As we prepare to welcome new students onto campus, MA 20th Century History student Samantha Barker reflects on her time at university, and offers some advice to her first year self:
Dear First-Year Me,
As I sit down to pen this letter, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey that lies ahead for you. You’ve just stepped into the world of university, and I want you to know that it’s going to be an amazing, supportive experience that will shape not only your academic knowledge but also your personal growth.
One of the most important things to realize about university is that it’s so much more than just attending lectures and studying textbooks. It’s a place where you can truly explore your ideas, passions, and develop your skills. You’re about to embark on a journey of self-discovery that will open doors you never even knew existed.
One of the things that makes university so special is the opportunity to join various societies. I want to highlight one in particular that I found incredibly exciting – the Salsa Society. Yes, that’s right! University is a place where you can explore interests you never thought you’d pursue!
Speaking of university experiences, I know that making new friends can be daunting, but trust me, you’ve got this! University is a melting pot of diverse backgrounds and personalities, and you’ll find kindred spirits who share your interests and values. Be open, attend social events, and don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with your fellow students. Some of the most meaningful friendships of your life will be formed during these years.
Now, let’s talk about the academic side of things. While it may seem overwhelming at times, remember that you’re not alone. University is a supportive environment filled with professors, tutors, and advisors who genuinely care about your success. Don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it, and remember that learning is a journey, not a destination.
As you progress through your university years, you’ll develop not only subject-specific knowledge but also invaluable life skills. These skills, including critical thinking, time management, and effective communication, will serve you well not only during your time at university but also in your future career. I’ve recently completed my master’s degree, and I can confidently say that the skills I acquired during my undergraduate years have been instrumental in shaping my path towards becoming a lecturer.
So, my dear first-year self, embrace this incredible journey ahead with open arms. University is a place of growth, exploration, and endless opportunities. You’ve got an amazing adventure ahead, and I have no doubt that you will go far. Keep believing in yourself, keep learning, and keep dancing your way through life!
With excitement for your future,