Recent law graduate, Hazera Ali, shares her top 10 tips for preparing for university life.
Sweaty palms over law school? Well I’m here to help you feel prepared by giving you my top ten tips on surviving your first year.
1. Budget don’t fudge it
You might notice your jackpot of a student loan slowly disappearing once you start university. Make the most of your money by budgeting. Start off with opening a student bank account – City has an on campus Santander bank and ATM to help you manage your money better. Look out for student deals and promotions to help stretch your budget even further – never shy away from asking whether student discounts are available!
2. Connect online
Search for City’s Twitter and Facebook groups for first year law students. This is one of the easiest ways to keep track of upcoming events and changes. They can also be particularly helpful when you’re struggling with the workload, especially during exam season where you’ll notice other students sharing their revision notes, tips and general sleep deprived ramblings.
3. Get working
Use the summer to find a job or internship. Your part time job doesn't have to be related to your dream career, but it’ll be useful when discussing skills and achievements you have in future applications. Unitemps (our on campus recruitment agency) is great for searching for flexible and temporary work if you’re struggling to balance work and university life.
4. Overwhelming reading lists
Firstly – you don’t have to buy ALL the books. They’re often pricey, so try buying second hand books from second years or on Amazon. Recommended reading can often be borrowed from the law library or be found online. You can view the recommended reading list here.
Secondly – you’re not expected to read it all. Meet up with a few classmates to make sure you've covered and understood all the important topics. If you’re really struggling to catch up reading, skim through the introduction and conclusion to get a general gist of the subject area as preparation is necessary for tutorials and lectures. Also: reading week. The clue is in the title, and it’s set for a reason. Trust me on this one.
5. Moo- moo – moooooot!
The skills gained from mooting are essential for a professional career in law. Take part in mooting events and workshops that the Law school offers to really enhance your confidence with public speaking. Check out Lawbore.net for insight about what mooting involves.
6. Talk to second years
They've been in your shoes. And not so long ago too. Take up any chance to ask them for advice as they've often got valuable tips that could help you get through the stress of first year. Joining the CityBuddy programme can help you get in touch with older students, who can help you settle into university.
7. Travel smart
Plan ahead by getting yourself a student oyster (either a 16+ or an 18+ card) to get a significant discount on travel fares. Your timetable might mean you’re not in for the entire week, so it could be less cost effective to buy a weekly or monthly travel card. Look on the TFL website to find the best routes and prices to suit you.
8. Join clubs, societies and sports teams
Freshers week will introduce you to all the different opportunities and extra-curricular activities available at City. Try joining the law society and debate society as a way to meet new people with similar interests. Becoming a Student Ambassador is also a great way to become more involved with the university –and it looks great on your CV too!
9. Allow yourself some downtime
Working day and night can get dull quickly. Studying shouldn't take away from the things you once considered important – instead reward yourself regularly for your efforts. This will not only keep you motivated but will also maintain a healthy mentality towards learning.
10. I need help!
Lastly, make a conscious effort to go over things which you don’t understand. In such a competitive environment we’re often too embarrassed to admit we need help. Lecturers and professors are there to help you get the most out of your degree. Take advantage of their office hours to ask them for extra support.