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School of Law

Tips and advice for new students

Second Year Law and Politics Student Uswah Naseem talks about some common anxieties, and offeres some ways to cope and overcome them.

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Being of the first-generation in my family to go to University, starting a Law and Politics degree at a renowned Russell Group University was a daunting experience. Writing this blog now, I hope any nervous first-year students reading it can ease their anxieties about starting University.

Overcoming the Imposter Monster

Starting a new experience can be tough enough, let alone having to deal with a constant nudge from a part of your brain that is telling you ‘you do not belong’. Imposter syndrome is something most people deal with throughout their lives, but coming from a low socio-economic background, I feel the pessimism hits you harder.

One thing that helped me overcome my imposter syndrome was socialising. Meeting new people from across the world, you start to realise you have a lot in common with them; for starters, you both enjoy studying and find the law interesting! Networking certainly helps ease any uneasiness around ‘fitting in’ and ‘making friends’, which helps you feel more comfortable in your new environment. Feeling comfortable is the first step in expelling your imposter syndrome.

Ask for help when you need it

University is very different from School and Sixth Form. You need to take greater responsibility for your learning and yourself. This means you need to be proactive in asking for help.

Never shy away from asking for help, from your Professors, Tutors and Academic Advisers. If you do not understand a certain topic or are struggling to grasp a concept, do not hesitate to get in contact with them. They are there to help you!

Queen Mary is fantastic in that it offers a plethora of support services to its students. This means if you are struggling with your health and/or your wellbeing, Queen Mary will be able to provide you with advice and support. Queen Mary even have their own elected student Welfare Representatives who are a wonderful point of contact; the Welfare Reps are great at signposting you towards the relevant support services and are really an invaluable resource.

Distanced learning

This year is going to be very different. Most of you are going to be starting your University experience from the comfort of your own homes. Virtually interacting with other students and your Professors will certainly be a challenge, but engagement is key.

Sitting at home in front of a computer screen repeatedly can sometimes feel disengaging and you may feel the tendency to skip classes. To combat this, I recommend getting ready for the day as you usually would if you were to physically attend University; changing your clothes and physically preparing yourself can have a positive impact on your mindset which will help you focus more in your virtual lectures and webinars.

Additionally, I also recommend you turn on your camera and microphone when you are in a Tutorial- subject to Tutor recommendations. By simulating a classroom-like atmosphere in your room, you will be able to engage better with the content.