So Welcome Week is over and classes have started. You’ve got that snazzy new pencil case and you’ve promised yourself you won’t doddle on this notepad in between PowerPoint slides, and you’ve already kinda-sorta sussed out who you want to sit by. You’re ready to learn. You’re ready to start your degree.
Here’s a question you need to have an answer for:
What’s the most interesting and memorable thing about you?
More specifically, you’re going to hear: ‘Tell us your name and a fun fact about yourself!’
This is a First Year phenomenon, though, so once you get through that first week of classes you’re not going to have to say it again. Usually. Unless you go to Student Rep training meetings and then you might have to. I’m going to let you in on a secret though: This isn’t just so you can remember the names of your new classmates; it’s so the lecturer can remember all of you. They have like a thousand names to remember, and I’ve had lecturers who got my name wrong in the middle of Second Year, so . . . don’t take it personally.
Obviously some courses do things differently and I can only talk about my experiences in English and Creative Writing, but the structure of those first classes was pretty similar across the board:
You’re gonna go through handbooks. A lot. This helps you to learn what you’re . . . urgh . . . going to learn about. Assignment deadlines, reading weeks, recommended reading, a week-by-week breakdown; it’s all going to be in there. If I were you, I’d make sure I had a physical copy because it’s handy to have one, well, to hand. They’ll be on Blackboard as well though, so you can get to them anytime. Which kind of leads me on to . . .
Getting used to all the systems and card-swiping. Want to check some lecture notes? They’re on Blackboard. Which side of Blackboard? The right, then the left. Want to print that off? Well you frighten the library printer with your student card and — you don’t know your way around the library? Well then you go to the desk and — no, not that desk, the other desk.
You get used to all that stuff but everyone’s in the same boat at first. I missed the ‘library tour’ in my Welcome Week because I wanted to sleep. I didn’t even know where the core collection was until last semester and now they’ve moved it again. Learning to read room numbers, find your way around campus, navigating all the online stuff — if you didn’t go through it during Welcome Week, someone will make sure you know what you’re doing the week after. Don’t worry.
Making friends. So those first few weeks of school everyone is desperate to make friends. You will never see a chattier group of people than First Year students in those first four weeks of university. Everyone is new and exciting. I made my first couple of friends that week by insisting they went to Ember Lounge with me after class because, you know, why wouldn’t you? Just be yourself, be mindful of others, be safe, and you’ll have a great time.
Actually learning stuff. As much as the first week of classes is kind of an intro week, I still learnt a lot. My lecturers didn’t really hesitate to throw us into things; I wrote like three pieces that first week, and got homework. Homework. The first hour was kind of a ‘Welcome to the module’ session, but after that it was all work. And that’s good because, you know, that’s what you’re paying for.
It’s all work the second you start in Second and Third Year though. Enjoy that intro week while you can!