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Articles > Student Life September, 21, 2020

University advice from an unsociable person

Annabel Cammish
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A few words of wisdom from a previously nervous but now slightly more confident recent university graduate…

I am a shy person, there is no denying that…

Starting university was terrifying for me. I was worried I would just immediately want to go home. I was most worried about not being able to fit in. Thankfully I’d already spoken to some of my flatmates through my chosen accommodation’s Facebook page, and they seemed nice. A warning: if you’re a northerner get ready for constant laughter and imitation of your accent, especially if you do the typical ‘noooo’ which I apparently am guilty of. University is honestly not that scary though, I thought that maybe because I’m not a super outgoing kind of person that my experience would be ruined, but it wasn’t. Frankly I can’t believe how much I’ve grown as a person. So, read on for my honest advice to anyone starting university…

1.Getting to know people

To anyone who is shy and awkward, especially if you’re like me and literally feel sick at the thought of talking to people, you can do it, I promise. If I could go back to my first year I would do it differently. I would speak to people on my course, because the start of university is the best time to get to know people, everyone is the same position and just as terrified as you, and if they don’t seem it, they’re probably just pretending. The person who spoke the most in my seminars and seemed the most confident really wasn’t. So please speak! Your voice matters. People do care. And talking in seminars is definitely the best way to learn, though that might also depend on your subject, but talking about the topics and discussing them in depth is so helpful.

2.Keeping on top of work

Don’t worry about your assessments, you’ll do fine as long as you don’t leave them till the last minute, and please don’t just settle for a grade when you know that if you actually tried you’d do better. Don’t let one bad grade ruin it for you, it doesn’t matter, just understand the feedback and move on. If you have a dissertation to write, my advice again is don’t leave it to the last minute, the amount of people in my year that did was worrying. You need the time to edit, I promise you, even if you think you don’t you really do. Research is key, I spent my summer evenings and weekends reading a few articles and chapters of books a week and collecting notes (with references so I could go back to them, because please do your references whilst you work, it will save you so much time and stress!) so I would be able to write it when I went back to university in the autumn.

3.Getting the full university experience

Joining societies is great I’m sure, but it’s not for everyone, and that includes me. I was too scared myself, but looking back it probably would have been great fun to join one. Alas, it’s too late for me… but not for you! Go for it! You can always just leave if you don’t like it. But, on the other hand I don’t feel like I missed out particularly because I didn’t join a society I still made friends on my course and with my flatmates, who I hope to be friends with for life.

In summary…

Make the most of it whilst it lasts, because it truly flies by. At university you will meet so many people (and yes, not everyone will be nice) but it isn’t as scary as you think and you do just get used to it all.


Good luck to anyone starting university soon! We’d love to hear your stories in the comments! Let us know how you’re feeling about the start of university 😀

If you enjoyed this article, you may also benefit from reading Amy’s tips for starting a new chapter:

Tips for starting a new chapter…

 

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