I have completed my undergraduate degree, something that was a long and difficult journey as I started at Leeds Beckett University, finished at De Montfort University with a year working for O2 where I was finally out in the ‘real’ world. It was difficult getting back into University; from working with phones and helping customers to being back in academia, sitting in lectures, participating in seminars and writing assignments. And as difficult as it was, it broadened my views and made me refocus on what was important.
How did I manage to stay focused on my degree?
This was tricky, it was weird being a new person who joined a University in their second year, when friendship groups had already been formed in first year. The Conservative Society was what kept me going, I didnt quite realise how much of a positive impact my involvement would have during my time at University. From being a member to getting myself elected on the committee – I found myself getting more and more involved in the social life of university and that helped me to fall back into a pattern to do well in my degree.
Then final year came. I had already done the hard work in my second year – getting comfortable with being back in education, final year was about concentrating and not being afraid to ask for help when I needed it. Of course, it did not come without its challenges, and there were so many highs and lows – I have lost count. But I would not change my experience as today, I received my results and I got a First, something I never thought I would get when I restarted my undergraduate degree at DMU.
Things I wish I knew when I started my journey:
Dont rush into picking who you’re going to live with for your second year – it is ok to stay in halls of residence
When it comes to reading: make the effort to read the recommended reading, it is much nicer to sit in lectures and seminars knowing whats going on
Make the effort to turn up to lectures and seminars – you never know what little snippets of information may come in handy when completing assignments!
Ask for help when you need it – not just help from lecturers, but friends and family or even the student union. Help is available
Plan your week! I found buying a weekly planner from B&M to be the best purchase of my final year, on a Sunday evening I would write in my lectures and seminars and plan how long I would spend on reading for a module, planning assignments and making sure I had time for socializing
Plan ‘chill’ days! You need the time to recharge yourself
Try to get as involved in University life as possible; become a student ambassador (you get paid!), volunteer (something I wish I did), get involved in societies because you never know what opportunities may be on the horizon
Take a leap of a faith and believe in yourself