There is endless ways to get advice on all things university from bodies such as UCAS as well as your friends, parents and lecturers etc. but we think that it is extra nice to hear tips from your peer group who have already been through that transition from school or college or home to university; more specifically, your peers at your university, reading the same subject as you. So, with that in mind, this post features a compilation of answers from a survey this project did last year. It was sent to all current QMUL Geography students and regards everything from academic studies to socialising, finance and living in London.
What were people’s biggest concerns about their course?
Unsurprisingly, many students’ greatest concern was the step-up in work/reading from A-Level.
These concerns are mainly addressed through tutorials in your first year of studying. Within your tutor group you shall be taught the difference between A-Levels and the likes, and university standard work – for example, how to reference. It may all seem a little daunting at first but take our word for it, it will all gradually fall into place. Or, if you are struggling a little, the PASS scheme can help, but more on that in another blog.
What were people’s biggest concerns about London life?
The overriding theme here was that London is a big city with lots of unknowns – not knowing about student money saving on the transport system or more basic facts like where the nearest supermarket is.
Lengthier posts shall be addressing these issues closer to your arrival at QM.
How did students prepare for life on a student budget?
Everybody will tell you make sure you budget, budget, budget! This, for last years’ students, was achieved by opening a second bank account to manage finances, giving oneself a monthly allowance or by getting a job. It’s really important that you at least try and stick to some sort of plan, as it will certainly help come the end of the year when everyone gets low on monies!
‘The longer you can survive without an overdraft, the better (but don’t be afraid to dig into it – it’s a lifesaver)’
The two responses we liked most were:
“I didn’t prepare” and “Sainsbury’s Basics is exquisite. Embrace”.
What is the biggest difference between school and uni?
We had a whole range of responses here, emphasising just how different school is from uni, but most notably it is the independence of university study/life that is the key difference. For example, academically speaking, the independent learning style is a far cry from school/college and allows a lot more freedom. Similarly you have “the ability to use free time effectively” as well as more responsibility over both yourself and your studies.
What would students have done differently during their first year?
Read, read, read, read! That is the biggest regret when it comes to current students looking back over their first year of study – they wish they had engaged more with the lecturers and with the reading. The following are the best bits of advice that arose from this question: I wish I had…
“Attended all the lecturers; done all the reading”
“Communicated more with academic staff”
“Kept up with readings and managed my time better”
“Read when I was supposed to”
“As a human geographer, spoke to more of the physical geographers”