This week has been the final week of my first year autumn semester. As I said in my introduction although I’m in “first year” I did a foundation year so although I’ve been at uni for a year already, this is the start of my studies on the ‘official’ Zoology course and I want to sum up for people who may be interested in the course! I am at the University of Derby but I believe other universities may at least have similar modules but I will try generalise anyway so if you aren’t interested in a science, you can apply it to whatever you’re interested in studying!
My first bit of advice would be if you’re offered or suggested a foundation course, go for it. Yes it’s an extra year but if you aren’t sure if you’re ready or not to take on the full course then this is definitely an option, I fully believe this year wouldn’t of been as easy for me if I wasn’t already prepared for what was to come and I don’t regret taking my foundation course at all; also if a uni offers a foundation course it will be a foundation for one area of study, e.g. my foundation course was for all environmental sciences, if I found I didn’t like zoology I could of switched to biology or forensic science e.c.t. So it’s a good option if you know what area of study you want to be in but not 100% on your course!
Next I’ll stress something obvious, TURN. UP. Seems obvious but you’ll notice the amount of people dramatically decrease as the year goes on and later on in your studies, these people probably won’t be around at all. Yes the lectures are recorded or posted online but you don’t get the same interaction you get when you actually attend. It’s fine to take a day off here and there if you feel ill or whatever but if you’re thinking, “oh I can’t be bothered to go in today” are you really going to look at the lecture at home? I agree, lectures can be boring but at least if you just listen, you’ll gain some understanding of the concepts and it will make your personal study and revision a lot easier.
Make friends! As a first year you will be made to do numerous ice breakers to get you talking to other classmates and although it can be hard to make friends, this is a perfect opportunity as almost no one will know anyone else in your class so take the leap and talk to someone! I worked with a group of friends a lot this semester while last year I was more independent and I definitely believe I have done better in my studies because I have worked with others to find solutions and helped others to learn as well.
Don’t stress too much! first year isn’t the same as third year, it doesn’t count towards you final grade but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put effort in. first year is all about introducing you to university life and study and making sure you’re prepared to be there and work hard as well as to set you up with information and skills you will need for your second year. It’s easy to think “oh it’s only first year it doesn’t count” but why not give it your best? What have you got to loose?
The most important thing about your first year at university is to enjoy yourself! You learn so much both at university and through other experiences such as living in accommodation and looking after yourself and you should make as many memories you can during this time as there’s a lot more to come!
Good luck to anyone who’s just finished the semester and have exams in January and good luck to anyone hoping to come to university next year!
Thanks for reading! ♡