Tips from a History student
First year BA History student, Nora Saghi, gives her best tips on how to prepare for your start at City, University of London.
History Student Tips – As a Historian….
1. Your best friends, aka books
As a History Student, you will need to read books. A lot of books. Shocking, I know. So my best advice is: read. Read before you come to university, read while you are at university and read during your days-off. It may sound like this will take up much of your time, but actually it saves you time. How, you wonder? Well, if you read many books, you know will know the content of many books, and therefore when you need a to make a reference, during an essay or an exam, you will have the advantage of knowing where to turn to, or where to look for further writings. Think of your books as a historian's superpower tool.
2. Where you will live, aka libraries
In light of the above, I guess you figured out that you will spend a lot of your time in libraries. This may sound boring – but not here! You are in London! Therefore, my tip is to do some research of your libraries – know where they are, know in what you may find in each. There is City Library. There are all of the University of London libraries. There is the British Library. There is the Senate House Library. (Please don’t make me list all of the London libraries….) Point being: you have so many options, so make the most of them. It is also great to change location sometimes – just to stay inspired and motivated during essay writing.
3. Where you will be studying, aka you are in London
Have I already mentioned? You are studying in London! Over and above, you are studying History in London. Hence, you will find that a few modules will suggest museums or exhibitions you should check out- but I would also suggest going beyond that. It is so much easier to write or research a topic when you have seen actual things. Museums in London also happen to be free, so enjoy, really. Or just step outside of your door, and look around. It is free, it is London, it is history.
4. Where you will spend your ‘free time’, aka you are still in London
So other than museums and exhibitions, there are tons of events going on all the time. London never sleeps. There are so many events at City, University of London, as well as at Student Central. Just keep your eyes open for history-related events, workshops, special lectures – staying motivated throughout the terms will help your scores greatly. And socialising at events, student societies and clubs will give you a balanced life, and keep your mental health up.
5. If you don’t want to read that much, aka podcasts
So let’s assume that there will be a time even before or during university when you feel like you want to take a break from reading. Understandable. Then I would suggest listening to some podcasts. But the idea is the same, being educated in a specific topic will give you confidence and ease when it comes to university coursework. Find a topic which really interests you, and learn something new about it.
6. Assessments, aka what you prefer
In my opinion, in your first year it is totally fine to experiment in what kind of assessments suit you more, but it is also worth giving it some thought before starting university. Luckily, at City you have a variety of options in terms of modules (even in your first year!) and not only do these modules cover different topics, the assessment will be also different. You can decide to go with the one you are most comfortable with, or a few others, to get some challenge. So just try to figure out if you prefer exams, essays, group-work or oral presentations, and so on.
7. History, aka you know how important time is
Make a schedule. Studying History, you will find that the time spent outside of a classroom is really important, so use this time wisely. Be ahead of deadlines and be honest with yourself- how much time do you really need to revise for an exam or to write an essay? If it helps, make an actual timetable for yourself on paper or online.
8. … You should also know that finding balance is key
Before university, it is totally fine to take some time off of studying, and relax. Try to spend some time with things that give you energy – you will need a lot during exam/assessment periods. And when you arrive at uni, find the perfect harmony between studying and personal life. If you need further help, feel free to ask for advice from City staff.
9. Two magic words, aka student discount
For a moment let’s get a bit less nerdy, and focus on cash. More specifically how to save some. Student discounts are everywhere, you just have to look for them. Student cards, discounts, deals, the list goes on. Just a few examples: restaurants, oyster card, bookshops, museums, concerts.
10. Mentoring, aka CityBuddies.
Apply to be a CityBuddies mentee, if you feel you would want some help and support from a fellow History student. Such a great scheme!