BTEC: The next steps to University

At University

Northampton Grad’s Advice for First Years

Starting University is very exciting and there are a lot of expectations that you may have...

Our graduate, Kayleigh shares her top tips to make the most out of your first year at university:

Make the most of student events:

This is definitely something that I wish I had done.

For many people, myself included, the ‘sesh’ is an important part of Uni life. Unfortunately for me, I can recall quite a few times that I turned down going out for fear of financial struggle.

My advice to new students would be to go to as many events as possible (without crippling yourself financially)!

At the end of your years as a student, chances are, the things will you remember most fondly will be the tipsy deep meaningful conversations that you had with your flatmate on the bathroom floor, or the time that you and the squad rapped every word to the theme from 8 mile.

Don’t miss out on these amazing memories! After all, when will it ever be socially acceptable for you to go out so often ever again?

Join a volunteer society/get work experience:

Being a graduate can be a STRUGGLE.

You work so hard for a degree and you think that it will make you stand out from other applicants. It doesn’t. Work experience is so, so important when applying for graduate jobs.

My advice would be to apply for work experience from your first year and get as much as possible throughout your time at university.

The University of Northampton offers a range of volunteer projects and incentives for joining (including the opportunity to rack up points… and points mean prizes).

While I was at Northampton, I helped with the establishment of the CoppaFeel! Volunteer Society (shout out to them) by running their social media channels and this looks great on my CV!

Don’t forget about your mental health:

University, as fun and exciting as it is, can be very stressful.

During my third year I had sleepless nights worrying about my dissertation. Although it almost always comes together in the end, you need to remember to take time out and relax in the process.
My advice would be to create a weekly schedule and actually stick to it, that way you know when you have to work and when you can fit in a few episodes of Friends.

Also, if you do ever find that it’s all getting a bit too much, don’t forget that the University of Northampton actually offers an onsite counselling service which can be found at the Student Centres on Park & Avenue Campuses.

Ask for help from lecturers:

Obviously it’s pretty daunting asking your lecturer for advice in the middle of a lecture with 100 other students — actually, to be honest, I felt it was daunting to ask for help when I was in a seminar with only 9 other people. With that being said, if you need help with something or need clarification, it’s important that you do ask for help even if it means dropping your lecturer a quick email. Lecturers are intelligent people and they’ve done a lot of studying, they have the answers but you have to ask the question!

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