How to get the most out of…your First Year

Continuing our Welcome Week blog posts on getting the most out of each stage of your studies at SPS, Forensic Science student Fiep Bargeman – who is currently on her year in industry – gives us her top tips on making the most out of Stage One.

Hello hello,

Welcome to university and I wish you the best of luck!

You can make your uni experience as much of a wild ride as you’d like. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what your priorities are for your time at uni and what things you’d like to accomplish.

If you’re prioritising uni work, make sure you meet the lecturers and go to their office during the designated hours. They’re all lovely when you go to see them (and give them a chance) even if they might not seem all that approachable during lectures. They’re just happy students are putting in effort and are willing to go above and beyond to give you what you need in order to succeed.

As I approached my first year, I was super excited to make new friends and learn new things, whether they are academic or for fun. The place to be is Freshers’ Fair! Try out everything you could possibly want. People are super supportive and welcoming, even if you think you might not belong or you are not confident in your abilities. I found societies where I could continue with my existing hobbies and found societies where I established new ones.

Most courses also have their own society with talks from professionals and trips to relevant places. For example, the UKC Forensic Science Society that hosts talks on Mondays and organises trips to the Kent Police and more.

Try to meet as many people as possible and do not be afraid to start a conversation. Your first ‘friends’ might not be your friends all the way throughout uni and as time progresses you may find new friendship groups start forming.

If you’re going to be living on campus, I’d advise you to thoroughly check the “what to pack” list. I know people who’ve had to buy a duvet on moving in day… which isn’t really how they thought they’d spend their first day.

I also did a tour of campus with a flatmate and a map, to check where the buildings were before lectures started, so we wouldn’t get lost on our first days and walk in the lecture theatres late. Not only is it super convenient and stress reducing to know where you’re supposed to be going, it immediately bonded me and my flatmate.

If that’s not really your style, on your timetable you can find the directions to lecture theatres within and to a building.

One other thing that I’d advise you to check out if needed, is the student support system. If there are any troubles, whether they influence your performance or not, you can always tell your Academic Adviser and/or go to student support in Keynes. I’ve been there myself and even though it might not always be easy, staff are very happy to help and do their best to get you through whatever’s the problem.

Whatever you do, make sure you stick to your gut and try to have fun.

Good luck with everything!