First day at uni? What a fantastic achievement! You have now entered the most diverse university in the country. Here’s how to make the most of it!
By Nikos Papanikolaou
I was in your shoes a couple of years ago. My first day was really confusing and overwhelming. I still remember it: Monday morning, I had class at 10, and I was in the university fifteen minutes before my class started. However, it took me around 25 minutes to find the right classroom.
I tried to enter as quietly as I could, so the tutor won’t notice me. But she did. And the very first words I heard that day were these: “You’re late. Please don’t be late again”.
That was a couple of years ago, in the pro-Covid era. But even without physical classes, there are many things you can do to settle into uni. Being a university student is much more than being in a building, or in a classroom. Especially at this university.
One of the things you can do is to make sure that you have the right timetable. You don’t want to miss a class, especially in the beginning. Online classes work more or less like physical ones. So, try to be online five minutes before your class starts.
Think about it. You may need time to log in; maybe the internet connection has an issue, maybe you need to adjust your camera and your mic. So try to do these things in advance as it will make everything a lot less stressful for you. And if there is a time where you can’t show up, let the tutors know. It shows respect, and they appreciate it. It’s just an email; it takes less than a minute. Be responsible.
Every course has its leader. Make sure you know who your course leader is. It’s the person who will help you if you need anything. Sometimes things are not working the way we expected in our courses, that’s why there are people around who know how to help you.
Maybe you can’t cope with the workload; perhaps you’re feeling blue, maybe the course moves faster than you thought. The university and the course leaders will help you if you need it. Just say it to them, there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed.
The university also offers many services and consultations, from accommodation services to counselling, financial support help, library services and a careers team which will help you to increase your chances for employability. It doesn’t matter if everything switched to online now, they are still available for you if you need them.
I know that you won’t have the chance to meet your new fellow students face-to-face – at least, not at first. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do. For instance, you can create a WhatsApp group where you can discuss whatever you like – university-related things or not.
Social media is a good way to keep in touch with each other, and it’s more direct than an email. A piece of friendly advice: don’t include your tutors, you don’t want that.
London Metropolitan University has a Students’ Union whose members can also help you with things you may need. Usually, you’d be able to spot SU representatives around the university from their red hoodies. Now you will have to email them if you need something and they can guide you further. It’s still good to know who they are, so make sure you know them.
Lastly, enjoy yourself. I know that the circumstances are not ideal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. Covid will soon be gone, but the university will still be there. So will you. Studying at London Metropolitan University is a lifetime experience. So make the most out of it. Make friends, be yourself, respect the others and take care of yourself. As for the rest, London Metropolitan University will be there for you (also watch Friends).