I feel like as students, we either really look forward to the time we have to write our dissertations, or we absolutely dread it. For me, it was the second one. Until you find something that really interests you, it's hard to get into the planning, research etc but when you've got it, and it clicks, the feeling is quite amazing. To think you can go from absolute dread and misery, losing sleep about the thought of failing your degree, to the highest levels of optimism and enthusiasm, really is great. To get to that point though, the key is preparation.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is your degree is three years long and although the first year is worth nothing towards your actual classification, it is definitely equally, if not more, important. In your early days at Uni you'll learn so much base knowledge which if you don't know come third year, you are more than likely going to fail, or at least spend an extra 87487 hours in the library! No third year wants to spend longer in the library than already needed. Of course first year is all about booze runs, partying, avoiding the library and skipping lectures, right? OF COURSE! But this can all be done as well as learning the basics (which might not be so basic.)
Life will be SO much easier if you put the work in early on, and then the third year will be a breeze. That doesn't mean getting bogged down with tones of reading though. Just make sure you do the core stuff, and try drag yourself out of bed to make those 9 o'clock lectures! The University library is always like a sauna in the winter so for those of you who can barely afford toilet roll, let alone heating in your student house, you can just spend your hung over mornings doing some light reading! That's what they told me anyway...
Many of my friends and myself are now in third year, hence we're far too busy to go out regularly at night, but I live in the middle of town, so I still see the crowds of students trudge from one night club to the next, enjoying their well-deserved nights out on town. Kingston (and naturally London too) has a good selection of clubs and other venues for going out and so the streets at night are usually busy, especially on weekends. Now, I've got nothing against going a little crazy, but here are some tips just to ensure you stay safe!
Although Kingston is consistently rated among the safest of all London boroughs by the Metropolitan Police, it is wise to take some precautions:
November appears to be the month in which all my first semester in-course assessments happen. Within the next few weeks I am giving three presentations for three different modules, writing a practical proforma and sitting an in-class test. We were given the deadlines a while ago and this gave me the opportunity to be able to fit everything in without panicking. This is as well as normal lectures, studying and work so I'm very glad I'm an organised student!
I managed to find three days off together at the end of reading week where I visited my family in France-the French have November 1st as a public holiday for All Saints Day and it was also school holidays on both sides of the channel, so on the way home Calais was rammed full of the English returning home and the French getting their shopping done!
Now the clocks have changed as well it is a lot easier to speak to my friends in Australia and New Zealand. The time difference is now 11-13 hours (depending on where they are) and it saves one of us being up really late or really early to talk. One of my friends in New Zealand turned 21 this week and a 21st birthday is a big deal over there so I sent a package for her.
The setup of the academic year changed for 2013/14 and we don't have exams in January anymore so I am very much looking forward to a Christmas break, rather than spending Christmas frantically revising. I'll be working over Christmas itself in the pub as we're open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and I like to work so that the staff with kids can have time with them. I'm also planning to revise the modules so far-I have good intentions but it might not happen!
I've managed to completely reconnect with my Uni friends since term started and although I live in the town where I've lived all my life and I have friends here, I also love my Uni friends. My friends in Kingston are from all over the World and most of them have my shared interest in Science. A lot of my Kingston friends are other Student Ambassadors and it's nice to sit down and have a coffee with them!