‘Time, patience, and enthusiasm’: Kathryn talks about adjusting to uni life

01 Jul 2019,
By Kathryn W., Student at Northumbria University

I came to university straight after completing my A Levels and, while it wasn’t for me, it was a huge culture shock for some.

The environment is new, the atmosphere is different and you’re surrounded by a whole new bunch of people, both students and staff.

So it's natural to go through a process of adjustment, because university is different to school in a lot of ways. Here’s how it was for me.

University has been a lot different.

I only did two A Levels in my final year, so my contact time at sixth form was actually less than it is now at university. Like most people I know, I have 12 hours of contact time every week, although when those hours are often varies. Sometimes my timetable changes every three weeks, and it can be irritating when trying to get into a routine.

That was one of the biggest things about adjusting to university: the lack of routine. At school, all my lessons were at the same time each week, in the same classrooms, and with the same teachers. I knew what to expect from each lesson, the workload I’d likely have to take home, and the atmosphere of the classroom. University has been a lot different.

I have six different lecturers for only 12 hours of contact time and, unlike school, that contact time often comes in blocks. It’s common for me to be in for six hours on one day, and have three days with no university at all. This can be super-useful if you want to work part time between studies to earn some money. I haven’t felt able to juggle my studies with a part-time job, but many people on my course do it. I admire their work ethic.

The style of learning at university is also different. At school you might be used to working in a way that is interactive, but at university this can change. Some of my lectures involve sitting for two hours at a time and making detailed notes, whereas in others I’m shown how to use different film equipment such as cameras, lights, and microphones.

But the biggest change for me about moving to university was the move itself. At home I had my parents around to help motivate me with my work, buy my food, and cook me my evening meal. At university, it’s all down to me.

Self motivation and self study can be a bore and a bit of a drag, but it’s been great to be able to work on my self discipline and find out just what makes me tick when it comes to studying. I’ve also learnt new skills outside of academics - how to budget my money, and to cook healthier meals. Not to mention the experiences I’ve had exploring my university city.

A lot of change comes all at once when you move to university. New people, a new environment, and a newfound independence. It can be difficult trying to adjust but with time, patience, and enthusiasm you’ll soon feel right at home. I know I did.

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By Kathryn W.
Student at Northumbria University