To anyone questioning whether to go to university or not, please go! It has honestly been the best experience I’ve ever had, especially at the University of Birmingham. Between the traditional, brick campus to the artsy, multicultural city centre, I was able to overcome a shaky start in college. Below are the top 5 ways that helped me and my friends adjust to the University of Birmingham.
1. Do NOT go home!
In the first month at least, it may be very tempting to go back to your hometown, where you feel completely comfortable and where you know everyone. But make sure you don’t! This is a general, but important, rule for starting college. You’ll miss out on bonding with your flatmates and new friends as well as missing all the events that are a memorable part of your first year. Fresher’s events in Birmingham carry on till mid-October, and are a fun way to bond with new friends and explore the campus and all the different clubs! So please, no matter how hard you’re finding it to adjust to the University of Birmingham, stick it out. It’ll be worth it.
2. Explore around campus if you want to Adjust to the University of Birmingham properly.
I lived in a small town in Wales where I could walk around town with my eyes closed – I knew it that well – and everyone in town knew everyone. Moving to a big city like Birmingham was very daunting for me, especially as I was moving there completely by myself and away from my parents for the first time. Exploring both the campus and the city centre was really fun and a good way to make friends with new people.
You will uncover new things you have never seen before.
In the first few days, my new group of friends and I spent days out exploring all the surrounding areas like Selly Oak, the massive student hub just outside of campus, to Digbeth in the city. These day trips really highlighted how diverse and unique the University of Birmingham is, as well as uncovering new places and environments that I had never experienced before. There is a presumption that Birmingham is a very grey, industrial place, but the actual university and quirky spots are a stark contrast to that. One of the main aspects that draws me to the university is how green it is; coming from the Welsh valleys, this really made me feel at home. It’s lovely to sit outside in warmer weather and doing work with friends on campus can definitely help you adjust to the University of Birmingham.
3. Learn what kind of studying works for you as soon as you can.
In my opinion, first year is about finding your feet, building strong relationships in preparation for the rest of your time at uni and adjusting to a new place. Especially in the University of Birmingham, for most courses, your first year won’t count towards your actual degree. For my course, it was more of a transition period between A level and university and understanding a new subject as I took a joint honours course. With this in mind, I think it’s important to not take everything too seriously as you may miss out on events and things with new friends, although you do still have to pass the first year to continue with the rest of your degree. Despite this, getting to grips with the library services and revision sessions will be really helpful for the coming years in uni.
4. Know your way around Canvas.
Something that can be very confusing with this university is the online interactivity of accessing your different course modules and the information that you’ll need. When you start at the university, you’ll be given a student email and a username and password that allows you to access your Birmingham university portal and the Canvas Infrastructure. This is where all your courses are listed. It is important to know your way around these websites as everything you will need to be able to study and find your feet in the first year will be online. On the Canvas website which can also be downloaded as an app, which is very useful, all of your coursework deadlines and briefs will be available, as well as your reading lists and preparatory work that will guide you through your course.
5. Make most of the campus student hub.
As with most universities, Birmingham has a campus student hub. There is a small selection of shops, offices and places where student can get academic or individual guidance, huge spaces that are used for student club nights and events and a super cheap and friendly bar. Within fresher’s week, this is where many events are held, as well as job and society fairs. A brilliant way to adjust to the University of Birmingham is to make the most of these facilities by following the guild’s Twitter and Facebook pages, which are both easily accessible. The University of Birmingham in general makes use of online interactivity, so plugging yourself in from the get go is very helpful, both academically and socially.