Starting your first year at university can intimidating. But Film graduate Becca Winkler and Photography student Emily Anna are here to help, giving university advice from their own experiences.
You’re away from home, possibly in a new city and surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Open days and brochures can help you acclimatise, but the most helpful advice you can receive comes from an older student who’s just been through the experiences you’re about to undergo. Film graduate, Becca Winkler and second-year photography student, Emily Anna, impart tips from their personal university experiences.
Becca and Emily begin the video by tackling the cliché phrase “university will be the best time of your life.” This phrase is especially repeated to first year students, who are almost expected to party all the time since first year often doesn’t count toward their degrees. Despite this mentality, Becca assures prospective first years that “partying is like an aspect, but I don’t think it’s a massive part of uni.”
Following a video on Emily’s channel, viewers asked whether being a non-drinker or someone who doesn’t like parties would negatively affect their university experience. Both Becca and Emily admit, “we are not party people,” and yet they confirm they still had friends and a great time. “Nobody cares [that you don’t drink], everyone is wrapped up about what they’re doing to care what you’re doing,” Emily tells us.
Becca and Emily also provide some useful practical tips they gathered from their university experiences. Emily expresses the importance of buying a mattress topper if you’re moving into a student house or halls. “If I hadn’t had a mattress topper, that would have been a very uncomfortable year of my life!” Becca, meanwhile, advocates joining Facebook groups before starting uni: “It’s a great way to meet people, and sometimes you can work out who you’re living with in you flat!”
Touching upon the unique cultures within their university courses, Becca reveals that, at her uni, especially in the Digital Film Production course, “everyone is very much work focused, and everyone’s out on jobs. It’s not a very social university and I didn’t hang out with a lot of people. I just had a small group and that was it.”
Emily’s experience, studying Press and Editorial Photography, however, differed greatly. “Mine wasn’t like that. It’s just a well known fact that [people on] my course just don’t do much work.” Being a workaholic, she admits she found this culture difficult: “I just find it hard to be around people who don’t do a lot of work because I can’t wrap my head around it!”
Juggling a part-time job with university is often seen as a challenge, however, Emily assures that it’s very doable. Having started a job in September, “basically I had a job for the entire time of my first year, and it’s completely okay to balance both.” She also suggests that it might actually help your time management skills, as you develop a more rigid timetable.
Continuing this advice, Becca expresses how it’s important to “not decide what you want to do fully in your first year.” She admits she had this problem, where she was almost typecast as a producer after accidentally landing the position on her very first film in her course. Fortunately, she found her uni to be “really good at pushing people to do multiple roles and try out everything. Which I do, try everything!”
Every university is different and finding specific resources on your university course can be difficult. This is why we applaud Becca and Emily for sharing their advice and helping out prospective students as they start their journeys!
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