August 22, 2022, by Lucy Cooper
Adapting to university classes
Leaving familiar surroundings and arriving at university can be daunting. Not only do you have to adapt to a new place, new people and a new lifestyle, but also a new workload and a new way of working. But have no fear, many students before you have succeeded, and if you find yourself struggling, there is support available. Here are some of my tips and tricks:
University classes function differently to those that you were previously used to – and can also work differently depending on what you study! Come equipped and know how you like to take notes – many people now use laptops, but there are still students that prefer to handwrite their notes as it helps them to process information. Have a good filing system in place (either in real files or on your laptop) so that everything is organised in case you need content that was covered in previous classes. A final (really important) tip is to ensure that your notes are backed up, to prevent any panicking around exam and deadline season.
Outside of class
Something that may seem different to you is how information relating to your classes is given out. You may well be told about reading or work in classes – but if you’re not sure (or simply forget!), Moodle should be your main port of call. Here, you will find your tutor’s contact details, their availability (for office hours) as well as information related to content covered on the module. Some modules also contain a recommended online reading list with links which will save you a trip to the library. Another recommendation is to join your subject’s society, which will be full of students that have done or are doing your current modules – peer support can be really useful! If you’re looking for more formal support with your work, the Student Academic Skills team offer a range of services to develop your university-level academic skills.
To make your life in class easier, preparation is key. There is nothing worse than being asked a question during a seminar on set reading that you either haven’t done or can’t remember. Before your class, it might be worth reading through your notes from the week before and jotting down a few points that the set reading covered. Use the calendar on your phone to remind you of deadlines – using a paper diary can be useful, but your phone is usually with you at all times, making it easier if you forget the diary. Finally, make checking your university emails a habit – so that you can stay up to date with any news relating to your course.
Adapting to university can be difficult, but everybody is in the same boat at the beginning. As the year goes on you will find a routine that suits you. University isn’t just learning about your subject, it’s often about learning how to learn too!
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