The Top 5 Things I’ve Learnt Through My First Semester At Uni!

#HellomynameisChlӧe and I am a first year child’s nursing student about to finish my first semester (scary, right?). Throughout my first semester at uni there have been challenges, new experiences, and a lot of fun times throughout freshers which have led me to some new friends and amazing societies. People aren’t lying, unfortunately, when they say your first semester goes quickly but this post should help explain some of the things this semester has taught me and the advice, I wish I was given, as a first year, to help me through. So, without further ado here are the top 5 things I have learnt in my first semester:

  1. To enjoy yourself:

Ultimately, we have all come to uni to learn and at the end of our 3 years here come out with a degree; however, uni isn’t just about learning and hitting the books. One of the main things I’ve learnt is to let go and enjoy myself! Getting stuck in to societies, freshers, and new learning opportunities means you have the chance to enrich your uni experience and do things you never thought you could. These three years are one of the only times you’re going to have the chance to freely indulge in your hobbies and connect with a diverse range of people. Don’t be scared to put yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things because you never know who you might meet when you do, and you will be surprised at the amount of new people you meet. If you’re a sporty person, the university offers a whole range of sporting societies from snowboarding to ultimate frisbee and even sky diving for those of you who are a bit more daring! By allowing myself to enjoy the first semester I have learnt some valuable lessons and skills, which I wouldn’t have learnt or had the chance to do if I had stayed in the library reading books all day.

2.  To get to know your course mates:

Any health sciences course at university can be one of the most demanding and takes up a fair bit of your time. However, one of the things I have found which makes it easier is getting to know people on your course; at the end of it all, you are all in the same boat and will most likely be experiencing some of the same struggles. By getting to know the people on your course it ensures you have people who you can turn to for help whether that be with pre reading, assignments or just someone to talk to if you’re struggling a little (which we all do from time to time). One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is through joining your course’s society. Here at Surrey, the nursing department has just set up a fantastic nursing society which runs events and socials for all the years to get to know each other. So far, they have organised a bar crawl which is an excellent way to get an idea of who is on your course and make some new friends. By getting to know the people on my course it has made me feel a little less scared about doing work because I now know that if I am stuck, I have a group of people who I can turn to and know will help explain to me where I’ve gone wrong.

3.  Looking after yourself:

One of the main things people will tell you is that looking after yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a student nurse, and they’re not wrong; something I like to do is read a good book while being wrapped up in a blanket and either a hot chocolate or a cup of tea. For me I find I get the most stressed about PHS (Physical Health Sciences) so I find that having an outlet

and something I know makes me happy is important to ensure that I’m looking after myself and making sure that mentally I’m keeping myself healthy; this is one of the most important things I’ve learnt to do. I feel like taking some time out of your week to look after yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do during uni.

4.  Don’t forget your personal tutor:

Your personal tutor will be with you throughout your whole 3 years of uni, so they will know you inside and out by the end of it all; they are there to help you through anything and act as a guide throughout your time at uni. I remember one time (who am I kidding, there were a few times) when I was stressed and overwhelmed about uni as well as some other situations and I went and spoke to my personal tutor. She was lovely and helped to calm me down and ensured that I was okay by the end of it all. Just from talking to her I felt calmer and that I could handle the situation from the advice she gave me. This is something I would highly recommend you do if you are ever struggling because all the tutors are so valuable to the course and are willing to help you with anything.

5.  We’re all in the same boat:

(Cringe alert!) A wise film once told me “we’re all in this together” (yes high school musical was part of my childhood); however, while these lyrics are overplayed and very nostalgic, they ring true. Nursing is one of the most rewarding courses a person can do, though it does come with its struggles. During my first semester at uni I remember feeling very nervous, excited, a little bit overwhelmed but very ready to get stuck in to the course. I remember having three main concerns: not being able to keep up in lectures; finding the biology aspect difficult because I didn’t study it at A-level; and not having enough time to socialise (all of which I found people were worrying about too). I found that a lot of other people in my course were also finding it a bit hard to keep up and grasp some of the concepts in biology and trust me, there is time to socialise. Some people were also feeling worried about the course and we all had our own little concerns. However, we all found it reassuring to know that we weren’t the only people who felt this way and that we had people we could talk to about our feelings.

If you’re still here at the end of this blog, then thank you! (Don’t worry we’re almost done!) If you’re going to take away anything from this blog, then remember this;

  • Enjoy yourself!
  • Get to know people and make friends with the people on your course
  • Looking after yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do
  • Your personal tutor is there to guide you when you’re struggling so don’t be afraid to talk to them
  • If you are struggling with one thing, there will be other people feeling the same way too so talk to the people around you and just know you’re not alone!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope I’ve imparted some 1st year wisdom on to you and enjoy your time at Surrey!

Chlӧe x

Author: Chlӧe Thomas, Year One Student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

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