Saturday, 25 August 2012

What should you expect from your University?

It is the time of year when people are accepted into, or choosing their University. But what should you expect when you get there? Your degree might be the most expensive thing you pay for in your life. Don't let yourself get ripped off.

Support for disabilities

If you have a support need, a disability, dyslexia, autism or another learning need, you should make this clear to the University. Many universities have halls designed for those with disabilities, but you should also ask about your ability to access lectures and seminars, and any help available for your situation. The university should help you to access education. You may have had support at school or University, and therefore should discuss what is available at University. Many young people who have had support in place at college or school find it very difficult to make the transition to Higher Education, so do your best to make sure you succeed.

Support for gaps in your knowledge

I was stuck between the marks between a 2:1 and a 2:2 on most of my assignments at University. I would often get just under the border for written assignments, and just over for practical assignments. I sought help to improve my marks, but was met by brick walls, either tutors who weren't interested enough or unhelpful members of admin staff. You are paying for a degree. If you are willing to put the work in to improve, they should be willing to help you to do that. Keep fighting! I wish I had. I ended up with one mark below a 2:1 overall, so received a 2:2. It hasn't help me back, but it is frustrating when I asked for feedback and guidance.

A pleasant atmosphere

A number of my tutors were downright rude to their students. We accepted it because we were younger than them, and felt intimidated. I am now a teacher, and if I could relive those University years, I would not stand for the way in which myself and other students were spoken to by some members of staff. Most were ok, if a little lazy because they were studying a PHD and didn't really care about their seminar hours. I don't like the mentality of complaining about every little thing, but make sure you stand up for yourself or do report times when you feel unfairly treated. Just because they apparently have the knowledge, doesn't mean they can do a bad job or speak down to people.

Crazy housemates

Everyone ends up living with someone crazy at University. I ended up living with idiots every year I was there. It's part of the process, and unless they are abusive, just take it as part of the experience. People will be messy, or grumpy, or a little nuts, but don't resort to passive-aggressive notes. It isn't pleasant and it's the cowards way out. If it bothers you that much, talk to them about it.


It is soooo easy to become lazy at University. You have few lectures, everyone else is lounging around and you go out during the week. Remember though, this is your time to explore. Join societies and take opportunities to meet new people and try new things. I didn't join a lot of groups because they were full of annoying people, particularly anything related to drama. I do wish I'd joined the student newspaper though or some even done a photography course in my free time. I did go running, but I wasted a lot of time too. I have precious little free time now I'm working, and I could have been learning guitar, Spanish, photography or visiting new places when I was at University. Make learning a priority. You will regret it if you don't!
Good luck on your University journey!

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