Advice for your new Lancaster life

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Photograph: Sammie Caine

Starting University is difficult, even for the best of us. To make it a bit easier for you, I’ve come up with some tips and advice on which opportunities you should explore and things to do – as well as some things to avoid.

Academic

  • Attend all of your lectures, seminars and workshops – This is the most important advice I can give on this section, because they definitely help you to understand and engage with the course so much better than if you choose not to attend.
  • Take advantage of your reading lists – read a couple of extra readings on top of your compulsory readings per week. It’ll make revision much easier and you’ll have more time to read additional sources and write up essays when coursework is due.
  • Keep an academic diary – This will allow you to make note of any appointments, essay deadlines, exams, lectures, seminars etc. This is a really good back up when your phone doesn’t work and in seminars and lectures when you aren’t allowed to use mobile phones.
  • Get careers advice this academic year – Lancaster has a fantastic careers team who have advisors in every faculty. They can organise work placements with you and tell you about a wide range of opportunities as well as offering a wide range of services including workshops in CV writing. Also, don’t leave it until third year because it could be too late.   http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/careers/
  • Don’t burn yourself out – Although your degree is your primary purpose at University, you still need time to do your household jobs and also to relax during evenings and weekends. Too much stress could have a negative affect on your mental health.

Non – Academic

  • Take part in the clubs and societies – They’re a great way to make friends and a good excuse to take a break and try something new. It also looks good on your CV if you take part in them. People who’ve left University and started working say you realise how many things you had available for you at uni that you can no longer do. http://lusu.co.uk/get-involved/societies/
  • Meet people from different backgrounds – I would really recommend that you meet people from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds who live all over the world. I understand that many of you will feel more comfortable with people with the same background as you but you’ll make so many more friends if you embrace the diversity there is at University. Most of my closest friends at University are international students.
  • Visit Lancaster itself – Lancaster is a really nice city that has lots of traditional English pubs and trendy nightclubs as well as lots of high street shops. I’d also recommend a visit to Williamson Park which is really pretty and has great views from the monument as well as Lancaster Castle which is owned by the Queen. http://www.visitlancashire.com/explore/lancaster
  • Stay safe when nightclubbing – When you’re out with friends, it would be best to stay with them and avoid going home alone during the early hours of the morning. Also, always keep hold of your drink to prevent other people spiking your drink and if any trouble breaks out, stay well away from it or go home.

And finally, remember: Lancaster University is an amazing place, as is Lancaster city. There are so many opportunities here and so much vibrancy that my most important advice is just to go for it – just remember to stay safe, have fun and make the most of your time at Lancaster!