I am so grateful to have had two years of pursuing my passion of Media in beautiful Cambridge, as well as for all of the kind people who have supported me along the way, but with the power of hindsight, I hope I can help you get even more from your degree with some things I wish I had known in my first year:
Your lecturers are there to support YOU
I didn’t want to come across as impolite or pushy by sending multiple emails or follow-up messages but in truth, so long as you don’t ask in a demanding way, there isn’t a problem with chasing your lecturers. They are there to help you. Ultimately, it could cost you marks by missing out on help, so bear that in mind.
Most of your core texts can be found for free through the ARU Library
I’m an organised sort of person so, naturally, I bought textbooks prior to beginning my course. I got them for a reasonable price, aside from one which was over £20 brand new. Studying from a physical book is a definite preference for me personally, but perhaps in the instance of that one book which wasn’t £3 on eBay I could have just accessed it via an academic resources page instead. And, if you’re happy using digital resources, this is a great way to save a lot of money!
Prioritise your weekly readings by what topics you feel most likely to write an essay about
It’s inevitable that you will have weeks where you might be unable to keep on top of all of the reading. While I wouldn’t recommend skipping readings entirely if you can help it, if you do need to, prioritising your reading by what you know interests you or what you plan to write an essay on, can help get you motivated and working through your to-do list.
You get out of university what you put in
I feel it's really important to know this before starting any degree. If you're willing to look for opportunities to better yourself and to extend your knowledge, you will find them and they will benefit you, your grade and your personal growth. Equally, if you're happy to do the bear minimum, that's exactly what you'll be graduating with. I can recommend looking for opportunity on day 1 of starting your degree!
Your time at university will go by really fast!
I’m sitting here writing this now in a sense of disbelief. Between your degree, make time to spend with friends and moments to explore your surroundings. I have a list of places which I want to see and things that I want to do before my time in Cambridge is up. So enjoy your time at ARU. Do your best, take breaks when you need to and remember that you deserve to be where you are.