THREE things which every first year at University needs to do

First year is an exciting time RIGHT!

Whether your moving away from home, making new friends, have just turned 18, or all of the above, it is a massive step in each of our lives.

It is good to get the experience out of the way, or at least make a head start, because you are less likely to have the time in your remaining years – especially your dissertation year.

Each person has a different experience of university. I just want to share a few hints and tips from mine to help you take advantage of potential opportunities as soon as you can.

Join clubs:

Membership in clubs and societies at university can provide you with critical experience for your future career. The occupational societies such as the political clubs, academic subject-specific clubs, and media societies, are a clear example. However, in any society which is organised by it’s members and organises events or other activities throughout the year it is possible to gain valuable experience – especially if you are a committee member.

Joining clubs in your first year is very valuable because it gives you the opportunity to see how you fit it with different groups of people and different activities. It is important to test the ground in order to find clubs that are the right fit for you.

For example, I was a member of the drama society and two sports clubs in my first 2 years, so it took me a while to find the activity which I had real interest and passion for.

I joined the university newspaper in my third year, and became sports editor at the beginning of my fourth year. Even though I was at a disadvantage to the editors in that same position who had been writers since their first year, they were patient and showed me how to use the essential editing software. Likewise, I did the same for new writers to replace me.

So I am grateful to myself that I tried out other clubs in first and second year, because that allowed me to find out where my passion really lay.

Explore your new campus and new city:

There are hidden gems on every campus. Especially, if you are in a new town or city the world is your oyster.

I couldn’t wait to move away from home and gain my independence. However, it wasn’t until the final month of my final year after I had submitted my dissertation that I really explored my campus at the University of Stirling. I had always thought of Stirling as a small campus in the middle of nowhere, but I then found a list just like this one on The Tab to find on about the gems on my campus.

In the last two months before I moved out of my campus I had visited:

  • a monument to one of Scotland’s national heroes;

  • a mountain peak overlooking the whole campus (see picture above);

  • the lake and fed the ducks and swans;

  • several charming cafes and restaurants I had only every looked in and passed by.

Pro-actively make friendship gestures with your new flatmates:

When you are living with new people it can be intimidating and even difficult to bond. In my first week at Stirling University I missed some major opportunities to bond with my flatmates when I didn’t go out the first night. So I’m giving you this advice based on the steps I took to re-establish and reinforce positive relationships with my flatmates.

I took it upon myself to find out my flatmates’ birthdays and also some more of their personal interests. That way I was able to personalise cards, gifts, and greetings.

In turn, it helped when I moved into new accommodation in each following year to learn from mistakes which were made.

from mistakes which were made.

fffflearntttt from from mfrom mistakes which were made.

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