Well, semester one was a learning curve in more ways than one way.
University, on the academic side of things, was more intense than I had anticipated. The learning atmosphere I experienced during school and college was obliterated. The anonymity of lectures had both positive and negative effects on me. The positive aspect was that I felt comfortable. There was no pressure on my shoulders that I may be asked questions in front of this huge group of people. I was able to write my notes without the worry of being victimised.
Yet, this lack of pressure made me too comfortable. For this first semester, looking back, I didn’t study as much as I should have. The speed that the modules went at, I found myself saying “I’ll do that later” more than preferred. This meant that when revision time came around I had a mountain of topics that I had barely read into. Some sections of the notes I had made felt completely new too me, as if I was learning from scratch.
This has taught me that university is INTENSE. It is a barrage of information that you need to decode and learn in a small amount of time. I underestimated how much work it would be and, ultimately, this was my downfall.
This last minute exam panic has taught me a lesson. Take the time out of the day to write up those notes that I made in the days lecture. Take a few hours at the weekend to go through what I have been taught in the week so nothing feels brand new come revision time. My goal for semester two is simply to keep on top of anything and keep my motivation afloat.
This being said, my mind is still firmly set in terms of my opinions on examinations. Examinations are a test of what you know but only what you know at that time. It happens to everyone, your mind goes blank in an exam and it is often not a true reflection of what you know. The exam system has been in practice for many years and I believe it needs to be updated to be less pressurised especially in terms of the mental health of youth declining. The sheer volume of expectations resting on your shoulders in that two hour window is unbearable and exhausting. So, this semester has still taught me that the examination system is a negative one.
However, on a personal front, this first semester has been incredible. The amount of self-growth I have gone through has been immense. I feel so much more mature and ready for life in the adult working world which is what university is all about. I can cook better than I could at home and my focus on nutrition has lead to a stone of weight loss – something I found very difficult to do at home. My ability to get up before 10am has been severely altered but I’m working on it…. promise.
Overall, semester one taught me a lot. I’m glad that I haven’t found this semester a breeze and have received a bit of a reality check. I understand the expectations now and I am ready to grow as an academic and as a person in semester two. 🙂
(The featured photo is my own and is taken on the University of Leeds campus!)