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Olivia's top three pieces of advice for new students

Olivia has just finished her second year on the BEng Materials Science and Engineering programme. Here are her top tips for starting university

When I first started at university I had no idea what to expect. Nobody in my immediate family had gone to uni and so I had nobody to turn to for advice. So, in case you are also that person, below is a list of thing I wish I knew before starting!

 1. Sign up to societies

When I first started I had it in my head that uni was going to be really hard and so I would have absolutely no time for societies. I limited myself to one sporting society when there was actually a lot that I thought were interesting. If I was to go back I’d join as many as I wanted and I would make the most out of my first year. While first year wasn’t easy I definitely had more free time than I thought I was going to and now that I’m going to my final year where free time is scarce I feel like I’ve missed my shot. Even if you never actually go to the meetings, having the option to go hang out with some new people and talk about something you like will be a big relief if you start missing home.

 So my advice is to go wild at the freshers fair – because why not!

 2. Get the textbooks early.

When you first start a module it’s always a mad dash to get the right textbooks as the library can run out pretty quick if everyone on the course wants one. Some textbooks are available online and so this doesn’t apply but if not make sure you get the books quick because the first people to get them wont hand them back in until the end of the term.

 So my advice is to get the books as soon as the lecturers tell you which to get!

3. Do the past papers as part of revision

This one might seem obvious as you’ve all been told this in school for years – but it is way more important in university. I wish I’d realised this earlier but the past papers are invaluable. That’s because I don’t think I’ve sat a single exam in the past two years that hasn’t had a question on it that wasn’t in a past paper. I’m not even talking similar questions – I mean that the lecturers reuse questions word for word from the past. So as part of your revision you should also be learning mark schemes too as that has guaranteed me probably at least 20 marks on every exam I’ve sat at uni. This obviously might just be my course and if you don’t get this then don’t come after me – but I know I also find the past papers more than helpful.

 I really hope that this has been helpful! If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to me on unibuddy

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