Transitioning from sixth form or college to university is one of the biggest changes you’ll ever undertake.
Along with the differences in teaching and learning, you’ll find that with university the freedoms that come with it will also greatly change your personal life.
For most people, university is the first time away from the family home, the first time living with people who you aren’t related to and the first time being in a brand new city.
Starting university is one of the biggest adjustments of your adult life. This may all sound (understandably) a little daunting. But, here’s what exactly to expect from, along with some study hacks to help you along the way:
You’re responsible for your learning
One of the biggest changes for new students is how self-guided university is.
You will have lecturers and seminar leaders available to help, but the responsibility to seek help is on the student. You will have to reach out and attend their designated office hours for extra support.
Rather than teaching a subject thoroughly, you’ll find that you’re taught frameworks. You yourself will then have to research more in-depth to understand a topic and then apply your newfound knowledge.
Study Hack: As it is more self-directed, you’ll have to keep on top of assignments and revise for yourself. Chasing students for missed deadlines is not part of the lecturer’s job. So, it’s important to stay organised when it comes to studying.
Set up a study timetable or download an app to help stay on top of everything you need to do. That includes the required reading, formatting notes after a lecture, revision, essays and everything else in between.
If you stay organised from the beginning you’ll find it much easier when deadlines or exams are coming at you thick and fast.
There will be periods of stress
University is renowned for being one of the best times of your life. You make lifelong friends, try brand new experiences and live independently for the first time.
Remember though, it’s not all fun and games. You’re there to work towards your degree. Although it varies from university to university and course to course there will be stressful periods.
Around week six of both semesters, you’ll usually find there are a lot of deadlines required at once. Exam season usually is around January & June and can be another stressful period.
Study Hack: you’ll find that during these periods socialising will take a back seat. It’s important though that self-care doesn’t.
Before starting your day try to head to a gym class, for a run or even complete some yoga at home.
Early morning exercise increases endorphins and as such helps you cope with stress through the day better.
It has also been shown to increase productivity throughout the day. So, you’ll be able to get more studying done!
Having great student accommodation is also important when helping with stress relief. Make sure you have the right accommodation or room for your needs. All universities have halls, but there is also private student accommodation in most university towns. It is worth exploring these options too, to see what suits you best. For example Novel Student offers a range of rooms that are available in Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Belfast.
When living in student accommodation, you have lots of new people on your doorstep.
If you’re more introverted or nervous about speaking to new people remember everybody is in the same boat, and are looking to make new friends too.
Freshers week is always a great time to make new friends. Before university really starts you’ll have lots of time for socialising.
It won’t take long to work out who you have the most in common with, whether that be with your flatmates, course friends or if you join a society or sport – your teammates.
Study Hack: Attend as many of your course activities as you can. Make an effort to speak to the new person you’re sitting next to in a lecture.
You won’t only potentially meet some lifelong friends, having people you know doing the same course as you means they’ll also have the same exams and assignments.
This means you can make study groups, share notes and help each other on those more difficult topics.