Guidance From A Graduate
I’ve been losing track of time since my last exam 2 months ago (and for the past 1.5 years to be honest with you) and now it’s suddenly August… What!? I’m also very behind on these posts so it’s about time I pop on here and say hello again!
It also happens to be Results Day today! If you’re here after receiving your results congrats🥳 and welcome to Warwick! I hope you’re excited to join us all. Remember that we’re all here to help answer any questions or give you some reassurance as I’m sure your nerves are through the roof!
Talking about guidance, I’ve learned some of the most important lessons at uni. It’s thrown me lesson after lesson – It never ends! So, I’m going to share some of the most important ones with you here. All of these probably sound quite obvious in theory but practically, that’s a different story!
- BE OPEN-MINDED
This is the one I cannot stress enough. Be open-minded with everyone you meet, your course, extra-curricular – everything! By now you will have built quite a firm system of what you like and dislike; what you’re good and or not good at… Or so you think. Everything I told myself I wouldn’t do I’ve gone and done; a lot of what I disliked about my course I’ve ended up loving, or at least enjoying enough to get me through these 3 years and wanting to continue! Of course, there are also some activities that I used to do all the time that aren’t enjoyable anymore which is kind of sad 🙁. Don’t only try new things but try old things to. You may end up surprising yourself. Academically, take advantage of the increased diversity of your curriculum, but also the fact that you are being taught by experts in their fields. That alone can make the difference between you feeling intrigued vs. feeling like you’re learning the material because you have to. Try to not let your pre-conceptions stop you from exploring and re-exploring.
- BE ASSERTIVE
With others and yourself. This is especially when it comes down to group projects and your health. You have to push for things that you need or want. Don’t do last minute work for your partners (obviously ensuring they don’t have a reasonable justification as things happen) because they’ll end up taking advantage of you. It’s not your responsibility, it’s everyones. Split the work if need be; push them to get the work done. Set deadlines for them if they thrive through doing their work at the last moment so that you get their part in on time to put everything together (e.g. for a presentation). Health wise, often we know when things aren’t quite right. Maybe there’s something you’ve struggled to get help with – try again because the sooner you get an answer or the right support in place, the better and the less stressed you’ll be. It’s not selfish to push for any support you need, no matter how minor you believe the problem may be. Even if it feels like you have to be annoying and push for it because you deserve to be listened to and taken seriously.
- WORK & PLAY (not work vs. play)
Work on re-defining ‘productivity’. There is no way that the definition that has been drummed into us is sustainable. The truth is, when you’re a uni student there’s always more you can be doing. More reading, more revision, more work experience, more extra-curricular. You won’t even be able to properly get all your compulsory and essential reading for the week done sometimes. You’ll never finish everything you need to which is why prioritisation is a keyword at uni. Part of that prioritisation is putting in time for yourself. Like how you have scheduled lectures, schedule in ‘me time’ (e.g: Friday Movie Nights, Musical Monday evenings, take every Sunday off). You’ll break yourself otherwise. Remember that there’s always time to take care of your wellbeing. If we can always make time to finish that piece of coursework that seems impossible to finish, you can make the time to take care of yourself. Trust that everything else will fall around that.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time” – Bertrand Russell
- SPEAK to YOUR (PERSONAL) TUTOR(S)
I’m going to say it again – they’re not the horrible people your teachers may have made them out to be. You have a different relationship with your tutors to your teachers and in my opinion it’s a much better relationship. Take opportunities to get to know them. It’s not unusual to have pizza and quiz nights or craft sessions with the staff in Psychology for example! Speak to them about academic concerns including management and planning – they’re there to help you with the massive jump! Making your personal tutor aware of any personal circumstances is vital so that they can make you aware of any precautionary measures and systems that can be put in place. They won’t push you – you’ll only have to tell what you’re comfortable telling or what you deem as most necessary. Also, confidentiality exists, so there’s no need to panic about all your tutors and peers finding out what you’ve said. What is said in the office, stays in the office unless you give permission for information to be passed on. I’ve even asked mine for some tips on how to catch mice!
- It’s OKAY to PERFORM INCONSISTANTLY
We get it drilled into us that if we are an x grade student, we need to be achieving at least that in every subject. Nope – Not true. Give yourself the flexibility. If it’s any reassurance, in the exact same section of a module I got a 33% (a literal ‘fail’) in one part and a 74% in another. My best module mark is an 89% whilst my worst is a 54%. I’ve fluctuated so much between extreme highs and lows throughout my whole degree and I’ve learned to accept that that’s fine. Your performance can depend on a number of intertwining factors including: The module itself, the subject if you’re on a joint-degree, the types of assessment method, the teaching style, your personal circumstances. You may be amazing at multiple choice questions (MCQs) in Psychobiology but find that you don’t do near as well in MCQs in comparison to essays in Social Psych. In some modules you’ll perform much better in exams than assignments or vice versa. Not doing well doesn’t mean that you can’t pull yourself up in other assessments or classes or that you’re incapable I know that it especially hurts when it’s a topic you care a lot about. As long as you apply feedback, it’s okay!
To round up, push your boundaries, take care of yourself, and make the most out of your time. My one regret is not enjoying my time at university as much as I could have. There’s so much I would change about it knowing what I know now. Hopefully, you’ll find your time a blast and taken from the words of Disney’s Up “Adventure is out there“. You’re sure going to be in for a wild one!