Advice from a second year to a first year and why first year does matter.

During first year the phrase “It doesn’t count towards your degree so it doesn’t matter” is thrown around a lot. This couldn’t be further from the truth! First year is necessary in preparing you for university life and allows you to hoan techniques and get settled. This article will aim to break the stigma of first year and give some advice from a second year perspective.

Revision

First year is a great way to experiment with your revision. Take the time to try new techniques and find the way you’ll learn best. By switching it up now you’ll be able to maximise your productivity and find a routine that’ll suit you. Moreover, see first year as an opportunity to perfect both exam and coursework techniques. Take the time to really go over feedback and see where you’re making mistakes and correct them. For example if you always trip up on referencing, go to the library and get a free referencing guide to see where you’re going wrong. This means these mistakes won’t happen next year and you’ll be able to achieve the best grade possible! In addition to this, first year work is often the basis for the rest of your degree. Therefore it is necessary to ensure you understand basic concepts to give yourself the best start to second year. 

Practice self-discipline

Although first year can seem daunting, take this time where university is less heavy to practise self-discipline. Get into the habit of attending those 9am lectures and waking up early, sticking to your spending budget and cooking nutritious meals. Allow yourself to learn life skills you may not have had to at home until they become easy. This will make university life so much easier as it’ll lift any stress surrounding those areas so you can put your effort into studying. Moreover it’ll allow you to enjoy your downtime or plan in social events without worrying about what you can make for tea or how you’ll afford it. 

Look into work experience opportunities

Another way to maximise your first year experience is to research work experience opportunities related to your course. Although you may think this is too early, it is better to have an idea of what you’re wanting to do before it is too late. Research into whether a placement year will suit you and consider if you’re wanting to do one. These often take place as a sandwich between second and third year or during the summer and can be very advantageous to employers. If you’re unsure the university can offer lots of support surrounding work placements and point you in the right direction for more information. 

One final piece of advice for first year is to make sure you enjoy it. University is over before you know it so make the most of the opportunities you have and say yes as often as you can. Focus on making friends, joining societies, planning socials and going out as this is the only time you’ll have these opportunities and they deserve to be enjoyed to the fullest.

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