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What’s it like to be a university student?

Here are a few thoughts from our students about how you might get the best out of your time at university.
3.4
Katie: I found the whole university experience quite intimidating, and scary at first. From the application process, to arrive arriving Leeds in September. If you don’t feel like you understand things when you first arrive at university, that’s completely normal. Give yourself some time, reach out to people, and you will get in the swing of things eventually, and you’ll find what works for you.
22.7
George: It’s a big step for everyone to take, but everyone is in the same boat. So you can take this journey together.
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Aarzu: There can be challenges when you come to university, feeling like you are in a strange place, and being overwhelmed by new experiences is perfectly normal. And something I definitely struggled with. But that was quickly left behind as I realised with the support, independence, and opportunities offered at Leeds, that I could begin to mould the future that I wanted for myself.
44.8
Georgia: There are so many events and things to do with the university. There is a huge choice of clubs and societies that you can get involved in, and they cater to pretty much every interest. So you’re guaranteed to find like minded people.
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Aarzu: The community here at Leeds is really lovely, so friendly. And the tutors as well, as my own cohort, was so supportive.
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George: I’ve taken society committee opportunities. I’ve joined protest groups, and I’ve undertaken public speaking roles. You can put all of these on your CV, as well as having great fun with them.
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Georgia: Our parent schools also provide information and guidance, such as becoming a course or school representative. These are really fun, interesting experiences that help make university more than just about academic learning, but personal development, too.
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Aarzu: The workshops and seminars I’ve participated in have always felt really diverse, and wide ranging, which was led by people of all walks of life. Which has felt really bolstering as a student from a minority background. And being friends with them, really kind of opened my mind up to university life in general, and becoming more open minded.
107.6
Katie: Think of it: you get out what you put in, at university. It’s all about getting involved with things that interest you, then try new things. Another top tip is to keep an eye on your emails, and look out for any interesting opportunities that you can get involved in.
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George: In the first year of university, I would focus on making friends. They’re what’s going to get you through the rest of the university experience, and take every opportunity that comes to you, within reason.
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Georgia: Getting the most out of university sounds a bit abstract, but really it just means having a go at things, and taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. Finding like minded people is really important to creating a sense of belonging, and developing a support network while you study.
148.4
Murtada: My biggest tip to new students joining university is to make the most of your time at university, and not to be afraid of meeting new people.
157.6
Seamus: I would tell myself, and others starting university, not to worry about first year essays, assignments, or practicals in your first year of university. What is important is learning the new material and enjoying university. So work hard, but don’t aim for perfection with your first few results.

University is a place where you develop invaluable skills and have the opportunity to access life-changing opportunities. You’ll meet lots of new people and make new friends, gain new experiences and study among experts who share a passion for your subject.

You will experience lots of highs at university, but you may also experience a few lows along the way too. No matter what your experience is, you can be assured that there’s a wide range of support and wellbeing services available to you. Whatever you’re feeling and thinking, please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Here are a few thoughts from our students about how you might get the best out of your time at uni.

Receiving results and feedback

Séamus highlighted that receiving your work back from a tutor might be a low at first, as you might not get the marks that you want. However, he recommends using your feedback and applying this to future pieces of work. He also recommends asking your tutor if you aren’t sure about anything in your feedback. Measuring his progress through his improving marks has been a real highlight of his time at Leeds.

Avatar of Séamus.

“I would tell myself and others starting university, not to worry over first few essays, assignments or practicals in your first year of university. What is important is learning the new material and enjoying university. So work hard, but don’t aim for perfection with your first few results.” – Séamus

Securing a placement

Katie secured a placement over the summer and this is something she is really proud of. She will develop her skills and work for a company outside of the university or study in another country. She recommends using the careers service or your tutor to help you to find the right placement for you.

Securing a volunteering role

Calista secured a volunteering position during her time at university and has found this to be very fulfilling. She feels it has helped her to develop her time management and planning skills. These are transferable skills that will be useful to her in any future career.

Seeking help when you need it

Although university will be filled with lots of highs, you may also experience some lows. Katie found it quite hard during her first year. She recommends using the student support and counselling services to help, if you’re struggling. She found that by accessing that support it has helped her to overcome the challenges she faced and get the most out of the opportunities available.
“If you don’t feel like you understand things, when you first arrive at university, that’s completely normal. Just give yourself some time, reach out to people and you will get in the swing of things eventually. And you’ll find what works for you.” – Katie
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