Post-Freshers: adjusting to the academic side of university life.
After going out for 7 days straight, drinking more than you could ever imagine and feeling like death from freshers flu, you are ready to start your academic career. At this point is when many students panic, including myself in first year, exclaiming that they can’t do it or there is too much work. I am here to tell you, from experience, it’s going to be okay and the task isn’t as daunting as it may sound. I’ve got some insight which will hopefully make term 1 a little less scary.
Unlike in school, no one is going to force you to go to anything or make sure you are going to the right place. You need to be proactive, finding out where your lecture/seminar/labs room is and making sure you arrive with plenty of time. You can easily get yourself into a stressful spiral if you are constantly leaving it until the last minute, then charging across campus only to go into the wrong room and end up in a 2nd-year Italian language seminar (from experience, this is not enjoyable). Use the university campus guide to find where your lesson is, and organize yourself to arrive on time.
This was the biggest one that got me and is especially true for those doing humanities subjects. The first time you open up your module page and look at first weeks reading, you can be forgiven for nearly crying at the length of it. However, most seminars only require 1-4 core readings which are usually only a chapter in length. This, in all actuality, doesn’t take too much time and the initial readings are often not too complicated. The longer list is there if you need extra information to understand or you are doing an assessment on that topic, so don’t think for every seminar you will be reading 10 books.
Your first seminar is always strange. You are there with a group of people you don’t know, talking about very difficult and complex topics. It is easy to keep your head down and hope the tutor ignores you all year. However, if you do this, you could be sat revising for your exams or doing essays having no idea about a certain topic, because you were too scared to ask a question during the teaching. If you aren’t able to do it during the seminar, go to them in their office hours or after lectures and seminars, tutors are always happy to be able to point you in the right direction and would much prefer you went to them than suffered in silence.
Although it can be a horrifying thought having to actually complete your academic degree after having so much fun, just believe in yourself. You got into the university and course because you are clearly capable enough to do it, so try and enjoy both the academic and social aspects of university and do what you can to remain positive.