September can only mean one thing – time to hit the books and get back in the swing of learning. For many, a new academic year doesn’t just mean more difficult assignments; the new year can mean a completely fresh start in a new institution in, potentially, a new city.
So, if you’re moving on from sixth-form or college, how do you prepare for the next big step in your life? Welcome to UKCBC’s handy guide to surviving the first month in undergraduate education.
Big Fish Small Pond? Not Any More
You may have been the smartest in the class, coasted into your final exams and achieved all your predicted grades, but life is about to change. Whereas your previous classes were filled with people who may or may not have had a real interest in the subject, at higher education most of your peers will have a passion for what they’re studying. Learn quickly that there’s no perfect answer (not even your own), and try to start thinking about how others form critical opinions on topics. Higher education is often about learning how to think as opposed to knowing a prescribed answer. Speaking and learning from your classmates is an enriching experience, and the sooner you realise this, the sooner you’ll learn what’s really needed to succeed through higher education.
Got a Student Loan? Spend It Wisely
Higher education courses are anywhere between a year and four years, so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy yourself beyond the first month. Despite your impulses to celebrate your new-found freedom, it’s important to be sensible with your money. Make a monthly, weekly or daily budget to make sure you keep on the path to sustainability (and far away from the distress of asking for parental help). You may already be in employment and this will certainly help with cash flow. Getting a part-time job to supplement your bank balance might be necessary if you want a certain level of luxury; see this is an opportunity to grow a new skill – responsibility, and it also looks good on the CV for the future.
Get an Essay Writing Guide
Think you know how to write a killer essay? You may well do… for an A-Level subject. Higher education courses are there to stretch your capacity for thinking, understanding and communicating. An invaluable tool for the entirety of the course is an essay writing guide. A good version will not only teach you how to structure your work but will give insight into how to research across a wide range of subjects and encourage you to develop your own ideas. Speak to the librarian for recommendations and then read the guide. Focus on areas where you feel less confident early on and you’ll set yourself up for a great result at the end of the course.
Put in The Time
Student debt is no joke. After you graduate, don’t be the person thinking back to how few seminars they turned up to and how little of the course they actually participated in. Higher education costs do not guarantee any level of grade, so make the most of this time to really get to know the subject you (hopefully) love. For many, a higher education course is the foundation for their professional lives. Invest your time in the course and you’ll see every penny was well spent through your future success. This begins before the course starts – start reading up on the topics you’ll be studying and take some pressure off of your first weeks.
Are you ready for your fresh start? Contact UKCBC today to discuss the range of higher education courses on offer with one of our course advisors. Get up-to-date course insight by signing up to our newsletters – AAT – HND.