Undergraduate Degree

10 things I have learnt from University

1. Commuting to London is emotionally draining

Commuting to university ultimately saved me money in rent and food costs but the emotional drain of having to push yourself through a long commute home was emotionally draining. I don’t regret it but I have come to appreciate the people who do it every day ,365 days a year, for work and am now acutely aware that I want to avoid it at all costs in the future.

2. You don’t always need to do the pre-reading

Most lecturers will give you pre-lecture reading. 90% of the time I never did it. This was mainly because I didn’t really understand what it was talking about and after the main lecture I was able to go back home and understand what they wanted me to read. I am definitely not advocating not doing the pre-reading, but I am making you awake that I often used it as post-lecture reading and often got more out of it. Its an alternative to think about.

3. Try not to submit the work the night before the deadline

This was one of the worst mistakes I ever made, the stress of being unprepared for a deadline had an effect on my workload but also my emotional sanity. I would get so stressed if I hadn’t done the work a week before the deadline, but often I would still be typing awake late the night before its due. When I continue in my studies in the future I can honestly say I have learnt my lesson; all my work will be completed before the deadline and not be so stressful to hand in.

4. Don’t buy the textbooks…. You can find them all in the library

University textbooks are expensive and not to mention contain much the same information. Have a look in the university library before you purchase anything and if you do, check the second hand shop on Amazon or even Ebay to find a cheeper deal. The only book I brought full price and new was during my first year and needless to say it has rarely been used.

5. Never sit at the front during lectures

Sitting at the front of lectures is the university equivalent to flying a big flag over your head stating ‘teachers pet’. Its also the first place any lecturer will look when asking questions. If its a subject your stuck on the best place to sit is 3-5 rows backwards; close enough to show you are paying attention but far enough away for the lecture to understand your not a walking encyclopedia.

6. 40% will be enough

Especially if your first year doesn’t count, you find yourself saying 40% is enough when you submit your grade. Truthfully if this ever happened you’ll be very upset and annoyed so when you hear people tells you that. Ignore it. 40% is the pass mark nobody wants, its like scraping an OK, or the lecturer passing you so you don’t look bad in their module. Never ever aim for 40%, you should always be aiming for 65-ish at least.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand.

Lecturers are willing to answer your questions if you are stuck, what they are not willing to answer is stupid ones. If you have a question about the module or the content, before you even contemplate asking a lecturer, ask the following people.

  • Friends on the course
  • The course discussion or chat
  • Google (google usually knows all).
  • Only then, and only then go to the lecturer about the module or if you still don’t understand the content.

If you’ve followed these steps you’ll will be welcomed into the lecturers office with open arms and they will appreciate what you have done, if not, you’ll have a black spot next to your name in the lectures for them to ask you hard and stupid questions.

8. Save the student loan, you’ll thank yourself

I have always made an attempt to save as much of my student loan as possible. I work whilst studying and so often have just enough to live of each month. It means that usually I can get away without using the majority of my student loan. This has been really beneficial to me over the last few years; i’ve had to get my car fixed and repaired and the student loan helped with that. I also had to pay unexpected bills that I couldn’t have afforded otherwise. If you can save the last chunk of cash; it can also leave you a little egg to rent a new flat, which that shiny new job.

9. Always do the revision – you’ll regret it otherwise

leaving revision to the last minute is something I have always precedence never to do. Alas, sometimes I am an idiot and do leave it to the last week or two. You’ll never learn it this way, so if a question comes up thats a little out the box, you wont have the understanding to work out which piece of information is relevant.

10. Don’t take your laptop to lectures

I am that classic meme… you know the one, of the student with their Macbook typing away every single word the lecturer says. I will be the first to tell you its not help what so ever. You spend so much time ensuring you have all the information down that you are listening or understanding what is going on. I’ve learnt that having your laptop on hand can be a distraction too. In lecturers that are required but not my favourite subject I have a habit of opening up google and not paying any attention. A note book and pen allows you to get all the information you want to remember whilst having to listen to everything the lecturer states… it also helps that these days most lectures are recorded too!

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