Hey everyone, hope you’ve all had a cracking freshers week or equivalent!! It was great to see loads of people at the freshers fayre (I was on the hockey team stand, recruiting like a man on a mission). Hopefully all the stuff you’ve done during the days has helped prepare you – inductions and various advice ‘talks’ on things which will help you with your studies! I’m sure I don’t even need to ask if you’ve had a good night life this week ‘cos I bet it was a beast of a week! Best to stay in the next few nights and focus on how the lectures go for your first week – it wont help you settle if you’re nursing a serious hangover!
So I can still remember my first week when I actually started lectures..and boy did it worry me!! All of a sudden I was sat in a huge lecture room with 100 others, and there was a lecturer at the front embarking on a subject I knew nothing about. The panic hit me… I suddenly started to ask myself why I was even studying this subject – I obviously couldn’t follow the lecturer so maybe I had chosen the wrong course or something, and made a terrible mistake!
At this point, I gotta stress one thing to you – EVERYONE feels that way and freaks out just a tiny bit inside! It’s completely natural in a new environment and with a new subject to learn about, but you will soon get to grips with it. If there are course-specific words used in your lecture that you don’t have a clue about, write them down, and then when you get home later in the day, google it like a badman. Whilst you should stay away from wikipedia or similar whilst writing essays, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to check out what things mean early on. It will really help.. after I did that I found myself understanding my lectures instead of resting my head in my hands for the hour!
Also, do not be fooled into thinking you will be able to remember everything when the time comes to revise, or that you will be able to rely solely on the internet resources..it really doesn’t work like that, so make notes straight from the word go – just scribble the important parts of your lecture down onto a pad. Later in the day, take half an hour aside to simply write up the notes into neat, legible revision sheets. It will help you to go over what you learnt in the day, look anything up you don’t understand, and put you in a better place for your next lecture, not to mention the exam season when you come to revise!!
It may seem like a bit of hassle to write up notes each day, but trust me when I say you’ll be relieved you did it later on in the year when you are preparing for exams! The fact that you are all reading this means you probably care about your studies and your time at Uni, so try not to waste it! If one or two coursemates are playing the lazy game and occasionally skipping a lecture, don’t be tempted to follow suite. You are paying for this education, and guaranteed those that don’t attend are twice as likely to have to retake at the end of the year, so don’t let it be you:)
Amazon could also be a life saver at this point for grasping the more difficult modules you may face. I struggled last year with learning Java from scratch (a computer programming language), so I purchased a ‘Java Programming for Dummies’ book off Amazon, and it ended up being my highest scoring module at the end of the year! Using a book from the ‘for Dummies’ series does not make you stupid or anything, it shows you have initiative to go away and endure the difficult parts of your course! Plenty of my coursemates followed suite when they saw it. It’s not too expensive either.. you can probably pick up a book for around £5..maybe less if you have an NUS Extra card with the Amazon discount.
So basically, hit your lectures with a PMA (positive mental attitude) and keep in mind what motivates you to study your chosen subject! With a bit of time, your understanding will improve and you’ll be flying through the year:) best of luck to you all! J