What University Has Been Like For Me and My University Tips: Everything from Making Friends to Studying

Hi everyone and welcome back to The Coveted Lifestyle!

With me being back to uni I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m feeling about going back to University and what University has been like for me over the past 4 years. I’ve not really spoken that much about University on my blog, I’m sure my last post about uni was around this time last year but I’ve decided to change that as I feel I need to talk more about uni on my blog, it is a big part of my life after all.

Seeing as I don’t talk much about uni on here I’ll do a little background about me at uni before I get talking about everything else. I’m studying Events Management and I’m currently going into my 4th year. For anyone who doesn’t know in Scotland, an Honours Degree lasts 4 years instead of 3 like in England but you can graduate at the end of the 3rd year with a normal degree, so technically I already have a degree just not the honours one. I’m about to go into my first semester which lasts until the middle of November and then I go back for semester 2 in January before graduating in July.

I’m actually really excited about going back but seeing as I’m going back I thought I would do a deep post about what University has been like for me. I thought this post might be helpful to anyone who is maybe starting uni this year and is looking to see how other people find it. I know I would have loved a post like this when I started uni and with it being my last year I feel I have plenty of knowledge on all the topics I’m going to talk about. All the topics I’ve picked are ones that I feel are major aspects of being at University. Now I’m not saying that your uni experience will be the exact same as mine as everyone’s experience is different but I just want to share my experiences and tips with you.

MAKING FRIENDS

I’ll start off with this one before get onto all the hard work that comes with uni. A lot of people say that you’ll meet tons of friends at uni and make lots of friends but for me, that’s not the case. I have maybe around 5 or 6 friends at uni and to be honest I am so so happy with the friends I have but I wouldn’t say making friends was the easiest. I live at home and just travel into uni but a lot of my friends lived in the Halls of Residence for their first year and I feel, especially at my uni, that you make more friends if you stay at the uni. I did find it hard to make friends due to not living on campus as I only met people on my course which I’m not saying is a bad thing but my friends have friends from different courses and they all lived in halls of residence. I sometimes do wish that I moved to a different uni so I would have got the Halls experience and got to meet more people but at the same time, I don’t regret not moving away.

The main thing I’d say about making friends at uni is to just talk to everyone or try to, I was shy when I started but I did talk to a few people in my first day and I still have a few of those friends that I made on the first day of uni. Talk to people on your course, create a group chat with everyone in your course and just talk to people in general, usually, everyone at uni is in the same boat as you and are looking for friends too so you aren’t the only one.

LECTURES AND TUTORIALS

Now onto what it’s actually like at uni. At my uni and I think it’s pretty standard for every uni that you have Lectures and you have the Seminars/Tutorials. The Lectures are big classes where a Lecturer stands at the front and delivers information to the class. It’s not like what it is in the movies, usually, it’s just a lecturer talking for around an hour and it can be quite boring. There is usually a presentation that goes along with the Lecture which is usually the same information that the Lecturer tells the class.

I usually make notes when I’m in a lecture, I’ve tried many different methods of taking notes in my lectures but I still haven’t found one to this day. I always find it’s best to take note of the things the Lecturer says that isn’t in the lecture slides as one they are usually very useful and two if you don’t take extra notes then you’ll only ever have the lecture notes to go by and some lecture notes are so vague that they don’t give out that good information.Seminars/ Tutorials are the accommodating class to a Lecture. These classes are smaller than a lecture and more in-depth, mine last around 2 hours. Usually, you have work to do before the class and then you have discussions about the work in class. A lot of the time its chapters from the core reading you have to read or there can be worksheets that you have to complete.

The lectures are the easiest part of uni I say, I mean they can be a bit boring but they require the least amount of work. You don’t really have to go to a lecture if you don’t want to but I’m not encouraging that, you should go to every class you are timetabled for at uni. All you have to do for a lecture is either print off the slides or have some form of way to take notes and then turn up, that’s it. Not much work needed to go into them.

The seminars/tutorials, however, are hard work. If you have 3 different modules then you have 3 tutorials and 3 lots of tutorial work to do. I know that you are at uni and the work isn’t supposed to be easy but it can be so hard to do 3 lots of tutorial work in such a short space of time. Sometimes there is under a week between the lecture and the tutorial so it can be hard to do the work in that time while juggling everything else. Sometimes you can be asked to read 2 chapters for one class, a whole worksheet for another and then read 2 articles and 1 chapter for another class and honestly I can never do it all. I’m going to talk more about coping with all the aspects of uni later on in this post so I’ll end this here part here and pick it up later.

ASSESSMENTS

All the while you’ve got your lectures and tutorials you’ve also got assessments. I’ve had lots of different types of assessments over the years of being at Uni but mostly it’s essays. I’ve also had powerpoint presentations, a poster presentation, online discussions and business plans for my assessments before so I’ve had my fair share. Obviously, I also get exams but mostly my assessments are essays. Writing essays in uni is way different to writing essays in high school. You have to reference, cite and have credible academic sources which I had never done before going to uni. I struggled quite a bit in my first year at uni when it came to writing essays due to not knowing what to do, all my essays in my first year got D grades (maybe one C) whereas now I’m better with everything and I’ve actually gotten A’s for essays which is the first time I’ve ever gotten an A in an essay before.

I would always say ask for help if you are really stuck on an assessment. I’ve emailed many of my lecturers about my assessments and I’ve had mixed reviews. I had lecturers meet up with me and help me and I’ve also had lectures not even meet up with me after arranging a date and time to meet. Other lecturers will just say they can’t help you at all and I hate those type of lecturers. There is no harm in trying to ask for help though because you’ll never know unless you ask. Another thing when it comes to essays is to try not and get caught up with what your friends are doing. If your friend is nearly finished their essay and you aren’t don’t worry about it, you’ll still submit it on time. My uni friends and I are really helpful to each other when it comes to essays so another tip is to talk to your friends if you are needing advice but don’t show or send your essays to anyone, they may be your friend but you don’t want them to copy your work. Also don’t fully go by what they say as they might not be right either if you are really struggling, go to your Lecturer.

Exams at my uni are slightly similar to what I got in high school. Most of my exams are around 2 hours long and it’s either long essay questions or multiple choice then essay questions. When it comes to exams, I’d recommend using a technique that works best for you. I don’t revise the same way as my friends so don’t try and copy the way your friends do as it could either go 2 ways – really well or horribly wrong. One tip I am going to give you though is when you are revising for exams is to always give yourself some “YOU” time. Be it time to watch some TV or go out of the house but don’t just sit and revise for hours because you’ll end up not retaining anything and stressing yourself out. I’ve been there and done that and it’s not good for you or your mental health. I’ve been that stressed with exams (and assessments in general) I’ve been in tears about them. I know exams are a big deal but affecting your mental health and yourself that badly for an exam isn’t worth it.

COPING WITH EVERYTHING

This is such a big part of uni because if you don’t learn to cope with uni life at the start then it’ll be hard the whole time. It can be hard to juggle attending uni, doing all the work, assessments and having a life in general but there is a way you can balance it out. First and second year of uni is a lot easier to juggle as the workload isn’t as bad but third and fourth year are a lot harder. Every year I’ve been at uni I’ve bought a diary and used it to keep me on track and I’d recommend it so much as you can plan when you want to do all the work you have to do plus see when you are free to do it because it also has your life in there too. I’ve been doing that already this semester and I’m slowly getting there in coping with everything again. I like to block out some time in a day to spend 1 to 2 hours doing uni work, I do a lot of work when I’m actually at uni in my free hours between classes but I also choose a time when I’m not in uni and I’m free to do more uni work.

Again like I said when talking about exams and assessments is that you need to give yourself some “YOU” time. I know it may seem hard to do that at first because you need to do so much work but if you try and do it at least 2 times a week you’ll thank yourself at the end of the semester once everything is over. I always find if I spend too much time doing uni work I week I end up distracting myself from that uni work and that can be a bad thing (I am a good procrastinator). So if I block off 2 days in my week to be free from any uni work then I’ll be less likely to go off track when I actually do uni work (I mean I still do procrastinate sometimes but I mean who doesn’t).

I’ll probably do another blog post like this at the end of my Fourth Year to talk about the hardships of fourth year or the final year of uni as it is the busiest and hardest year of uni. I know this post has been very wordy but stay tuned for lighter posts later on in the week, less intense. My final tip is to try and enjoy uni as much as possible because you only get to experience it for the first time once so live it to the fullest.

See you all in my next post

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