DigiPsych Editor, current third-year student Gabriella Goodrich, offers her advice to new students
Before university, I had never enjoyed school; I didn’t engage with it, nor did I get involved with extracurricular activities. It was a chore, and I assumed university would be no different, so I decided at the beginning to get it over and done with as painlessly as possible. I didn’t immediately realise that what I hated about school was not learning, but rather the rigid, uncompromising approach to it that was incompatible with my own – I don’t like being micromanaged, and I’m sure this is true for many of you, too. But at university, you are allowed to take the initiative with your education; you won’t be spoon-fed, but instead trusted to study independently to supplement the material covered in lectures and seminars.
It wasn’t until second year that I began to fully appreciate the differences between school and university. Don’t get me wrong: I still don’t love deadlines, or getting up for a 9am seminar, but I do appreciate having the freedom to study in a way that works best for me without being micromanaged. However, I regret that I failed to make the most of my first year. There are many opportunities available to you as a Lincoln Psychology student, and you should take advantage of them.
My advice: if you’re not the extracurricular type, become one fast. Thanks to reduced teaching hours at university, you’ll have more flexibility with your free time; use it to build your CV, gain experience, and develop your skills. For example, you could act as a research assistant to a member of staff or postgraduate student – not only will this be a great addition to your CV, but the experience will be useful when you conduct your own studies in second and third year. You might also benefit from taking up one of the many volunteering or work experience opportunities advertised and arranged by the Lincoln SU; these range from assisting witnesses in court to campaigning for national charities. For more advice on obtaining work experience, check out this recent post written by our Features Editor, Maddi Pownall.
If you’re uncertain about your post-university prospects, attend a drop-in at the Careers and Employability centre on the ground floor of the library. These sessions are an excellent opportunity to receive tailored, individual support from a qualified advisor about your future career; they will give an idea of exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals and leave Lincoln as prepared as possible.
Of course, the newfound independence of university can be both a blessing and a curse; although some thrive, many find the transition challenging. If you are having personal struggles, contact the Student Support Centre; if you are struggling academically, talk to your personal tutor. The workload can feel completely overwhelming at times, especially as deadlines and exams approach, but all the support you could need is available to you here.
My advice may seem trivial or obvious to some. However, these are all things I wish I had done sooner – you will find that your time at university passes by unexpectedly quickly, so you should take advantage of these opportunities while you can. You’re going to spend £27,000 and three years of your life on your degree, so make your time at Lincoln worthwhile.