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Things I wish I knew before starting university


Course: BSc (Hons) Medical Science
Category: All about university

30 May 2024

Chloe shares things useful to know before starting university like sorting out finances and making friends.

Hello! My name is Chloe, and I have just completed my second year in Medical Science at ARU Chelmsford.

The prospect of university seems scary, daunting exciting, new and fresh – a whole list of adjectives that surround you as you speculate this new chapter. At least, that’s how it was for me! I picked my A levels with a medicine degree in mind, but also my love of languages choosing Chemistry, Biology, English Literature and French. This turned out to be the starting point to discover new avenues as I realised I no longer wanted to pursue medicine. Medical science jumped out to me as an option, encapsulating a range of topics and assessment styles that suited me. Now, I had decided on a degree subject and ARU, but I still had so many things I was unsure about!

My first step was an open day, but in the Covid-19 Pandemic it proved difficult to attend one so I visited the campus instead and I recommend going to university open day to truly get a feel of the campus and area.

Don’t worry!

My first official tip is not to worry. Whether you are moving away from home for the first time, nervous about your course or unsure about making friends – everyone is in the same boat and people are there to help you! I attended Welcome Week with my flatmates and some other welcome events which helped me feel settled. I have made friends through my course, working on campus, and engaging in student life. So do not worry, you will feel at home in the ARU Community.

Prepare for your degree

When I say prepare for your degree, I do not mean read all the module content before arriving! I just recommend you figure out a strategy when it comes to your study techniques, finances, and time management. I wish I figured out the best way I learn information before coming to university as I would have approached lectures completely differently. Now, I truly know the importance of pre-reading to keep on top of your content and attend lectures to consolidate my learning, so I can ask meaningful questions; something I will carry through into my final year. That’s just one example but there are many things that may work for you such as creating mind maps, flash cards and using spaced repetition. Spend a little time trying to figure it out.

Financially, read up on Student Finance and the options available to you. Contact our Money Advice Service before starting university as they can help you plan and prepare. Make sure you sort your accommodation, knowing rent costs and living costs to help you budget.

This leads onto time management because, whilst you are studying, you may consider a part-time job with ARU Temps or externally to support your finances. For me, Google Calendar is a necessity! It is a tool I used before coming to university but making sure I add in all my commitments (including study time!) helps me stay on top of my studies but also embark on new opportunities, part-time work and not get burnt out.

Be open-minded

Being open to new experiences alongside your degree such as societies, sports clubs and the Student Ambassador Scheme has opened up more opportunities for me to work with the Employability Service as an Employability Activator, go to a UCAS Fair, undertake internships in my first and now second year at university, study abroad and so much more! Come to university with an open mind and motivation to try new things as there is so much time to explore your options and make choices that will help to shape your future.

University is what you make it and I hope you are feeling less nervous about starting after reading this and are excited to start this new chapter. I wish you all the best in your future studies! I am always up for a chat to discuss any concerns or to hear about your experiences! Click here to drop me a message.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.