Advice from one student to another
Third year student, Reece, has written this blog offering advise to anyone also studying BA (Hons) Media Communication Cultures.
Moving to University can be daunting, there is no denying that. The concept of packing up your room and relocating tens or hundreds of miles away, leaving the comfort of your family and friends behind, is scary. You will have to adapt to a timetable of scheduled classes, move between different buildings across campus and manage your finances. If studying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me anything it’s that whilst you cannot control what your university life throws your way, you can control how you respond and react to it. Here is some of my top pieces of advice that I would offer anyone studying BA (Hons) Media Communication Cultures.
Time Management and Engagement
Attend. All. Classes. Some days you just don’t want to get out of bed, I get that. I’ve been there. But the importance of attending classes cannot be overstated; sometimes you will attend a seminar and be surprised with the content. Even if you can take one positive thing you’ve learnt from a class, it can really help with your assignments. If for whatever reason you cannot make a class it is advised that you email your tutor to explain your circumstances, and they will be more than understanding. Try to ensure you catch up on the missed work in your spare time. And on the off chance you accidentally fall asleep in class, don’t worry! At least you’ve made the effort to persevere, show up and try and learn something.
As soon as each module starts, check the module handbook on MyBeckett to see when your deadlines are. Put them in your iCloud calendar, write them on your notice board, plan out when you will start the assignments. Being proactive and productive with your deadlines will increase your determination to achieve a high grade.
Consider your Finances
One of the hardest things you will be presented with at University is managing your money. For students receiving maintenance loans, you may find that once your rent is paid you only have little money left for the term. For some, this loan may not even cover your rent. If this is the case, please reach out to the student money pages on student hub for support, accessible via this link. There are teams at University who will help you with applications for further additional financial support, including hardship grants.
My biggest piece of advice to undertake before you start your course is to take out a Student Bank Account. Whilst you most likely have a current account already, a Student account with any high-street bank entitles you to an interest-free overdraft, of between £500-3000, meaning you can go overdrawn up to these balances without being charged. The best part? You don’t need to clear it until at least one year after you have left University. These accounts are designed to help students, so I implore you to utilise them. All you need is your UCAS 16-digit status code, and you can open these accounts online almost instantly at any large UK bank.
Utilise your Resources
The Leeds Beckett libraries at both campuses contain an extensive catalogue of reading resources designed to help you in your studies. These books are free to borrow for a short period of time, and you will be notified via email when your book must be returned. The library also offers ICT services to all students, including desktop PCs to work at, laptops to loan for the day, and online Microsoft Office facilities so you do not need to pay for Microsoft Word or PowerPoint yourself. Not only that, but there are also subject librarians for every course who are there to help support you with all your academic literature needs, including referencing, tracing sources or even just finding the right literature for your essay.
The most important thing to remember whilst at University is to look after your mental and physical health equally. The importance of taking time for yourself cannot be overstated. Every single day I take a walk, attend a (virtual) yoga class, read and meditate. These activities help me to unwind from any stress and release tension that I’ve been holding in. I go to bed with a clear head and mostly get a good night’s sleep. So, join the gym, start a yoga class, try running, even walking. Take some time each day to soothe your mind with a good book, or TV show, or try something unique you’ve never done before like drawing or painting.
These are just some of my top tips for academic and personal success whilst at University. If you have any questions, reach out to your lecturers or your course administrator.