Things I’d like to have known before I started university

cutmypicIt completely blows my mind to think that this time last year, I was about to start my first year at university. To anyone who is about to start and doesn’t quite believe people who say your first year will fly by – trust me, it will!

As I approach my second year, I have all the excitement I had before I started my first year, but without the nerves and trepidation. I felt so many mixed emotions before I started university, and I’d love it if I had a time machine so I could go back and tell myself a few things. Instead, I thought I’d get it out in a blog post – who knows, it may come in handy for anyone reading this who hasn’t yet started university.

Firstly, past Laura, don’t choose art history as your extra module. Yeah, at Birmingham University we have this great thing where we have to choose one module from a course outside of our main discipline. I chose politics/sociology type modules, and as luck would have it, I didn’t get any of my top 3 choices (they were assigned at random). I had to go to some clearing event for the modules no one wanted, and chose art history purely because it was coursework only. Well, that 9am Thursday lecture turned out to be the bane of my existence. Sitting in a teeny lecture hall with a ridiculously small desk, listening to someone talking about how the clouds in some painting represent the political turmoil occurring at that point in history? Noooo thanks. You’ll pass it in the end – just – but it’s probably easier if you choose something that you actually have a tiny bit of knowledge about.

On a more positive note, keep on getting involved with societies and volunteering! It’s really scary to go to society taster events where you don’t know anyone, but everyone is very friendly and you’ll meet some fantastic people through them. This time next year you’ll even be on the committee of a society, so it’s really worth doing. Also, you’re totally right in choosing to do some volunteering away from uni as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the university bubble, but you’ll volunteer as a befriender and visit an elderly lady who lives really locally to you, which is a good way of meeting a real range of people – not just people who are 18-21!

Also, don’t feel strange for not wanting to live in halls and wanting to live with James instead. You won’t be missing out on anything – halls are especially great for people who want to have a traditional ‘student experience’ of drinking and clubs and the like, but it isn’t for you at all and having your own space will be so cool. You’ll be on campus loads when you’re involved with various things, and at the end of the day you can go home and have a hot bubbly bath and your own kitchen to cook in – no worrying about other people making a mess! Getting to spend even more time with James will be one of your favourite things about going to university, so choosing to live in your own flat is definitely the way to go.

Finally, don’t worry too much about your actual uni course. It’s quite intense at first as there’s so much neuroscience and statistics, but you’ll adapt soon enough and even end up scoring within the top 10% of psychology first years when the year is finished (yep this is a bit of a humble brag, but if I can’t brag on my own blog, where can I?!).

I hope this post didn’t come across as too narcissistic, but my first year of university was a really steep learning curve, and one full of mostly fantastic experiences. If you’re heading off to university this year, I hope this post has given you some food for thought – and I hope I haven’t offended any future art historians! 😉



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