Things I wish I knew before starting university

As we begin the academic year and welcome new students to the Management School, MBA student, Carlo, shares what he wished that he'd known before starting university.

An image of an open book on a table in a library setting.

Starting a postgraduate degree can be a daunting experience, especially if it's your first time studying at the University of Sheffield. Looking back on my own experience, there are a few things I wish I had known before starting my degree:

  1. Make the most of your time: Postgraduate study can be intense and time-consuming, but it's important to make the most of your time outside of class as well. Take advantage of the many extracurricular activities and events available on campus, and make time to explore the city and build connections with your peers. This can be especially important if you are studying on a one year course, as you will have less time to get involved in university life.
  2. Find a balance: It's important to find a balance between your studies and other areas of your life. Make time for the things that are important to you, whether it's spending time with friends and family or pursuing hobbies and interests. This can help you maintain a sense of perspective and prevent burnout.
  3. Don't be afraid to seek out help: If you're struggling with coursework or feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to seek out help. There are many resources available, such as tutoring services, academic advisors, and counselling services. Don't hesitate to reach out for support. It's better to get help early on rather than letting problems build up.
  4. Explore the city: Sheffield is a vibrant and diverse city with a lot to offer. Take advantage of your time here to explore the city and discover its many cultural attractions, including galleries, museums, and music venues. This can be a great way to get to know the city and meet new people.
  5. Familiarise yourself with the University: Before starting your degree, it can be helpful to familiarise yourself with the University and its resources. This might include exploring the campus, getting to know the layout of your department, and learning about the support services available to students.
  6. Understand the expectations of your program: It's important to understand the expectations of your postgraduate program, including the coursework, deadlines, and assessments. Make sure to communicate with your professors and read through the course materials carefully to ensure you are meeting the requirements.
  7. Be proactive: Don't wait for opportunities to come to you – be proactive and seek them out. This might include applying for internships or other experiential learning opportunities, joining societies or clubs, or volunteering in your community. These are great skill builders and can make a difference in your journey.
  8. Stay engaged: It's important to stay engaged with your studies and participate in class discussions and activities. This will help you get the most out of your courses and build relationships with your professors and classmates.
  9. Take advantage of resources: The University of Sheffield has a range of resources available to support students, including academic advisors, tutoring services, and counselling services. Don't be afraid to utilise these resources if you need them – they are there to help you succeed.
  10. Be open to new experiences: A postgraduate degree is a great opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. Don't be afraid to take risks and explore new interests – you never know what you might discover.

Overall, starting a postgraduate degree at the University of Sheffield can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By being proactive, staying engaged, and seeking out help and support when needed, you can set yourself up for success and make the most of your time at the University.

Written by Carlo Vidal Miranda, December 2022.

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