Hi, I’m Sam and I began studying at the University of Portsmouth last September. I’m staying with Unilife and have been asked to do a series of blogs about my time here.
As my first term is still relatively fresh in my mind, I’m going to talk about some of the things that I think would be useful for other students to know when starting university.
- Get to know your city
One day you will be late. It could be for a lecture or a train, and knowing the quickest way to where you’re going without relying on your phone is going to make a difference. Obviously, you’ll learn it over time but having a walk around, you may even discover things you didn’t know were there. As Unilife residents, we are very fortunate in that all Unilife buildings are situated in prime university locations and are also in very close proximity to the city centre and main public transport links.
Portsmouth and Southampton are thriving tourist destinations with lots of cultural attractions and high-profile events. Take the time to explore the cultural aspects of your city, whether it’s a visit to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard or Southampton’s Titanic exhibition. Why not try out one of the cities’ annual music festivals; Victorious in Portsmouth or Common People in Southampton. Be sure to make the most of these world class attractions and events taking place right on your doorstep.
- Don’t overthink your course
Before leaving for Uni I had a very basic idea of what my course would be like. I knew what topics would be covered but I wasn’t sure how in-depth they’d go so I did find myself asking the question,“Did I know enough?” The truth is that the staff are really helpful and are happy to go out of their way to help any students who find some topics difficult. On the other hand, they are also happy to let those who are more confident be free to explore topics further. Remember that tutors and lecturers want the best for their students and will always be willing to meet to discuss any challenges you may be facing with your course. The Universities themselves also have a whole host of free support services available for students, this ranges from support with your studies all the way through to pastoral support, so take the time to explore the range of services available to you. I was also very encouraged to discover that Unilife work extremely closely with the universities and have regular meetings with the their support services, so if you are struggling in anyway you can also discuss this with your Unilife House Manager who will always be willing to advise and support you wherever possible.
- Time management
I’ve been told the benefits of time management far too many times, but it’s true. Being able to juggle tasks, both academic and day-to-day, can lead to a less stressful time at Uni. Don’t find yourself at the end of the night wondering how you’re going to hand in that coursework on time. I’m not saying you need to write it all down on a calendar, but just be aware of what you need to do and by when.
- Be sociable – get involved
For most freshers going to university it will be the first time you have spent any significant amount of time away from friends and family, so it’s no surprise that making new friends and socialising can be a concern for many students. However, speaking from my own experience, there really is no need to fret as almost all new students are in the same boat and therefore are just as keen as you to socialise and meet new people.
As a fresher I was both surprised and pleased to see just how many socialising opportunities exist as part of your first term at Uni. This includes the obvious freshers events but also a whole host of clubs and societies are at your disposal. With over 150 student-led societies, from the Harry Potter Society to the Rock Climbing Society, there really is something for everyone…..so be sure to check out the range of clubs and societies available and get involved.
Of course, as a Unilife student we also benefit from a range of free social events within our buildings which are a fantastic way to get to know your neighbours. So far this year these events have included VIP Unilife Welcome parties at fantastic venues including Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower and Southampton’s Sea City Museum, Christmas parties in the common room and the forthcoming Chinese New Year parties. So, be sure to follow Unilife on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with everything that is taking place.
- And finally – enjoy every minute
Speak to any graduate and they will all tell you that the first year is the best and perhaps the easiest year of your degree. Take the time to get to know your University, your accommodation and the services available within each in order to settle in and prepare yourself for the rest of your degree. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and take part in as many activities and opportunities as possible, after all university is not just about the academic qualifications but also the experience itself and this can help prepare you for later life.