Exeter, Devon UK • Oct 5, 2023 • VOL XII
Exeter, Devon UK • Oct 5, 2023 • VOL XII
Home Lifestyle What I Wish I’d Known

What I Wish I’d Known

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No matter how prepared you feel when you arrive at university, unexpected things always crop up at the most inopportune of times and you will find yourself floundering at least once, most likely during first term when you’re really still finding your feet. Things like time management, budgeting and planning ahead are key to a smooth transition to university life, else you’ll find yourself out of money and living off pasta for the last week of the month like I did at the start of my first term. That said, some things were a pleasant surprise – I found making friends a lot easier than expected, partly thanks to having been active on Facebook groups prior to the beginning of term, meaning I was already familiar with a lot of faces on my course. However, even if everyone on your course is a total stranger, once you start going to lectures and seminars, and attending society events you’ll soon find you get to know more and more people and your friendship group will likely develop organically out of mutual connections.
One thing that caught me off guard that I wish I was aware of earlier on is how quickly you need to start to consider your second year accommodation. In Exeter, the shopping around starts very early and most people start to decide who they want to live with by opportunities week – week 6 of the first term, and the houses start to appear on the market in early-mid November. The Students’ Guild hosts an accommodation fair in late November with estate agents and landlords present, and a lot of properties are put on the market at this stage, which is still a lot earlier than many universities.
Another thing that throws a lot of people off is the amount of independent work that has to be done. This varies by course, but if your course has lower contact hours you will generally be expected to do more work outside of supervised hours and it’s up to you how, where and when you do this work. I found it best to set aside a time each week to do reading for different modules, and stick to it. It can also be useful to have a set time and place to meet with a study group each week to discuss seminar questions, if you have them. Giving yourself set times to do work and sticking to them regularly throughout the term will help you to keep on top of everything, but also allow yourself some flexibility in case you feel ill, or your friends schedule a get-together in time you would usually be working. The work-life balance is incredibly important to an enjoyable time at university and the quicker you can find that balance, the quicker you feel settled in to university life.

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