Features Muse

Current students offer advice to incoming freshers

A useful insight into student life here at York: highlights and reflections on what students wish they had known before they came to university

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Image Credit: Johnteslade at English Wikipedia

Congratulations to all those who have received A-Level results today! We want to help incoming students gain an insight into what life in York is like, from a student perspective. We asked current students to tell us their highlights of university life so far, and tell us what they wish they had known before coming to university. As you will be able to tell, everyone's university experience is unique and that's the beauty of it, but one thing pretty certain to be aware of is that at some time or another, at least once, somebody will use your milk without asking. That said, here's what York students had to say:

Erin Fairnington, Environmental Geography student
The highlight of my university experience is the field trips I have been on for my degree. The field trips offer both the chance to go to different countries and to help strengthen friendships between others on the course. Also, to have gained more independence and learning how to accomplish small task such as cooking on your own!

I wish I knew that it can be normal to miss home in the first weeks of going to university and to not feel settled in straight away. Then after the first few weeks I realised it takes time to adapt to university life.

Cam Baker, Music student
There isn’t really a clear highlight as it’s all been good, but if I had to say something it would be Vanbrugh beating Hes East at rugby last year.

I wish I knew how many people would be in the same situation and have the exact same feeling as I was having: the excitement, nervousness of meeting new people and living with them, and the weird feeling of living away from home.

Rohin Mangat, Philosophy and Economics student
The best part of university for me was definitely moving into my second year house for the first time. I was in a house of ten, so there was always something to do or someone to talk to.

My advice for people going into university is to remember that, while it is cliché to tell people to reimagine who they want to be when they enter university, it is more important for students to have the foresight to start developing into the sort of person they want to be when they leave university. From an employability perspective, it is no longer good enough to only have a 1st or a 2:1, you need to be taking on new challenges in order to develop yourself and actively thinking about what direction you want to go in after uni. I think everyone will face a certain amount of adversity during their university experience, the important thing is to keep yourself motivated by the bigger picture. Everything else will seem to work itself out one way or another.

Anna Bunch, Psychology in Education student
My highlight of uni would be all the matey mates I’ve made, friends of lyfe at uni ‘cause you’re all experiencing it together.

Don’t be scared to go to try out societies on your own, be brave and don’t take your awkward flatmate who you just met the day before who only wants to hide in their room.

Zach Kaladze, Film and TV student
My highlight of uni was the freedom I had living how I wanted with who I wanted.

I wish I knew how to cook before uni.

Issy Tee, English Literature student
Hands down the best thing that has happened to me at York is setting up my own society - BEATsoc. Not only have I met so many incredible people through creating and managing it, but I have also had so much fun promoting a cause I really care about on campus!

I wish I knew to buy lots of cheap underwear and socks rather than use circuit laundry - half of my clothes are now forever ruined due to the trauma of first year washing trips!

Sam Green, Philosophy student
The highlight for me was actually getting involved in activities I’ve considered trying for a while. I went along to initial sessions for rowing and the UOTC (University Officer Training Corps) and made friendships that continue even if you don’t continue the activity.

I wish I knew that you don’t have to be struggling to speak to tutors. They often have great advice on the specific project or essay you are working on and can point you towards brilliant specific material that you may not have thought to look at. Part of your research can be speaking to others!

Jasmine Wells, Biology student
My highlight of uni has definitely been post exams second year. My friends and I had so much fun after a long period of working so hard that it felt so rewarding. Going out, spending money and just doing whatever it was that we wanted at the time, while feeling like we deserved it, was the best feeling ever.

Don’t rush into getting a house for second year, the last thing you want is to be pressured into living with people who you will end up disliking (and will have to live with for a whole additional year).

Jonathan Howes, Environmental Geography student
My highlight has been meeting copious amounts of friends and being able to socialise with new people on the daily.

Don’t get upset about being put in catered accommodation, don’t be a wuss - you’ll live with so many people it’ll be the best opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.

Emily Wilson-Knight, English Literature student
My highlight is all the opportunities I’ve had here that I wouldn’t have had at home - don’t be afraid to apply for things and try everything that gets thrown at you!

Use office hours more! If you’re doing a humanities degree, the best way to get your money’s worth is to visit all the lecturers and have a chat with them about anything and everything that interests you on the course.

Dan Thornton, Chemistry student
The best experience I’ve had at uni has been being able to live in a house/flat with people who became my closest mates. Loved the social aspect where there’s always something entertaining going on. Special mention goes to the nights out too.

One thing I'd liked to have known before uni is being able to find out who was in my subject college groups and get to know them quicker.

Annie Tam, Law student
My highlight is the people I have met and friends that I have made have been the highlight of uni because, after all, they are the ones who introduce you to new opportunities. You will come across this saying a lot, 'It doesn't matter where you’re going, it’s who you’re with.’

I never knew Wetherspoon’s could have been my second home? Jokes aside, uni is a place where you really get to understand yourself. It’s about assuming responsibilities and attempting to behave like an adult in no time. If I were to say one single piece of advice that is so important: ‘believe in yourself and go out and do as many things as possible’.

Ed Hindmarsh, Psychology student
Choosing just one highlight for uni so far is really difficult but I’d say the best times I’ve had so far have been the weeks after exams. Being able to relax again and celebrate with everyone else feels fantastic.

The main thing I wish I’d known before uni was probably to try and spend time with more people in first year. It’s definitely when you have the freest time and I wish I could’ve spent more of it meeting new people.

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