Every beginning is challenging and it’s not always the actual new activity or situation that’s difficult, but adapting can be. The first month at university sets the tone for the rest of the academic year, so it’s important to make your debut with an open mind and enthusiasm.
When embarking on a new, exciting adventure, such as pursuing a higher education qualification, you need to equip yourself with a vision of what you want to achieve, knowledge of what this entails and people who can help, as well as a plan that will help you stay on track in reaching your goals.
University is a time of self-discovery, so don’t worry if you don’t have a clear understanding of what your career path might look like right away, as you will have plenty of opportunities to figure out what the right direction for you is. Your teachers and student services staff can provide support along the way, however, it’s crucial to be organised ahead of time in order to make long-term plans, and the key to all this is perseverance!
Steps to take
To make your transition to university life as smooth as possible, there are a few things to take into consideration. Firstly, the information you receive at your induction is important and you need to pay careful attention and ask as many questions as possible. You can request additional information down the line, however, take note of what’s said on the first day!
Secondly, find out the required bibliography for the first year and start reading ahead of classes - this will build your confidence in the subject and will help you ask relevant questions during lessons, which will enhance your learning. You need to take ownership of your studies and your preparation for employment, hence you must put in the work and commitment. Remember to attend all classes, engage enthusiastically and always ask your tutors for support when you need it.
Students should be aware from the beginning that they need to conduct thorough research into their chosen subject, read industry-related publications, attend networking events and speak to people already working in their chosen field to get a better understanding of industry requirements and what it takes to be on the right path towards a successful career.
Thirdly, it’s important to be active in your community of students - make friends, help one another, exchange ideas and knowledge, create learning groups - bearing in mind that although you might be different, what you have in common are your professional aspirations, so it’s vital to start building your own network early on and use this valuable tool in your career ascension.
Practice makes perfect
Finally, take part in as many extracurricular activities as possible, volunteer, organise events, undertake internships, as this will all contribute to your learning, self-discovery and growth, and will make your time at the university more fulfilling. Challenge yourself and do things that are outside of your comfort zone, as this is the main ingredient in learning new things and developing.
Carmen Andreica, Careers and Student Services Manager at London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA)