Congratulations! You made it, well done you. Interview done, and place accepted, now to start preparing to start your course.
I want to share with you all my preparation for the course, which so far has worked for me. Everyone has their own circumstances and preferred way of doing things, but I’ve picked up some helpful things along the way, which I feel are great to know before you start.
ARU have a great library with lots of online books in many subjects too which are also available to read for free online, so once you are registered just before the start of your course spend time checking out the library and the online library. I must admit I am a bit old school and love to actually have a proper book to read, so if this is you, I still have you covered! You can find out about the reading lists for the modules before you start, I spent the summer before starting in September scouring second-hand book sites and found some excellent bargains (just be sure to check which edition of the book is the newest, as things in Social Work change and they may not be completely up to date). Good places to start are looking at legislation relevant to social work and introductory Social Work books.
The jump up to university study sees you doing quite a lot of self-directed learning. This means time spent reading and learning independently. For me to feel confident about giving the course my all, I found it really useful to identify the times I would spend on regular study, I set myself chunks of time I would commit to study on a weekly basis, much like you would if you were out at work. I will do another blog on being organised and managing time and other commitments while at university so keep an eye out for that.
I brought a notepad for each module to take notes (again pretty old school), it’s really helped to keep the notes all in one place.
A laptop or similar is a definite must, during the pandemic it has been vital to have, but would be needed even if all learning was face to face, there is lots of resources to learn from on Canvas which is the online learning platform we use.
As a mature student, it had been a while since I had written anything for academic purposes, so I found it really useful to find out about Study Skills. The Study Skills team do workshops and you get 6 one to one sessions per student per year on many different areas such as referencing and writing skills, I have had a few during my first trimester and they have been invaluable.
Most importantly, Student Finance, best to get this done as early as you can, as they get super busy over the summer. There may be evidence of income that you have to send in, and forms to fill out so allowing some time to do this is a good idea.
Connect with your fellow students using social media platforms, particularly the year that it has been, we have really appreciated the connections we have made amongst our cohort, having a group chat to support each other has been a lifeline and some of us connected right through the admissions process so support has been there all the way through.
Check out the Students Union and all of the societies you can join, there really is something for everyone and it’s a great place to make friends.
Again, congratulations on getting your place and enjoy getting ready for a brilliant experience at ARU!