Open notepad and pen, textbook and mug of coffee.

Starting a new course (again)

After going through the huge decision of changing courses at university and moving straight into the next year of a new course, I can tell you, it will trigger some nerves. It’s like going through the first year all over again and we all remember how nervous we were then…

But, this time you’re not all in the same boat – people already know each other and have formed their friendship groups. If you’re a very confident person or someone who doesn’t often worry, then these thoughts may not even enter your head.

Sometimes you might already know someone studying the course you’re moving into, in which case that probably softens the nerves quite considerably. However,  there is a portion of people who are starting new courses that don’t have these buffers and therefore feel quite anxious about the first few weeks.

Who will I sit with during lectures? Maybe I’ll be sat by myself for the whole year? How will I know I’m in the right place when I don’t recognise anyone? Everyone has already made friends, what if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t understand anything the lecturer is talking about?

These are valid concerns, but these are my top tips for kicking away these negative thoughts and fears.

  • People are nice – this means that even though people have already made friends, they will still make an effort to talk to you and befriend you, especially if they know that you’re new to the course.
  • Everyone is doing different modules to the previous year – while you’re in a different position to your fellow students, it’s important to remember that the modules groups are different and therefore the seminar groups will be different. There’s a good chance that other students won’t know that many people in their new groups, especially if the course is big. You’ll all have to make new friends anyway. Plus, the topics you’ll be covering will be new to them too!
  • Lecturers are very supportive – your new tutors will probably provide some material for you to work on over the summer to gain a quick recap of what was covered in the first year. They will also reach out to you and make themselves available for you to share any of your concerns about the course content.
  • You don’t have to rush your learning – you did miss a whole year of teaching in the subject, so if you initially struggle a bit, don’t be too hard on yourself. A good idea is to take notes of things you don’t fully understand and either do some research on it yourself, ask about it in your seminars or email one of your tutors.

While going onto a new course can be stressful and worrying, it’s really important to focus on the positives about this situation. Hopefully, you’re moving onto a course you will enjoy and find interesting, and despite the challenges you may face in doing this, surely it’s better than staying on a course you don’t like.

Given some time, everything that you’re worried about will fall into place and you’ll be thankful that you gathered the courage to go through this process.