This time last year, I was buried in revision for my exams. The exams that would determine where I would continue my studies. Now look, here I am, one year at the end of my first year of uni! On one hand I am a bit freaked out at how fast time has flown but on the other hand, I am looking forward to getting stuck in to second year and continue learning and expanding my horizons.
This first year of university has been whirlwind and I have learnt so much not just in terms of academia but I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself to, I’d say university is a personal development programme as much as it is about gaining a degree.
As I mentioned in my last post, I will go over some of the things I wish I had done and somethings I have done which I would do all over again.
The things I wish I’d done:
- Get involved: You’re always told before freshers not to go too crazy with the society memberships. It is sound advice but I think I too seriously. I hardly joined any societies and even with the ones I did join, I hardly did anything with them. I hardly went to any socials (all because I got too lazy) and so didn’t meet as many new people as I would have liked. I definitely wished I had ‘networked’ a lot more.
- Made use of the library: As a sociology student who only has nine contact hours, it does make you wonder where your £9,000 is going. Well for us sociologists, a lot of the money does go towards our section in the library as well as buying subscriptions for online journals (which is really handy when writing those essays). I really wished I had made more use of the library by going in and working in there as well as making more use of the books.
- Spent less on food: I am lazy. Which means preparing lunch beforehand is a chore for me and I hardly do it. This also meant that whenever lunchtime rolled round, or whenever I got hungry, I would make my way to the union shop and buy food. Be warned, it is a rip off. It is okay for a treat from time to time, but on a regular basis it will burn a big hole in your bank balance! I will now redeem myself by making my sandwich at home, its worth the hassle seeing how much money I could save.
Things I have done and would do all over again:
- Climbed Mount Snowdon: Back in October, it seems like it was lifetime away, I climbed to the summit of Mount Snowdon in Wales all in the name of charity. I raised over £500, my original target was only £100. This opportunity came about as the university’s Islamic society took part in ‘charity week’. The climb was the most gruelling task ever, both physically and mentally. All the way up I kept telling myself that I would never do the climb again, but that is all lies. I’d climb Mount Snowdon over over again for charity and the fact that the views were just stunning.
- Got two unitemps jobs: Unitemps has been a life saver this year. I did not have much success at finding a part time permanent job elsewhere but unitemps gave me two jobs! The first being the sociology department’s student blogger (this) and the second was taking up the role of ‘destinations survey telephone interviewer’. Every year graduates, up and down the country, are asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their employment situation/further study six months after they graduated. The survey is sent out to graduates via post and email but we also ring them up if they haven’t filled out the questionnaire via post or email.
- Made great friends: One of the hardest things about staying at home for university is making friends. Friends who stay in halls have all said that your first friends at uni come from you flatmates and halls. Honestly, I found the first month or so of uni really hard in terms of friends. It was a huge change for me, I had always been surrounded by friends, I went from loads having of friends to practically none. But the best advice I have is to love your own company and will fall in to place. After the first few awkward lectures, I had my unofficial seat in lectures, like everyone else, which meant I was sitting near the same people who I got talking to regularly and eventually became friends with.
First year is a very daunting time with a lot of adjusting but once you find your rhythm where your surroundings and faces become familiar, it all comes together.