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What's the first week like?

Final-year Physics student Mariam takes you through what to expect when you step onto campus for the first time.

Starting university is a unique and exciting time for all of us. We toiled and cried and struggled during our secondary school days, but finally with our heads held high we’re able to say, “we made it”. The feeling of all that hard work for so many years has finally paid off.

I still vividly remember my first day when I had to enrol at Queen Mary, I was lucky enough that some of my close friends made it with me. After getting our pictures done for our IDs we walked around the campus with wide eyes at the different stalls with free pizza and goodies put up for welcome week, I myself joined the Islamic Society which I’m still a part of three years later.

There is a very heightened sort of independence you gain when you start university. You really start to notice it either after moving in or, in my case since I commute, when you officially start lectures. Of course, the lecturers are incredibly friendly and approachable so I was always able to ask questions without any fear of judgement or scrutiny by the professors or peers, since if you’re confused by something then most likely your peers will be in the same situation. However, it is decidedly less personal than what it was like during secondary, there’s nobody to chase you up if you have a late assignment and it falls to you to drag yourself out of bed in the morning for lectures.

Being aware of that and preparing in order to adjust is incredibly important. Setting reminders on your calendar for deadlines, keeping an organiser if you prefer something physical or even as little as telling your roommates or family about upcoming midterm exams or assignments can really make a difference in trying to stay on top of things. I know that if it wasn’t for telling my mum about a midterm I had in my first year, I would have overslept and missed it.

Overall, I think your first year in university is something that should be treasured and fully experienced. This chance will never come again and take it from me when I say that you should really enjoy your transition to university by taking every opportunity to experience any events, societies and even explore around London.

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