School to university: An easier transition

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So you’ve finally made it to university – or “the best years of your life” as everyone likes to call them. Having left school or college as well as your home for the first time in your life, it’s perfectly normal to feel excited, anxious and worried all at the same time. So how can you make the transition easier?

It’s easy to feel lost during Freshers Week, so the important thing to remember is: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Freshers Week can be overwhelming, but that’s exactly why you have your freshers’ reps with you every step of the way. They are there to be questioned! Equally, when it’s time for lectures and seminars, your tutors are there to support you and have office hours specifically set aside to help students with any concerns they may have. It can be daunting that everything is now down to you to sort out, but there are so many support networks on campus that you are never truly alone.

In order to make the most of your academic life at university, though, you have to attend as many lectures and seminars as possible. At school you would never have dreamed of regularly missing classes (right?), but with no-one at university to monitor your attendance particularly closely it can be difficult to motivate yourself. Yes, it is only first year and yes, you do only have to pass – but first year is also the time where you gain the basic knowledge in your subject area which will be developed upon later. I’ve lost count of the number of people who can’t go to bed before four in the morning and never make a 9AM! Practising now will definitely stand you in good stead during years two and three when every 9AM counts.

That’s not to say don’t go out and enjoy yourself, but equally don’t feel obliged to go out every night of the week! The temptation is to say yes to everything to feel sociable but everyone has their limits (and everyone contracts freshers’ flu as you’ll discover when your lectures are accompanied by the sound of coughing). It’s perfectly OK to want a quiet night in from time to time – and you’ll be financially better off for it too!

If going out to clubs every night isn’t your idea of fun, then get involved with the many societies on campus instead. For the first time in your life you won’t have that good network of friends that you’ve known for years around you, so getting involved in societies is the best way to meet new people. It’s also the most rewarding aspect of university and everyone will find something to suit them – from Harry Potter to knitting! Whereas school and college were almost exclusively focused on exams and academia, university is the chance to make the most of your free time and make it as varied as possible. Be yourself, discover what it is that you enjoy, and you’ll soon stop missing school and college.