October 12, 2017, by Shweta

“First Year Grades Don’t Count, Do They?”

I don’t remember much of what was said at my induction lecture in first year, but one thing stuck with me; “First year grades don’t count towards your final degree”. While this may not be true for every course, it is something I heard over and over again from friends and professors alike. Naturally, it became everyone’s favourite excuse to miss that Monday morning 9am or head to Crisis despite a Thursday morning lab.

This myth is true in its essence. Your first-year grades often don’t count towards your final degree and scraping a 40% is enough to move forward*. However, speaking from experience, I should add: do not waste your first year.


Hopefully, nobody will relate to this meme over exam season


Your first year at university is a trial run, and trust me, you don’t get a lot of those as you grow older. For example, I didn’t know a thing about tackling coursework in the expected manner when I started out at med school. Had those grades counted, I would’ve been extremely disappointed. However, with guidance from my professors and ultimately learning from my mistakes, I’m more than prepared to tackle whatever coursework they throw at me in the years to come. Your first year is your practice run. It’s the stretches before the marathon. Use them wisely. Practice new skills and don’t let failure get you down, it’ll only make you a better student for the rest of your time here.

Furthermore, moving to university can be tough for anyone. As an international student, moving thousands of miles away from home was much harder than I had expected. Your first year allows you to settle in, make new friends, try new things and make yourself comfortable in a new environment. Coming back for second year, I’ve found myself to be much more confident, content and motivated, both academically and in my personal life. Invest in your university experience over first year and you’ll reap the benefits in the following years.

Many students see first year as a chance to break free from their parents. I would be lying if I didn’t perceive it as my big break either. But in all honesty, downing jaegerbombs every night is just not a justifiable way to blow up all the money you’ve put into your education. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of fun and continue to do so. You too will have plenty of time to go out, socialise and make memories; but don’t forget why you’re here.

First year is one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had till date. To all the students that began at the University of Nottingham in the past month, remember that first year may not count towards your degree, but it does count towards your career, future and life.


*Don’t quote me on this. Please check with your department about the assessment weightage for your course.

Until next time,


Posted in Shweta