So I have finished my first year at university. All my coursework and exams have been completed, now I’m waiting for the final grades for the year and modules to be released in July – well, I’m not waiting for them but they’ll come. Unfortunately, like all students, this year was cut short and changed due to the pandemic. But I thought it is still a great time for me to look over my first year of university…
Moving To Uni…
So packing for university. That was quite a mission, I not only had to pack for uni but I also had to pack up all my belongings. We took two cars to uni, not because we couldn’t fit it all in one car but I couldn’t fit it all in my little Corsa. I packed all my stuff into boxes and bags, so unloading the car was easy once we got there. At my uni, we had as long as we wanted to park outside the accommodation and unload. The hardest thing was unpacking everything whilst trying to fit it into my small room. Thankfully it had plenty of storage.
As I’m vegan, I arrived early with a few bits of food, so I could claim the top shelf in the fridge and drawer in the freezer. We also went to Lidls and Tescos for a week’s worth of food. I know lots of parents buy the first shop for you, but having just left a full-time job I paid for my first shop, which was the most expensive by the way because I had to buy everything!! All the basic essentials and ingredients.
I didn’t have a ‘mad’ freshers. I wasn’t keen on drinking and going out every night, partly because I’m lazy, but also because I can’t deal with being hungover. I did a few events. I went to the glitter party and a few other events. It was fun but I think freshers would be better in my second or third year when I already know the town and have friends I knew better. There was also a few other introduction sessions for my course I went to – they were all a bit rubbish tbh. I didn’t go to any of those library or how to write academically sessions. And OMG did I wish I did, I had to ask a housemate and a librarian how to use the library, after fresher’s week a lot of these study skills sessions conflicted with my lectures and seminars. So if anything, I advise, as every student ever has, to go to the study skills in freshers week.
Living On My Own
I loved living away from home. I loved deciding what and when to eat, doing my laundry and all those things. I got lucky with my housemates, we have gotten on really well. Although, we did fall out sometimes and have a few disagreements. On the whole, these were easily resolved. That is what it is like, you are housed with people you have never met, you might not all be a perfect match for one another, sometimes you might fall out but it’s okay, it’s chance to learn how to get on with others, navigate difficult situations and mainly just have fun. Because nothing is more fun than getting to live with your friends.
I get study support for one hour a week. I wasn’t able to confirm my place at uni until a few days before starting, this caused me to not being on class lists in the first few weeks and not having my study support sessions set up. This was particularly disappointing for me as I had emailed ahead of the term to confirm they had all my details. I was at uni for 2 weeks and hadn’t received any communication from the student support office. I had to go to the drop-in sessions twice and talk to two different people before it was sorted out. The first person I spoke to, in freshers week, I don’t think she was listening or couldn’t be bothered to sort my issue out properly, so off I went with a load of useless information and nothing sorted out. The problem is, that if people talk enough at me, it confuses me, makes me forget what I came in to say and get sorted out. (Now I write lists, so I can’t be confused and they can’t cause me to forget what I’m trying to achieve.) The second time, I went with a list, a firm idea of what I wanted but I didn’t need it, the person I spoke to was much better and sorted it all out there and then. Anyway, my study support tutor is great, we get on really well and he helps me in all sorts of ways.
Lectures & Placements
I really enjoyed lectures, although I had to get used to how long they were. A lot of information is thrown at you during lectures and it took me several weeks to work out the best way to take notes. I started making notes of paper – didn’t work because I couldn’t read my own handwriting. I then tried various ways of taking notes on my laptop, settling for a program that let me write notes next to the relevant slides. After Christmas, I brought an iPad and began annotating directly on the slides. This worked better for the more practical modules, which needed interaction. Although all these note-taking methods relied heavily on my lecturers putting up the updated lectures slides online – which often wasn’t the case.
We carried out several initial placements but the block clinical placement at the end of the year was cancelled. Which was disappointing, originally it was postponed but now it is cancelled.
I’ll keep this brief because we are all aware of what has been happening. Essentially lectures were cancelled and we were told to leave the university of accommodation. I moved all my things to storage and then, returned back to my parents’ house.
All our lectures were moved online and the exams were adapted for the new circumstances. It has been difficult, with nowhere to study and terrible internet connection but I managed.
I applied to live on campus again next year. So my accommodation is all sorted, it means that I am 5 minutes from my lectures in the morning and can easily drive home without having to drive through town. At the moment, my university wants to do most it’s teaching online and have small group seminars. But really, I have no idea what is going on. The clinical placements are supposed to be restarting next year, our lecturers have already told us that due to Covid-19 there has been a change in the types of placements offered. Currently, I’m focussing on now, the summer and the things I can do now. I’ll leave September until September.