Advice on Starting University

The latest instalment of our student advice comes from Charlotte Tyrrell, who is about to start her third year.

Try not to stress out

As a mature student I didn’t have the nerves of waiting for A level results to see if I had got into the university of my choice. I knew months before that I had an unconditional offer from Northampton, but in some ways that was worse! This meant I had much longer to worry and stress about what university would look like for me. If I could tell my past self one thing it would be to try not to worry (I know, easier said than done), but everyone is in the same boat. Whether you are a school leaver or mature student, you will likely be going in knowing no one and that’s ok! I did not meet one person who was rude or didn’t want to speak to me or made me feel uncomfortable. Everyone wants to make friends and you are no different.

Try new things

You can do it! Image from Unsplash

There is a long list of things I would like to go back and tell myself. However, another university related word of wisdom I would give is to try and experiment with your writing style and explore subjects you haven’t looked at before. Your first year doesn’t count so use this time to make mistakes and try new things. All of the lecturers offer to meet up and give you more feedback on your assessments, definitely use this! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t acing every essay, if you could do it all perfectly then you wouldn’t need to go to university.

Enjoy yourself    

Finally, try and enjoy yourself. For a lot of people, it will be their first time in a new city and living away from their parents. Don’t compare yourself to other people, we are all on our own journey and you will find your way. Your experience will likely be slightly different from mine due to Covid but I would recommend using all the support available if you need it. One thing I really like about Northampton university is that the classes aren’t held in the old-style lecture theatres. This means that you get to know the lecturers and they get to know you. You aren’t alone, the history department are (mostly) really friendly and willing to help, all you need to do is ask!

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