September 7, 2016, by Emily Howard

Dear First Year Me…

Dear First Year Me,

You’re probably still at that keen stage where you want to read everything, so you may as well read this too! In a while, the mere thought of reading might send you looking for any other form of procrastination, but don’t succumb! Reading for seminars might seem like a distraction from making new friends, joining societies and exploring the city at the moment, but come January you’ll be wishing you’d have actually done your seminar prep. Although 40% is the pass mark, try to reach closer to 60% if you want a decent chance of being able to study abroad at a reputable uni next year.

Having said that, don’t work too hard. The most important part of Freshers and first year is to get settled: find some friends, a sport or society (or multiple), and then you’re set up for the next three years – whatever your course throws at you, you’ll feel supported. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to make friends with that random dude who you chatted to for hours on your first evening (or even go on every Freshers night)… you’ll find that you have lots of “acquaintances” from the first few weeks, but close¬†friends were the ones you found later on. You’re going to love Quidditch and the LGBT+ Network, and as a graduate you’ll always wish you’d gone to Hide ‘n Soc, Cake Soc, Food Soc and High Soc one time.

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Quidditch at Wollaton Park

Oh, one tip, actually have a look at a map of Nottingham and remember where your bus goes from (it’ll save you from getting lost when you go shopping in the next couple of weeks). Equally, finding your way from pres to your club of choice is a skill which many do not possess until final year.

Here’s the serious stuff: make a budget, and actually keep to it… It’s saved your skin for three years while your friends were groping around penniless after blowing their student loan on drinks! Also, you never used the support networks when you probably should have during some tricky times. Personal tutors were brilliant, but maybe you should have contacted the free counselling service or Nightline some time. You’re not “weird” for having found some times tough, most students do at some point.

Finally, live in the moment! There’s no one way to do First Year, so you do you and have a blast – you’re only going to do this once.

Love from your older graduate self, Emily.

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