Lessons learnt from first year

So it’s nearing the end of October which means that if you’re a fresher it is likely you have spent most of your nights partying, days feeling sorry for yourself in bed and more money than you’d like to admit on food. Now whilst this is all part of the ‘university experience’ that will give you stories to talk about for the rest of your life, there are other things you can do in order to make the most of your time at uni.

Start as you mean to go on

‘First year doesn’t count for anything’, ‘As long as I get 40% and get to next year I don’t care’ ‘There is always re-takes in the summer’. This is the mentality of quite a few first year students and it is highly un-motivating to be around. I know that dragging your sleep-deprived selves into your lecture on a wet and rainy morning may be the hardest task imaginable. Heck, sometimes that double-shot latte doesn’t even help. But you’ll be thankful you made a conscious effort to attend all your classes and keep track of deadlines in the long run, rather than following the crowd.

Get involved

This is a piece of advice I took a while to take myself, but probably the most beneficial. University opens up a world of opportunities and unfortunately, in this day and age a degree just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need experience, volunteering, societies – the whole shabang really! Yes this may sound a bit overwhelming, and I am not suggesting you take on everything all at once, but it can also give you a get away from you’re endless assignments.

It is never too early to start building on your CV. After completing my first year exam, I decided to complete a summer internship at a PR firm in Bristol, which allowed me to get a real feel of what the industry is like, rather than just reading about it. And lots of students underestimate the power of volunteering. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a difference and your future employer will certainly admire your dedication to a cause.

Look after yourself

This may seem like a given, but it is often overlooked. Make sure you feel good because that is the only way you will be able to cope with a million and one different things and not break down.

Seek help

So many students suffer in silence, whether it be them struggling with a particular module or having doubts on whether university was the right choice. Lecturers are more understanding than you think and want to see you do well, so if in doubt, chase it up.


But most of all, have fun! You’ve worked hard to get to this stage so embrace every moment of it.


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