You are completely and utterly nervous or extremely excited about starting your first year of university. Maybe a mixture of both even.
I was extremely excited.
Having the best two years in Sixth-form and then just completing a Summer internship, my motivation was sky high. I was looking forward to university. And hell yeah, I held high expectations, I was looking forward to all the free time and meeting like-minded people.
But unfortunately for me, things didn’t turn out exactly how I expected it to, and here is why.
Unexpected reality of commuting
There wasn’t a choice for me when it came to living on campus or living at home. The fact that my chosen university is within a ‘somewhat’ appropriate travelling distance, it made sense for me to commute. Not only will I be saving a lot of money but I’m sure it couldn’t be that difficult.
Oh boy, oh boy, was I wrong. Travelling to and from the university was harder than I expected and it was starting to demotivate me. Many factors affected my journey, for example, rush hour, train delays and bus diversions. Believe me; I didn’t anticipate the effect it would have on my energy. I didn’t even feel like going to university most days.
Over time as I adapted to the process, I found ways to ensure that I made it to lectures on time and as frequently as possible. I couldn’t afford to miss anymore, especially with the amount of workload I had.
The mistake I made was that I’ve only ever visited the location of my university once, and that was for an opening day.
If you are planning to commute, my top tip for you is:
– visit your chosen university more than once and get comfortable with the route.
– Don’t rely on just one direction to get you to university; It’s essential that you have more than one.
– Before you leave the house, always check the status of your train or bus.
To this day I still commute to university and hey! after a while you’ll realise that it’s actually not that bad. Find what motivates you to go to university and use that power to get you up every morning.
Going into the first year many people told me it’s going to be easy and that I wouldn’t need to do much. It happened to be true for some of my friends in other universities. But for me, it was completely the opposite.
My university pushed us to the deep end, already giving us assignments with early deadlines, mid-term tests, group projects and homework to be completed for tutorials.
Damn, I mean let me adjust to university life first.
The workload was heavier than I’d anticipated and the amount we covered in just one lecture would leave me feeling dizzy. It took me time to adjust to lectures and to properly get into the flow of it.
My mistake was assuming that university would give me time to settle. I wasn’t prepared so I become behind in my lectures and Overall I was struggling and confused, everything was going too fast.
My top tip for you is:
– Be prepared to get straight in there.
– Be prepared for the workload, try to complete all tasks given, even if they are not compulsory.
– Remember: You can stay on top of your work and have fun at the same time.
– Make sure you stay organised from the beginning! You’ll thank yourself later.
– DON’T BE SHY TO ASK FOR HELP IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING.
Thank god for the winter break because I was able to create myself a revision timetable which helped me prioritise my time effectively. I started out by focusing on the most important topics and what I found difficult first.
The thought of retaking in the summer or even failing scared me, so I made sure I was consistent with the use of my timetable. I asked friends for help and emailed lecturers whenever I felt like I didn’t understand something. This helped massively, so don’t ever feel scared or shy to ask for help.
I can go on about my first-year university mistakes but these two are my top. I was able to learn from them the most and over time I have come to realise that ”things become what you make of them”. For example, If you think something will be too difficult before you even started then it will be and vice versa. Since then I have learned to always approach things in a positive light.