Advice for First Years 2021


A lot has happened in the last year and a half, or nothing much has happened we might even say. Our vivid and exciting uni lives have stopped for a long period of time due to the pandemic, confining us into our safe homes. However, the rapid distribution of the vaccine among the population seems to indicate the return to a what we could call ‘normal life’ for now. The new academic year has started with the same strength and energy as it did every October before the pandemic (with a few safety rules). Lancaster Uni has welcomed the continuing and new students once more, providing them with a good approach to their academic studies and also, promising an exciting social life.

As a first year student, you will discover how everything works during Michaelmas term. However, as a third year student, I know now that I would have liked a few pieces of advice during my first year. It would’ve definitely eased my first weeks and saved quite a few stressful evenings.

1. Do your coursework as soon as possible: almost as soon as the academic year starts, lecturers will give you coursework to do. As a bioscience student, you will also have lab sessions, for which you’ll need to do coursework. But the exciting new student life promises parties, trips, events, new people and frankly, more interesting things to do rather than studying. You might think you have a long time to do it and you’ll manage… In my experience, that’s the worst you can possibly do. The most efficient people I know do just the opposite: they finish it during the first week after being given and have the rest of the time to have fun, join societies, improve their skills with different activities. It might be difficult at first, but it’s the best way to ensure you can enjoy social life without stressing about your academic work. If it can be stressfully done in the last week, it can be done in the first week.

2. Go to REP meetings: you’ll have been assigned a second or third year student to help you and they’ll arrange meetings with you early in the year, almost as soon as you start. My advice: go to every single one of them. It might seem that everything’s simple and there’s no need for going to the meetings. The truth is that they’re very helpful and they might give you some useful advice, which will be relieving at some point of the year. Remember they’ve been students here for at least a year and they know all the tricks to a successful year. Take advantage of all the opportunities the uni offers, in the end, they’re all striving towards your success!

3. Ask your tutor: tutors are one of the best things that we have, personally. There are arranged meetings every several weeks with them, but you can email them whenever you want. They’re there to help you as much as they can, and you can come to them for anything you need. They have a lot of advice and experience, so don’t hesitate.

4. Live: your degree is important for your future, but don’t forget that you also need to enjoy the uni years, they’re probably going to be the three most exciting years of your life! Organize well, study, of course, but don’t stop having fun! Even in such a small town as Lancaster, there’re many things you can do, all it takes it’s a little bit of imagination. If you want a few examples of activities, the castle and Williamson’s Park are, I would say, the main attractions of Lancaster. But you also have lots of walks, a few museums… Of course, as you already know, there are many different societies to join, in which you meet lots of people. It’ll not only be healthy for your personal life, but also for your future career, as many employers seek people who are able to engage in many activities and can demonstrate that you’re able to multitask and organize your life. Time management is key for a successful future!

5. Wake up early if you don’t want to queue for Greggs! This might be an important one. As you have probably already experienced, Greggs is always busy. If you don’t want to be late to your 9am lecture and buy breakfast there, you need to be there sooner…

Hopefully, this advice has been useful for you. Have a great academic year!