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Lessons from my Semester 1 to help you in Semester 2

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Semester one was a massive learning curve for me, and I feel as though I learnt an awful lot about how to really make the most of my time at university, on both a personal level and also academically. Moving forward, I plan to use my lessons from semester one to really make the most of semester two. So, here’s what I learnt – hopefully you can take something away from this to get the most out of your experience too!

Make the most of office hours and feedback discussion.

The teaching staff on my course have always encouraged students to use their office hours to discuss any essay plans we have, or to go over feedback from our latest assignments so we know where to improve. I didn’t use this opportunity in my first year, but I wish I did. Going into second year I promised myself I’d use every resource and opportunity to improve my work and my grades. After my first assessments last semester, I booked appointments with teaching staff to discuss what I could do to improve. I can’t recommend going to see your teaching staff enough. Even if you just need a chat about a topic you’re a little unsure of, they are always on hand to help. I’ve certainly noticed a massive difference in my academic achievements by going to see the staff on my course and discussing feedback. Doing so has helped me to identity the common areas across modules where I could improve and pick up some extra marks.

Throw yourself into new opportunities.

During first semester, I decided that I was really going to throw myself into new opportunities this year. For example, I applied to be a Student Representative – a position I never thought I would have been elected for as I was up against some great students. But, to my surprise, I got it! From this, I learnt that even if you’re a little unconfident, you should still always just go for it! You might surprise yourself. It’s so important to try something new and throw yourself into it – you have absolutely nothing to lose.

Plan your time.

I bet I can speak for a lot of students when I say that my time management over Christmas wasn’t great! Procrastination was rife, and the chance to binge-watch programmes on Netflix and scoff the Christmas chocolates was all too tempting. And whilst it was nice to chill out for a while, I could have definitely planned my time better to prevent last-minute stress as deadlines grew closer. So, this semester, I am going to plan for deadlines well in advance. That way I have plenty of time to prepare, and I’m not subject to any late nights trying to catch up. The stress just isn’t worth it, especially if it can be avoided.

Don’t be afraid to get your voice heard.

University is an amazing place to get your voice heard. I often write for The Mancunion, and for the first time last semester I shared my writing on social media. I got an entirely positive response from a lot of people which was amazing to see, and it showed me that there’s nothing wrong with having the confidence to share your opinions and your stories. There are so many opportunities to use at university to talk about the things you are passion about – joining in with a movement for something you believe in, joining a society, even creating a society, or using student media. Get stuck in and get involved, it’s a great feeling and a great way to make new friends too.