1. First year does actually count.

Before I started at Essex as a mature student, my friends who had already graduated told me ‘first year doesn’t count!’. Although this may be true in terms of your final grade, first year is so important when it comes to your uni journey. It allows you to find your studying style, become familiar with the course and make friends! So, despite what you’ve heard, first year does count.

2. Don’t leave things until the last minute.

This is a very important tip for anyone coming to university. Procrastination was my worst enemy in first year. Deadlines come around quicker than you think so make sure you are planning well ahead. I learnt to prioritise assignments and how to prep correctly for them.

3. Learn to take criticism.

The feedback you get on assignments is only there to help you. Although it may be hard reading comments on a piece of work you put a lot of effort into, it’s important to understand the advice your lecturer is giving you and learn to apply it. I found it really helpful to have one-to-ones with my lecturers and read through my graded assignments to know what I could do to improve.

4. Prioritise your mental health.

It’s so hard to get caught up with deadlines and assignments, maintaining your friendships and relationships, and maybe even juggling a job too. Make sure you’re taking breaks and finding methods that reduce your stress. University of Essex has services like the wellbeing drop-ins so you always have someone to talk to.

5. Enjoy yourself!

Join a club or society, socialise with classmates and roommates, spend an afternoon in the library and explore the campus. Your time at university goes much quicker than you think, so have fun with it!