Four things I learned this year.
Given that, in some ways, my first year at university is over, I wanted to reflect on my time as a refresher. I hope that any prospective students see this and get excited for university – as scary (and exciting) as it is thinking about it before you come. So, here are four things I learned in the past two semesters.
1. Planning in a University schedule is HARD
As much as you have lots of weird, new time on your hands when you enter university from school, it is still difficult to plan things. You may have deadlines looming or work commitments yet there are so many things you want to do. It’s okay to enjoy them, really. It’s actually very easy to be too harsh on yourself and not go out and have fun.
What makes planning within your University schedule particularly difficult, I think, is how much uncertainty there is an how many things pop up every day. You intended to read a particular article on Tuesday night but suddenly a society is holding an impromptu dinner and you don’t want to miss out. You make plans with your friend but then find out that your professor has their office hours then and you really need to see them. There are last minute changes, strikes and even pandemics, apparently, all out to destroy your calendar with scribbles.
Don’t let this be disheartening. Enjoy it – with all the stresses also come so many amazing opportunities.
2. Get involved with your school
For PPLS, this has been massive. There are a lot of students at Edinburgh, and it’s really easy to lose yourself or think of yourself as less important. PPLS has lots of opportunities for you to get involved and I honestly advise you do. I met staff and students through my role as programme representative for first years and it has made me feel so much closer to others on my course. With first year philosophy lectures taking place in a lecture theatre which fits 490 people, I found it really important to volunteer for PPLS to get to know others.
There are so many opportunities and the great thing about it is that you can always ask someone what is available. Best advice is to check your emails regularly (and the PPLS Facebook page also shares quite a lot!)
3. Join at least one society
Committing to one or two or three societies might be a better idea than signing up for seven yet never showing up to them. Get to know the people and if you click well enough, you could even stand to be a part of a society’s committee at their next EGM/AGM (where societies vote in their committee members). It’s a great idea to make friends who you can make plans with outside of university. The question is if a world outside of university even exists, though.
4. Make time for yourself
Take some time to yourself. It’s very easy to get swept up in society events and meetings. Play your favourite video game, read a book, go on a walk – whatever helps you be able to just tune out all the things that are going around you all at once. Then, get back to it.
This year has gone incredibly fast and I imagine the next few will, too. So, the last thing I suggest is to try and say yes to things. It makes the experience so much better.