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Looking back on this stunning photo of the Eastgate Clock in Chester, taken in my first week of University, had me reminiscing about the rollercoaster journey I’ve had over the past three years.  

Now that I’ll be graduating shortly and embarking on my postgraduate study adventure, here is some advice and tips I wish I knew before starting the big wide world of university life.

1. Be Yourself, Embrace the Adventure!

Let’s face it; three to four years of studying sounds like forever, but trust me, time really does fly.

University is all about self-discovery and learning who you are away from home for the first time, so the key is to really embrace being yourself in and outside of the lecture halls.

The quicker you settle in to being yourself, the quicker you tend to find exactly where you belong and what extra-curricular activities suit you.

2. The First Year Counts More Than You Think

The famous misconception is that first-year grades don’t matter. Sure, they may not directly affect your final degree grade, but putting in the real effort from the beginning of your university experience is something you will thank yourself for in the long run.

Learning exactly how to get the grades you want and need in the first year of university means that you know what is required to achieve those grades straight away in the second year.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Believe me, we’ve all been there, shy to ask questions and admit when something is confusing, no one wants to be the one keeping everyone behind. As you delve deeper into your studies, you learn that your lecturers will always lend a helping hand when they can and the awkwardness around asking questions, like there was in high school, just isn’t there anymore. Ask away, that’s exactly what they’re there for.

4. Don’t Compare Grades

When receiving your feedback on assignments, it’s natural to be curious about other people’s grades and where you stand with your peers. In the long run, comparing your grades with others could affect your self-esteem and confidence, and it isn’t worth affecting your progress and growth. The only grade that truly matters is your own.

5. Maintain a Balance

Studying is crucial, but remember that university life isn’t all about being at the library.

Dive into extracurricular activities, make plans with your friends and give yourself that breather.

A short break and a change of scenery can do wonders for your studying and make you more productive in the long run.

6. Attend Your Lectures

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to fall into the habit of hitting the snooze button when it comes to attending your 9am lectures. Resist the temptation!

Attending lectures not only helps you gather all the information needed for your assignments but it’s also a time to clarify information and ask vital questions. Your lecturers really know their stuff and they’re eager to pass on the information.

7. Keep Your Eyes on Your Inbox

Imagine your assignment date has changed, your lecture has been cancelled and you’re left in the dark. The way to keep on track of all of this is simple, check your emails!

Stay on top of your inbox, and if you forget to do this set yourself reminders. And if you ever experience problems, contact the University’s wonderful Learning and Information Services team.


University is certainly a whirlwind for most and no two journeys are the same. Embrace the ups and downs, work hard and, most importantly, have fun.

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