Niffy’s First Year Survival Guide: Opportunities & the Actual Study bit!

Niffy is a final year Law student at City who moved to London for university, and is a self confessed BTS fan.


Starting university is both an exciting and confusing time. Here are some of my own experiences and tips to help you get started.

Opportunities and how to make the most of them

While you’re at university take every opportunity that’s presented to you and search for more. The amount of independence you get at university is crazy and it is unlikely you will have this much control over your time again in your life.

I was partly lucky* because I did research before arriving and knew what I wanted to do while at City including the micro-placement, study abroad, and school ambassador programmes, and I got my applications in on time and was successful.

*lucky or prepared Niffy?  I think you were prepared – Sarah Wood WP Outreach Manager

Despite that, there was still so much I didn’t get the opportunity to do because I didn’t know about it or didn’t take full advantage.  Like the careers service, the summer school programs and Common Purpose ( an all expenses paid trip to a university in Vietnam which my friend went on and she said it was amazing).

My tip is: join societies, talk to new people, play a sport, travel, party, do anything and everything because nobody will tell you what to do. 

The actual study bit

Independence can be amazing but use your time wise and be proactive so you don’t come out after three years of studying having experienced nothing.

Unfortunately I fell prey to my fair share of missed lectures and tutorials because there was nobody to motivate me out of bed. But my top piece of advice would be, go to class – whether that’s online or on campus.Online chat call

Even if it means showing up in your pyjamas with a bowl of cereal make sure you’re “in class” because it’s a lot easier to assimilate information when you have experienced it live.

Going to class is important because despite what you are going to hear, first year does matter and aiming for a pass is never a good strategy. Aiming for a good 2.1 is always best as it as it puts you in the right mind set of studying and allows you to create good habits early on.

Here’s a list of my main study tips to help you navigate your first year at university and avoid the same mistakes I did:

  • As a student your main job is to study so don’t neglect your degree
  • Talk to your peers and senior students. Two heads are always better than one and it’s always great to have a wider perspective while studying
  • Build relationships with your lecturers and tutors.
  • If you can, attend alumni events which are a great way of networking and learning from others
  • LinkedIn is so helpful for finding City (or your university) alumni who are now working and most people are more than willing to help so don’t be scared to send a message – this video goes into more detail.

* More from the WP Team on finding opportunities and studying in 2020/21, what with the pandemic and all:

Like Niffy did, do your research. Look up your university online to find out what the different services they have to offer and how you can access them online or in person. City’s Student Hub and Experience City pages have information on what our university can offer in terms of careers opportunities, study guides and workshops, skills development, and more!

And get involved with your Student Union, who will be working hard to support students through their online and blended learning university experience.

Read Niffy’s other survival guides to your first year at university here:

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