Yesterday, there was a hashtag circulating on Twitter: #unitips. I’ve just finished my second year at York, and feel I’ve learned a few things so far that I’d like to proffer up as advice. So, if you’re heading to university for the first time in a few months, or just looking to get more out of university life, take note. If you’re heading out the door, make sure you leave a comment or tweet @wannabehacks and pass your hard-earned sage advice along. Here’s mine:
1) Do as much as possible
In my first year, I took on a whole host of student media opportunities. Newspapers devoured my weekends, and I was also running various other things. Then I took on Wannabe Hacks, and started a business in my second year. When you then factor in things like a degree, interning, and having a social life, things get rather busy.
But that’s the idea. My degree has very few contact hours (highs of 10 hours/week), and this left with a void to fill with things I wanted to do. It’s not all about employability either; it’s about making university that time of your life that you’ll always remember fondly. Getting involved in lots of things, and with lots of people will ensure that – being an interesting and employable person is just a positive upshot of that.
2) Be prepared to step back
This year, I’ve got a 2:2 in my degree, thanks to one poor performance in a module I hated. I’m aiming for a 2:1 overall, and getting 34/100 in Syntax has made that harder to achieve. Next year I’m going to be stepping back from a few things, and ensuring that I have the time necessary to bump my degree grade up. Despite all the other things I’ve chosen to do, and seemingly prioritise above my degree, I do care about it, and it has to be the primary reason for why I’m here and why I’m paying so much.
As such, my next tip is knowing when to step back from things and making time for other things. To take on Hacks, I took steps back from student media, which was tough but it’s been well worthwhile. Sometimes it is the right time to walk away from things, and I’ve always felt committing to a variety of things for shorter periods is preferable to spending all your time doing just one society, for example.
3) Do the reading
Doing an English Literature based degree, I have a small library of books to get through. Often I don’t spend nearly enough time reading as I should. Just do the reading. Get into the habit of chewing through a large amount of literature on whatever you’re studying and your life will be so much easier. You’ll feel prepared and well-versed in a range of topics, and revision for exams will be all the easier.
Academics aren’t teachers, for better or worse, and sometimes they will be awful at explaining things. Find a book with an author who can in a way you understand, and suddenly everything will be easier. Books have all the answers; do the reading.
Image courtesy of Jeffery Beall.
- How to be a good wannabe: time management When the new team took over at Wannabe Hacks, I...
- International Journalism MA Students Experience ‘Boot Camp’ at City University London If you’re planning to come to City University London...
- Tell us your tips for starting a journalism course Over the coming weeks, many aspiring journalists will be gearing...
- Laurence Green: heading to uni this September? 5 tips for aspiring journos Laurence has just finished his second year of an English...
- How to get work experience | part four: chasing up your email/letter and forging contacts So you’ve got it into your head to do work...
After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look