Having just finished my last ever assessment for my degree, and now waiting for my results and graduation, looking back at my time at Staffs I can safely say that I am happy with how I spent my time. Sure there is the studying and working hard to get a good final grade, but there is much more to learn than just what you hear in the lecture halls (and I know that sounds hella cheesy, but it’s totally true!). If you’re someone that is coming to Staffs for the next academic year, then here are some words of advice. If you’re a student at Staffs already, and aren’t doing any of these things, then GURL you need to get yourself in gear!
1) First off, I would definitely recommend joining up to a sports club, society, liberation network, or any other kind of extra curricular activity. You are not a 1-dimensional character in a bad sitcom, and you are definitely interested in more things than just your course subject, so why not join a group of people who are also passionate about the same thing? Over 3 years I have been involved with, in some way shape or form, the Psychology Society, Cosplay Society, LGBT+ Network, Pagan Society, Marvel Society, Theme Park Society, and probably a few more that I am forgetting. Some of them I have managed myself, some have been just a passing curiosity where I only took part in an event or two. Chances are if you nerd out over a particular game, sport, hobby etc., there’s a club or society ready for you to join. If not, you can always make one yourself with 2 other friends.
2) Of course there are also the nights out. For first years, going on a night out to Gobble or Mukky is all you ever really think about. Who is going to be hosting pre’s? What drinks are you having when you get to LRV? Do you get in on the fancy dress theme for the night? (The answer to the last question being yes, of course!) However, don’t let going out and getting wasted take over all of your responsibilities. Especially in 2nd and 3rd year, grades mean a lot more and the work load goes up, and if you are constantly going out and drinking it will have an impact on your results, as well as your finance and even *gasp* your waistline! There are calories in those drinks y’know. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, rather to go out and have fun, but at the same time look after yourself and be mindful of what you need to get done.
3) That being said, lets not down play the importance of studying. Yes I know thats the boring bit, but thats why you’re going to/already are at uni. Or at least I hope thats the case anyway. For one thing, please do not be one of those students whose only visit to the library is during the open day visit. Not only should you take advantage of all the textbooks you can use without having to buy, but getting out of the house/halls to get work done is surprisingly productive, especially if you are then surrounded by hard-working people. There are also rooms or areas in the library dedicated to those who require specialist software and devices, and so outside of timetabled course time you can still have access to the things you need. Who knows, you may get a dissertation done by the end of it all!
4) Something not a lot of people think about, when deciding on what to do at university, is student projects. Throughout the year, many students will be working on collaborative projects, where they require volunteers to help out or be a part of. Not only is it interesting to see what everyone else is doing on different courses, but opportunities like this are another avenue of discovering something you are enthusiastic about. I have been involved in a few film projects, mostly about makeup or LGBT+ topics, as well as helping my photography friends with shoots, and my fellow psychology students and their research projects. Also, if you are someone who has a project coming up that requires participants, if you get involved with others, you are more likely to get help from those people you helped out.
Time flies, especially during the whirlwind that is 3rd year, and so I recommend you make the most of your time at Staffs while you can. I have really enjoyed the student experience, and have made so many memories of the 3 years of my degree. Fingers crossed I get onto my Masters, so I can squeeze another year on. I’m not ready to let go of you just yet Staffs!!