February 13, 2017, by Words on Words

Entering my second semester

This blog post was written by first year English and Philosophy student, Emily Patel.

The Christmas holidays were finally here – although I was happy that I could go home for a month and spend time with friends and family, I felt a bit weird at the same time. It was hard to believe that my first semester at Nottingham was over, as it seemed to go by so quickly and I felt like I had done so much! My older brother, who also went to university, told me that my first year would fly by, but I had never paid much attention. Now that I’m in the same boat, I realise that he was right.

The hardest thing for me about starting university was the course, as I had to learn to be much more independent with my learning compared to when I was at school. I am studying a joint honours degree (English and Philosophy), and when I first started, I had doubts about whether I would continue with both subjects in my second year. At the moment, though, I have no reason not to continue with both of them, as I feel able to cope with the variety of both subjects. Just remember that some decisions require a lot of consideration, even if it feels like you should rush into deciding.

During the term, I felt like I was really struggling with my course and it made me anxious, but looking back on it, it wasn’t that bad! It was just a shock for me as I had to learn to transition from what I was used to at school, where the pace of learning was slower and I didn’t need to be so independent. The hardest module for me was called ‘Language and Context’ – although I did language as part of my English A level, studying it at university level was completely different. However, when I revised the work in my own time, I understood it more and found it less difficult.

If you feel overwhelmed in your first semester, I would try not to worry too much – it’s important to remember that you cannot always learn how to do things straight away.  Plus it may not seem like it, but I can assure you that many people feel the same way. This semester, I look forward to getting back into my course and reading some novels for my ‘Studying Literature’ module, including Lady Susan by Jane Austen (I mean I am an English student, I love reading).

Image author’s own

A key piece of advice that I would give to all students starting out at university is that you should get as involved as you can with clubs and societies. This may sound cheesy, but university offers so many opportunities for gaining new experiences and meeting new people. I am a volunteer for Nottingham Night Owls, an organisation which helps students during nights out in the city. We go out in groups and patrol a certain area of the city, making sure that people are safe and helping them if necessary – for example, we will walk them home if they have lost their friends. Before we go to patrol our designated area, we have a briefing and are given rucksacks packed with all sorts of supplies that we might need. These include first aid products, water and food and ‘spikeys’ (stoppers that fit into the tops of bottles to prevent drinks being spiked – we give these out to raise awareness about drink spiking). Doing these things not only helps others and is good for your personal development, but it also boosts your CV.

Look for societies at the University of Nottingham here.

Find out more about Nottingham Night Owls here.

Emily Patel

Posted in Student Words