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Is First Year a waste of time?

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James Pidduck is certain that throwing in serious deadlines with a percentage towards our degree grade will impinge on the first year at Exeter and will have a negative effect on many students.

Starting your first year at university is a daunting prospect for everyone. The transition away from the comforts of school to the bright lights of university away from home is a scary lifestyle choice, let alone academic one.

Photo Credit: Tadeeej via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Tadeeej via Compfight cc

The main anxieties for any Exeter fresher are forming strong friendships, avoiding flat dramas, cooking regular edible meals and ‘finding your place’ – and quite rightly so. To throw in further pressure of essays and exams that actually count towards our degree is too heavy a burden for the helpless first year to take.

Your first year at university is all about getting involved in student life and taking advantage of all the opportunities thrown your way while you have the time, whether that’s joining a university orchestra, scoring goals on the football pitch or simply a dedication to hitting up Timepiece. While work is undoubtedly important, your first year is especially about meeting new people and making those life-long friends, and essentially establishing where the university experience is going to take you.

Adjusting to the university marking scheme is also a really important issue to raise. It undeniably takes a while to realise how university essays differ from school work, and what changes need to be made in content and style to gain those extra marks that’ll keep you on track. Assessed essays in the very first term at university would be a cruel, premature challenge when you haven’t worked out exactly how to ace an essay. Plus, let’s be honest, it takes a good while to get your head around referencing too – myself and MLA still have a volatile relationship.

I’m certain that throwing in serious deadlines with a percentage towards our degree grade will impinge on the first year at Exeter and will have a negative effect on many. First year is already stressful enough for a wealth of other reasons outside the exam room.

My first year not counting did not affect my commitment towards work – I still managed to achieve the grades I wanted whilst taking advantage of other opportunities on offer as much as possible. It enables you to focus in Years 2 and 3 after a year of fun, when the pressure starts to mount, whilst having a practice year behind you reassures you that you can actually do it – and that a university degree is very possibly within your grasp.

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