Hey, congratulations! Your A-Levels are over and you’ve made it – you’re going to uni. Seeing as you’ve chosen to come to Leicester, you’ve obviously got good common sense (and impeccable taste in higher education providers). However, I thought it would still be beneficial for me to compile a short list of five hints and tips to help you prepare for the first few weeks of term.
- DON’T RUSH OUT TO BUY TEXTBOOKS. There’s actually very little need for you to buy brand spanking new copies of all the books on your reading list. Trust me. They’re extortionately expensive and chances are you’ll be able to get them for free. If they’re set reading, you should be able to find copies in the university library. If they’re not there (or there aren’t enough copies to go around), the lovely librarians will be able to order more in through the ‘More Books’ scheme. All you need to do is ask at the front desk, and they’ll be able to sort you out.
- JOIN CLUBS & SOCIETIES. Join them! Make sure you go to the Freshers’ Fair and sign up to anything and everything that tickles your fancy. Go to the taster sessions and bizarre themed nights and use them to decide which you want to carry on. You don’t need to continue with everything you sign up for, but it’s important to put yourself out there. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Plus, you know that all that extracurricular goodness will look great on your CV.
- MAKE FRIENDS WITH UPPER YEARS. I know that they can seem kinda scary/intimidating/old, but I promise that it’s worth making the effort and chatting to them every so often. Not only have they already encountered the material you’re learning (so are often well-placed to give advice, help and support), but they’ve also lived in the city for longer so can let you know all about the best places to go.
- ENJOY YOURSELF! I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. At uni you have so much time indulge your interests – make the most of it! Do you have an all encompassing love of origami? There’s a society you can join. Stargazing? AstRoSoc have an observatory in the Student Village. Passionate about iced coffee? There are dozens of indie coffee shops (especially along Queens Road and in St Martin’s Square). Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. Invited to a carnival-themed spoken word poetry night? A talk by an up-and-coming academic? Be it an art exhibition, a secret rave or an educational talk, be a ‘yes man’. You’ll meet so many cool people and have some awesome experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. University is a massive leap into the unknown, and it’s okay to struggle. If at any point you feel overwhelmed, scared or anxious, try not to worry. Whether it’s academic or emotional, we’ve all been there at some point, and you’re not alone. You don’t need to suffer in silence – there are loads and loads of support services around uni that are there to listen and provide guidance. You can find a list of some of these services here: https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ssds
Finally, I encourage you all to explore as much as you can. You’re in a new city, surrounded by opportunities. Make the most of it!