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You've worked through your school and college and have managed to get a place on your dream course. The adult world is spread out in front of you and there are a plethora of choices to make. So how do you know which choices are most important? What things should you really focus on getting done in those first few days and which aren't such a rush? This guide will show you what you absolutely must do and what things can wait a bit.
Enroll and Attend Induction
In the welcome information packs you should get, you'll receive a date, time, and location for enrolling and a welcome event. It's vital that you enroll and advisable you do this sooner rather than later. Until you enroll, you won't appear on online systems and will struggle to get any information. It's the point of enrollment that you become a student so make sure you get this done to get access to everything else! Some universities have online enrollment which makes it even easier, but again get it done sooner rather than later. There'll always be a welcome event for your degree programme and this is a great chance to get to meet some tutors and some fellow students. It'll also provide really good advice on any course specific requirements such as equipment, health checks, etc.
Register with Support Teams
If you have a disability or require additional support services, it's important that you register for these as early as possible. There are many students starting at the same time and the support teams will be busy. To make sure your university experience is the best it can be, you'll want support from the start. The support they offer will range from simple things such as longer library loans to more complex arrangements of specialist services and equipment.
Meet Your Guidance Tutor
Guidance tutors, personal tutors, mentor tutor, call them what you will but this person is assigned usually by the end of the first week and they are the person who you'll most likely turn to with any problems, so it's worthwhile saying hello. You may never have any problems or issues during your time at uni, but your guidance tutor will also advise on careers, exam, and coursework performance, academic skills, and can ultimately write you a reference, so a good relationship is a must. The reference they can write will be far better if they know you and know a little bit about you, otherwise all they can comment on are your grades.
Check Your Timetable
Your timetable will show you when you're required to be in scheduled classes and may be unique to you depending on what you're studying. They can seem really confusing to start with, there'll be a huge range of building names, session types, and lecturers on there but once you get the hang of it, they become much more straightforward. It's important to note that your studies and the classes that go with them should be your top priority, but if there are any major issues with attending classes because of stuff outside of uni, tackling them early makes things much more straightforward.
Do the Adult Things
Whether you're living away from your family home or not, now's the time to start making "grownup" choices. You'll need to register with a local GP if you're living away from home and registering with a dentist is also wise. Don't wait until you're sick as most doctors' surgeries take a few days to complete registration so you won't be seen straight away. If you have any medical problems which affect your studies you will need to provide a doctors' note and at that time the last thing you need to be worrying about is finding a practice and getting on their books. You'll also need to consider your finances. Shop around for a bank account which works for you and offers you the most. It'll be tempting to spend wildly when your loan goes in, but it's better in the long run if you set up some savings, trust me you don't want money worries at the same time as assignment deadlines!
You're going to be at university for at least 3 years so you need to be happy, and friends are a big part of that. You'll get to know the people on your course but to find people with similar hobbies and interests, your Students Union will be able to help. They have a huge number of societies covering a full spectrum of interests so there's bound to be something for everyone. And if there's not? Start one, you won't be the only person interested in your idea! There's also always volunteering and fundraising opportunities available and things like this can really make your CV stand out in a crowd so consider getting involved in something with a community spirit.
But what about...?
There's still a huge amount of things to do such as buying books, attending lectures, sampling nightlife, but these few things mentioned are the keystones of your success as a student! The rest will fall into place as you go through your course.