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12 April 2021

Things I’ve Learnt as a First-Year (Even in a Pandemic)

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When my cohort of Uni Freshers anxiously wrote up their cover letters and blagged on about how our part-time jobs made us the perfect student, I don’t think anyone quite imagined the circumstances in which we’d be working with. I imagined giant lecture halls awkwardly occupied by silence – except for the occasional tap on a keyboard and the voice of the lecturer. But, instead, I think I can count how many times I’ve been into a lecture hall on both hands…maybe one.

That being said, I think there are a few things I’ve learnt about uni I’d like to share despite it all. Even if I’ve been into a lecture hall once.

1. You’re on Your Own

One thing I’ve learnt is that independence is both extremely stressful and liberating. From a student perspective, we’re now studying at a much more advanced level and we are treated and expected to act as such. We only get what we want from a degree if we put in what it needs (and no my lecturers have not told me to say that). It’s like having a house plant, it needs water, and attention to flourish – and that’s exactly what we need to do. Days of skating by based on a rigid timetable of lessons we have to attend are over, there’s no more barely passing and hoping for the best (which I definitely did…a lot) at the end of the day, a degree is what will open doors to dream careers, and careers aren’t made on their own. One saying I like to think about is; “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” so my advice to any first years is to take any and every opportunity that even slightly perks your interest – you never know what kind of doors it will open.

2. Schools Are Liars

Yep. They are – or maybe scaremongerers are more accurate. I remember on my first day – quite literally my first ever uni lecture – I got lost on my way to campus, was twenty minutes late and every fibre of my being expected to get yelled at or to have made a terrible first impression. But my lecturer barely batted an eyelid, just told me not to worry about it and gave me my induction week timetable. So yes; schools lie to us. Uni is not a scary place. In fact, my lecturer once told me “lecturers become lecturers so we don’t have to do the whole discipline thing,” and that pretty much sums them up.

3. Induction Week

That leads me nicely into my next point; induction week. I can imagine in normal times, induction week would have been much more glamorized with fresher centric events. But they can be a great way to get acquainted with your coursemates, lecturers and the campus. Edge Hill, being a campus uni, isn’t the hardest thing in the world to navigate, but just being able to familiarise yourself with campus and the buildings your likely to encounter is a great way to take the edge (pun not intended) off of your first few days on campus, and also maybe make a couple of friends – getting lost is always much more fun with fun company.

 

So, as the end of my first year looms ominously in the distance, I hope I’ve left you with a few nuggets of wisdom – if not, hope my failure to find my way around campus made you smile a tad – it made me laugh writing about it and to any first years starting in September, make sure to enjoy it, relax. If my year could get through it, you guys will all be fine.

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By Charlie Smith

Blogger

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