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A whole new world – starting university

20 September, 2018Andreas Beckwith

Starting university can feel quite daunting; it’s probably the first time you are living away from home, living with new (and probably unknown) people and learning new life skills.  It’s a big change both personally and academically, and it is the mark of a new era in life.  Here are some top tips on how to acclimatise to your new environment:

A different class

One of the biggest changes is the study focus; you will now be focusing on several modules under one main subject, instead of three or four subjects as with A-levels.  Your class structure will also change; there is no one class, instead learning is split between lectures and seminars.  Lectures always precede seminars, but they don’t always follow on straight away, sometimes they could be an hour later, two hours, or even on another day.


At university there is no uniform dress code as there was at school or college, you can wear what you like to class.  Another key change is how you address your lecturers, at university you just call them by their first names, no need to call them Mr or Mrs, or Sir or Miss.  Lectures are relatively informal too, although it depends on each individual lecturer, and lectures often use interactive forms of communication like PowerPoint presentation or videos.

There is one formality in lectures though, generally there is no interaction with the lecturer – seminars are the time when you discuss and ask questions.  Lecturers are usually very open to communication; you send them emails or set up meetings with them in their office hours.

Read, read and read some more

If it wasn’t already important to your studies at school or college, the university library will become all important to you in your studies, so it’s advisable to get familiar with it as you will likely be using it a lot.  University study involves a lot of drawing on literature, be it books or online journals, no matter the subject you study, so you the sooner you can get to grips with it, the easier it will be for you in your studies.


You will have more independence, both personally if you are away from home, and also in what you study.  You will likely have some core modules that you will have to do, but apart from that you are free to study whatever topics that are available to get what you want out of your degree You will also have more responsibility when it comes to your studies as you will be expected to finish all your assignments and hand them in on time; your lectures won’t remind you like your teachers at school or college might have done.

Keep calm and enjoy!

While university can seem really stressful at first, you shouldn’t worry, it takes time to get used to things and everyone is in the same boat.  If you are having issues, remember that your university is there to support you, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with them.  Also, the way university courses are structured, your first year counts the least towards your degree, so take your time to adapt to your new studies.