For most of us coming doing a course here in Dundee, will probably be from school. So for many of us, Uni education will be different and something we need to figure out for the first time. So here are some tips, from someone who have gone through 2 years of Uni. I don’t claim to be an expert but here are some words of wisdom that I wish I would have read about when I was a fresher.
The combination of warm, dark, cosy theatre and monotonous speaker means that some lectures are more about staying awake than anything else. But while concentrating for a whole hour or two might be hard at first, you will get used to it. The way you make notes from lectures is up to you. Some people record the entire lecture and make their notes later. Others scribble down brief notes as the lecture goes along. You will soon learn what is most useful to you. Whichever technique you employ, it is always helpful to try to write up notes as soon as possible after the lecture. It is amazing how quickly a beautifully written page of apparently coherent notes turns into an indecipherable mess.
Naturally, the amount of time spent in lectures varies greatly according to which course you have chosen. Medics and Dentists like me spend so much time in lectures that we have our favourite lecture theatres and our own ‘special’ places to sit. Humanities and arts courses may have such infrequent lectures that students need directing to the building itself, even in their final year.
What kind of work will you have to do apart from these classes and lectures? This obviously depends on the subject, but sooner or later, one of your lecturers will mention the ‘C’ word – no, not that one – coursework. Rules for dealing with coursework at university are much the same as those for school or college. You need to plan and make sure you know exactly what you have to do, when you have to do it by and where you have to give it in once you have done it. Without a teacher or parent to nag you, it is easy to drift away so always have the eye on the prize!
There is no escaping them! Nothing changes significantly between school and university except that exams at university will be bigger and longer than before. Normal rules apply: exams are important but not the end of the world. It is worth remembering that, although the first year may not count directly for your overall degree mark, decisions about options later in your degree (such as industrial placements, years abroad, work experience) may be decided with first year performance in mind. So, try your very best and study hard!
I know no one really wants to read about and know about these things, but it is always good to have these at the back of your head! Even after 2 years in University, studying and prepping for exams is still a challenge and I don’t see it becoming easier. So just know that, you will not be alone in this journey and make sure ask for plenty help along the way…. Stay tuned for part 2!