10 things you may not know about University

Think you know everything there is to know? Here are 10 things you may not know about University.

I’m sure each University is different, but I’m sure many of them share the same characteristics.

You may be wondering what qualifies me to give this information/advice. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I did end up with a First Class Honours degree, so it must be at least worth a read, right?

Number 1: Anal about citations

Every University seems to have its own take on how your academic work should be referenced. The most likely referencing technique you’ll use is Harvard depending on your course. When citing this method, lecturers can become anal about its appearance on paper. Be careful not to put a comma or a full stop in the wrong place, and make sure you know your rounded brackets from your square ones.

Number 2: Inconsistent grading

You will likely have several modules across your academic year, and you’ll inevitably have more than one tutor. It’s not uncommon for each tutor to take their own approach to grading your work. You may see that some tutors are more lenient, whereas others are particularly disciplined in their approach to grading. This is a strange concept because you would think all academic work should be graded the same; it may surprise you to learn that that isn’t always the case. It’s important to remember, though, that they’re only human.

Number 3: Not so mature student friendly

I’m sure this is dependent on the course and other factors, but as a mature student, I feel slightly let down. While it’s right there are some (but very few) mature students, on my course, we’re outnumbered by college or sixth form leavers. As you would expect, a vast majority of these people have different maturity levels, and therefore disruptions may be more likely to occur than you would think.

Number 4: No spoon-feeding

It may surprise you to learn that you don’t get spoon-fed your answers at University. Completing a University degree is a self-learning journey, and you are expected to conduct your own research. To be a successful student, you need to look beyond the reading material and the suggested sources. Tutors will only ever offer you limited guidance, but that’s not such a bad thing; it makes you accountable for your learning. Do you really want to spend £9000+ a year to be given a comfortable ride?

Number 5: Shh, be quiet!

Another shocker on this list is that the University library is not that quiet. However, there are more peaceful spots in the library and separate study rooms you can book. There can be a lot of hustle and bustle during popular times, especially around exam season. Sometimes it’s better to ditch the library and opt for revising at home or in a nearby coffee shop.

Number 6: Other services

University is not just a place to study and learn; it can offer a whole range of other services that can benefit you. Your University will likely have a careers advice service. This will allow you to brush up on your CV and interview skills and they’ll signpos relevant opportunities. Your University will also probably have a well-being or similar service that you can utilise if you feel under pressure or your mental health begins to slip. There is a whole range of other services, including financial and disability support. It’s worth checking out what support is available.

Number 7: Oooh, free money!

Your University may offer bursaries or scholarships that are not well publicised (for obvious reasons). The types of funding available differ from University to University. Some of the funding opportunities you may need to apply for, and others may be automatically awarded. For example, If you have exceptional grades, some Universities incentivise you and offer a cash reward to thank you for choosing their University. Funding could be available to international students, students who are estranged from their families or are care leavers. Make sure you check out the scholarships and bursaries section of your University website because there might just be something you can apply for.

Number 8: Weekend Millionaire

Getting a big lump sum of cash into your bank account every semester can be liberating, and you may feel like a millionaire, at least for the weekend. Five Amazon, seven takeaways and three shopping trips later, you may find yourself in a tight spot. I can’t say this enough, be sensible. Nobody can tell you how to spend your money, but don’t be that person who lives on Asda Essentials instant noodles for three months.* Try and budget or at least put a little bit of money aside each week to get you through.

*There is nowt wrong with Asda Essentials instant noodles!

Number 9: It’s OK not to drink

While it may be a tempting thing to do, did you know that it’s not a requirement? I mean, shock horror. Seriously It’s OK not to drink alcohol? Absolutely! If you joined University for a social life and to drink with friends, why are you paying £9000+ a year to do that? That’s a costly hobby. No one says that you can’t have a drink; go for it, but do it in moderation. I might sound like a party pooper here, but you’ll thank me for it later on. It’s never a beautiful thing going into the unknown with a hangover. You will not get any sympathy, and you will still be expected to give it your all. So why start Uni life not knowing what is going on, or where you hell you are or need to be?

Number 10: You will feel the pressure

This is the most critical point of all. You will feel the pressure of a University Degree, even in your first year. You have to balance your University life with your social life and, in many cases, your work life. It often becomes overwhelming, and you might think to yourself ‘I can’t do this’. I’m here to tell you that you can! You will fail at least once (or you might not), but then you’ll pick yourself back up and smash it. You may end up somewhere you didn’t expect to go. That’s OK; just go with it and follow your heart. University can be challenging in more ways than one; you get used to it.

Welcome to the world of adulting!

If there’s anything you’d like to know, feel free to send me a message using the details on this page.

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My name is Dylan and I like anything tech-related, ironically I work in tech as an Integration Specialist. I recently graduated with a First Class Honours degree from the University of Sunderland. You can usually find me reading a book, playing a game or endlessley scrolling TikTok :D

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