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Coping with the jump from A-level to university

Congratulations! You’ve got your A-level results and you’re now in that interim period of buying all sorts of stuff for your accommodation, sorting out student accounts, or whatever else it was I was doing about three-four years ago. Granted, things might be slightly different this year because of Covid-19, but with a younger brother heading off to university next month, I know there’s still excitement in the air.

One of the things you might be worried about is how you’re going to cope studying at university. Going from years of internalising and parroting back information so you can please a faceless exam board, to actually thinking and researching independently, with no-one ‘holding your hand’ can be a bit frightening. It’s like this safety net is being taken away from you, and it can be quite daunting.

Whatever you may think, there is going to be a jump

If I’m quite honest, while it was a struggle at times, I quite liked it. I had an English teacher at A-level who was teaching us to think independently, which prepared me a bit but I understand not everyone has this, so here’s a few tips that might help.

Reading lists  

If you know what your modules are, this is a good place to start. As someone who literally changed their course a week before starting at Warwick, I can’t say it personally helped, but let me explain my logic.

Whatever you may think, there is going to be a jump. Reading the texts on the list will at least allow you to not feel too lost, considering that when you start university, there’s a whole host of things you’ll have to deal with.

Do a Google search and find articles that people on your course have written

You’ll be dealing with living away from home, new people, and freshers’ week, among many other things. It would be nice to have less to worry about, right?

Equally, if you choose to do this, make sure you look at the module aims –  it can give you something to bear in mind when reading the suggested texts, and can also help you get used to what lecturers are seeking to teach you and are expecting of you.

Blogs

As someone who has signed up to be one of the student bloggers for the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, I know that we have a plethora of student-written materials out there.

Do a Google search and find articles that people on your course have written. Even if it’s not the most helpful, it can give insight and perhaps calm your nerves or put any reservations you have to bed.

Study skills

This one won’t be the most helpful right now, but it’s good to know that these resources are there. Each department has its own version of this, designed to help you bridge this gap.

I’m biased when I say the Languages one is brilliant, but the aim of it is to show you how you should be writing and studying. Having said that, you will have your peers and your lecturers to help with feedback and just generally understanding the way things go as a fresher.

No one is going to let you fail

I understand that it can seem daunting going from being spoon-fed information to actual independent work, but I personally love it and haven’t looked back. No one is going to let you fail, and if you feel you are, please speak to your personal tutor, Wellbeing services or anyone else you trust, and you think can help you.

University is a wonderful place, not least for the incredible social life, but also as a centre of learning, but don’t suffer in silence – everyone is here to help.

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