For students about to start uni, it can seem overwhelming. It’s a whole new world of independence to explore and most of us don’t know what to expect. But here are five things you should know before starting at ARU, to help you feel more at ease.
1. It’s not as scary as you think!
Over the summer before uni, people tend to panic about what to expect. You might be worrying you’ll be alone, as you’ll be on your own, away from your friends and family – and likely for the first time. But everyone is in the same boat as you, and you’ll make friends and feel at home in no time.
Don’t worry about not being able to cook. You might burn a few meals, and annoy your flat mates by setting the fire alarm off a few times. But we’ve all been there, eating almost raw food that’s not quite edible. But with practice, you’ll get better. You might even pick up some tips off your flat mates!
What you’re not told about being independent is that it’s difficult, and you will make a lot of mistakes. But it’s nothing to worry about because with time, you’ll become a top cook and cleaner.
2. People at ARU are friendly
Like I said, you will make friends in no time, because people here are so friendly. There’s always a ton to do, including club nights. And the Students’ Union is always running fun ‘Give it a Go’ sessions where you can meet people.
Also, your student accommodation may sound frightening, living with a bunch of strangers. But over time you will make friends with these people. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and you’ll make great friends here.
Everyone on your course is also interested in the same thing as you, whatever that may be. So you will immediately have common ground with a lot of people. Over the three or four years of your degree, you will build a close relationship with these people. You'll face the stresses of your course together!
3. Uni can be more stressful than you thought…
If you’re used to a college level of work, the uni standard and amount of work can seem overwhelming. As deadlines approach, you will most likely find yourself in a state of panic and emotional turmoil.
But please don’t worry! There is so much help and support available at ARU to help you through stress. If you need help with your work, you can always see your tutors. ARU are so lucky to have such supportive staff ready to help with assignments all the time. You can drop by during office hours, or email a question, and they’re there to help you. On my course, English Literature, there’s also the Royal Literary Fund Fellows, who can read through your work for you.
There’s also a wellbeing service available, if you think you need some emotional support. They can provide counselling amongst other services. There’s help available for students with disabilities, too. You can also find guidance on finances, if this is something that is worrying you. Generally if you have a question, someone at ARU can answer it.
4. Hard work is your best friend
If you are willing to put the time and energy into your work and revision, you will see this reflected in your results. If you want a good grade, you need to be willing to sweat over it! There is a lot of help available on writing style and other similar skills with Study Skills Plus. Even if you need a little extra help, someone is here to help you, if you will put the work in.
ARU also has the Employment Bureau, if you’re trying to earn a few extra pennies to get you by. This is great, as it can work around your timetable, and a lot of jobs offered are on campus as well. I recommend signing up when you join – it’s quick and easy.
5. Make sure you enjoy yourself!
Do remember that your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree. It’s vital to pass, of course. And it’s probably a good idea to put in some effort, so you can see what you genuinely need to improve on for second year. But ultimately, as long as you pass with 40%, your mark doesn’t matter, so it’s not worth stressing about too much.
Make sure you spend your first year having fun, making friends, and creating memories you’ll remember for years to come. Because once you hit second year, everything cranks up a gear!
Enjoy your time at ARU – there’s so much ARU can offer, so make the most of it all!