Branwen on the benefits of getting involved with students' union activities
When I started my first year at University, I was overwhelmed. The adjustment to uni life was something I thought that I was prepared for, but no amount of move in vlogs and stories from friends can give you a full picture of what your university experience will be.
Freshers was a blur of faces and events. I made the best of the experience by going to every event, signed up to all the sports and society taster events at the Sports and Societies Fayre and went out loads. There's a good chance that your rather fragile post-Freshers self won't go to half of them again and will split your free time between Mango's and your comfy double bed in Glasney (believe me, I'd know). However, Freshers is a great time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try absolutely everything you ever wanted to.
If I could go back to my first-year self, I'd tell myself to go to all of my lectures and start my coursework a lot earlier than the day before! It's easy to get overwhelmed with all of your deadlines, society events and managing your new friendships as well as those at home, but once exams hit you will appreciate pushing yourself to go to that 9am lecture after your friend decided to drag you to Club I on a Thursday night.
I would also tell myself to get involved with our students’ union from the get go. FXU provides so many opportunities, from creating your own society to volunteering. I set up my own Debating Union and the support I had to run events was amazing. The V-Team Award (now the Legends scheme) was an invaluable way for me to log volunteering hours across the year - and I achieved a silver award for logging 100 hours. This goes on your degree transcript so it's more than worth doing!
I can't stress enough how much I loved first year; I found my passion for debating and made amazing friends who shared my determination to succeed. I found people that I could go out with, people that I could hang out with and people that I could work hard with during deadline period. The ASK (Academic Services) team are incredible – if you ever feel like you're struggling on an essay, go and visit them in the Compass.
The more you get involved with the University and everything it has to offer, the more you get from your time here. Remember why you're here and where you want to be; with those two things in mind, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Best of luck with your studies