Real Talk: Surviving Semester One


So this is it, you’re in university now! There’s a lot to take in, so here are some tips to get you through your first semester.

Get used to working independently

The biggest change coming your way is the expectation to work on your own. In school, you get used to having a helping hand every step of the way without having to ask for it. Now, lecturers will expect you to take care of yourself – no one will give out to you if you miss a lecture. You will need to complete some wider reading about subjects and submit your assignments on time. It’s up to you to find out the information that you need to do well.

Of course, you don’t need to do this all on your own. There are so many supports there for you:

  • Ask your lecturer after class if you have specific questions about a topic
  • Chat to your librarian, they can help you research and plan your work
  • Use academic support services, like academic writing and maths support
  • Of course, chat to other students – you are all in the same boat after all!

Learn how to budget

In today’s economy, it is very hard to survive and thrive as a student today. With an accommodation crisis and grants at an all-time low, all of us are struggling to get by, and it hits our pockets the hardest.

Learning to manage your money is a key skill during this time; you are probably living more independently now and learning this will help you for life.

Working off a monthly budget can see where your money is really going; going out every night of the week can sound fun, but it can be a huge drain. Save on some things when you can – you won’t regret it in the long run.

If you come into financial difficulty during University, it’s important to reach out for help as soon as you can. Pop into the Students’ Union to get some free and independent advice on the Student Assistance Fund, or other sources where you can get a helping hand.

Network and socialise

University is where you are going to build bonds with people, potentially for life. This can be a place where you can finally meet people with similar interests to you, and work on projects you wouldn’t have thought possible before. Spending your entire time in University only in lectures isn’t the full experience you should have, so get out there and get involved!

– Societies are a brilliant way to share your passions with other people, and work on what you love. Events happen weekly, and if no society peaks your interest, you can make your own! It’s never too late to join, so get stuck in asap.

– Sports clubs are also very active across the University, and they encourage every type of student to get involved. You don’t need to be the next Katie Taylor at all at all!

– Of course, your Students’ Union is always looking for Students to get involved- it’s your Union after all! Visit our website to learn the many ways you can make a difference. Join our events crew and welfare crew to join in and help out.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion

I’ll admit I was terrible at doing this in my first year. However, if you never voice your opinion, nothing is going to change. You can shape your experience of university through what you say and do.

Your voice and your opinion plays a big part in the shaping of your University. Big decisions are being made that affect you and your class, so never be afraid to speak up. Don’t like the structure of a module? Run for class rep and meet your lecturers to change it. Disagree with decisions made by your SU? Run for Student Council and be at the heart of decisions being made. The University is nothing without its students, and change starts with you.

Relax, you will get through this!

The first semester is a big time for all new students; it can often take longer to get settled in. Try and reach out if you’re struggling and use the support network built around you here to make the most out of your experience.

Visit and contact us and find out more.

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