Advice to first years!

Hello, Ladies, gentle-ladies and MEN (no form of disrespect intended). 

So I know what you’re thinking, “oh Arifa, it hasn’t been a week yet and you’re already posting something”. What can I say guys, I just couldn’t resist writing to you. Acting like I have LOADS of readers that care.. joke, i know you’re forming a bond with me, right? RIGHT?!

So today’s post is about the challenges Ilir, Lama, Durga and Azmina faced and the advice they give based on it. If you don’t know who these people are then make sure to read the last blog and if you couldn’t care less then for the sake of the title of this post, keep reading.. look how much i care about you lot.

They say if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. University life involves a lot of ups and downs, ultimately all these struggles are what help you grow and when you’re done with uni beating you up left, right and centre, you’ll be ready for the corporate world.. I hope!

The first main obstacle is simply the big jump from college/sixth-form to University, all of a sudden you don’t have a babysitter telling you what to do, and most of all no warnings, at all.. yes you read right. There’s no spoon-feeding here. It feels abit like when your mum loses you in the middle of the supermarket as a kid.. lost with no hope. Raise your hands if you’ve felt this lonely before kids.

Secondly group work is such a challenge, especially when certain group members do not share the same commitment to succeed in the group task as you. If you happen to be the group leader in any case the pressure on you dramatically increases, don’t be afraid to take up a leaders role.. hella confidence boosts, I mean look at me.. HELLOOOO?!

A similar challenge is having assignments deadline in close proximity and having to manage time effectively. This ability isn’t something instilled in you since birth, it’s something that you attain over university life.. you get this skill eventually, if you really want it.

Seminar leaders in my case usually have been great. No, I’m not a teacher’s pet, but a lot of the times you find teachers that do not put in as much effort in students or simply cannot teach. Have you guys ever had a teacher that was an awful speaker? Yes? So I thought! its a great laugh during lessons but whilst laughing you probably missed the information the teacher said, thats the very information you need. We’ve all been there and lets face it, that does inevitably affect us.

So what advice does our infamous yet awesome panel have for us you ask? Here it is..

Adjust to the new environment: It takes time to familiarise yourself to somewhere new, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Come out of your comfort zone, experiment, explore and make it your platform to shine. 

Know your study zone: Often we tend to think that four hours of study will do the trick. But we are oblivious to the many factors such as noise, lighting and temperature that do have an impact on the level of focus..  find your natural habitat, that’s a science joke, get it? no? ok.. moving on. 

Be sociable: During your time at University you will be coming across new people all the time. You will have to go out of your comfort zone and for that it is essential to be sociable, it is a key to networking. It is also a way you get people to like you, that is the key to getting things to go your way.. most of all you’ll start having confidence, faith and belief in yourself.

Be Open minded: Be daring, be non-judgmental. That’s the best way of learning and exploring new things. Best things are found when your step out your comfort zone. (Sorry for constantly hitting you with cliche statements and cheesy quotes).

Work hard, play hard (Wiz Khalifa, go listen to it): You may be a first year and your first year may not count but if you don’t work hard, you wont understand the sweet taste of success. It’s only if you work hard will you know what you’re capable of and how much you need to push.

Focus: You’re not going to get this chance again, you don’t want to regret that extra reading you could have done to get that better grade. You don’t want to write the wrong answer because you weren’t focusing when reading the question. Have you ever written an excellent answer only to realise it was answering a question that wasn’t even on the paper? Exactly, avoid that too!

Finally the most important advice…

Don’t compare yourself to others: Your journey is yours, your success and failures are yours. You write your story the way you wish. There is no need for you to dishearten yourself at another’s success. As long as you’re better than you were and you know you’re improving, you owe no one an explanation!! .. but some healthy competition isn’t bad.. ok basically be the best, at ALL costs!

To end today’s post,I’d just like to say that yes university is difficult but its really important to take strategic breaks whilst you’re at it and occasionally treat and enjoy yourself.

Signing off here, Arifa Suleman. 

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