing these worries to bubbles of joy.

The first year is a time of your degree to enjoy settle in and most importantly make new friends for life! The worries you may carry when moving into your accommodation are one everyone will be going through, so do not feel like you are the only one. It is important to communicate with your fellow hall mates by going to knock on their door to say hello or meeting at the dinner table for tea. Don’t be shy and stay in your room as sooner or later you will become friends so why not do it straight away?

The first 2 weeks at university are known as a welcome week or more commonly fresher’s week. During this time the university plans activities, lectures, workshops to make you feel comfortable and start to familiarise yourself with your course. You are bound to have difficulty finding your way around but do not stress out instead treat it as an adventure and take your time. If you are late to a lecture or seminar, simply go from the top and no one will know. Consequently, if you do not like being late then set off early to find your lecture rooms or seminars/workshop classes. Nevertheless, you must familiarise yourself with the campus during these days as you don’t want to be late to an important class when the semester starts. Remember first impression is the last!

Freshers week is the time to join new societies on offer and get involved in clubs and extra curriculum activities that appeal to you. Whilst academics are important you must keep a balanced lifestyle thus choosing activities that will make you feel relaxed is important. It is also a great way to meet and make new friends perhaps not only those doing your degree. You will soon see that there are students just like you!

Core Lectures will usually start between the end of September to the first week in October. Before entering your first lecture it is important to remember that the jump from A levels to university is a huge one and can easily be undermined leaving you feeling miserable. During a school or A- levels, you are in a class of between 15-30 pupils however at university this will be between 100-400 depending on your course. Thus, it is practically not possible for the lecturer to tailor the lecture for every student, there will be a basic outline set out in the lecture and you will then be expected to do follow up reading to get a better grasp of the content before doing the assigned task. Do not get upset if you think you don’t understand much or are struggling to keep up during your first semester as you are not the only one and everyone is in the same boat. It is crucial that if you don’t understand a point you either ask the lecturer during the lecture as it could appear in greater depth later on or ask them at the end -in the face or through an email. Never think you are asking a stupid question or being judged as lecturer’s want students to ask questions after all that’s why you are paying £9K. At school, college, or sixth form the teacher would probably come themselves to assist you if they thought you were struggling however with the university being such a huge organization this is practically not possible and so help yourself by being active!


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