5 Important Things You Need To Know About the University of Birmingham
Coming to university for the first time is not only an exciting experience but also an overwhelming one. Suddenly you’re thrown into a flat of random people, bombarded with information about societies, expected to go out at least 3 times a week, do all your reading, cooking, cleaning, shopping, budgeting yourself and still obtain a good 2:1 at the end of it. It can certainly be hard to prioritise. It goes without saying that your degree should come first and foremost, and you’ve already figured out that you love Old Joe, but what about everything else? I’ve written a list of 5 things that I wish I’d known would be important when I first started university.
Though you may wish to take it easy in first year and settle in quietly, your first year at UoB is prime time to get stuck in with societies and sports. Your first-year grades will not count towards your overall degree (you should still try hard though - study abroad, option choices etc. in your second and final years all depend on what you get in your first year). Without the added pressure of optimal grades, you can fully devote yourself to your extra-curricular. It’s the best time to make friends, pad out your CV and fully absorb yourself into the university experience. I cannot stress enough the importance of trying something new and putting yourself out there. The memories you make and skills you learn will be integral to your time at the University of Birmingham.
Fab is the student union night at the University of Birmingham. You’ll see second and final years doing anything to get a ticket on the Facebook page when it rolls round to Saturday. At first, you’ll be in Players, Pryzm and Rosie’s and think Fab is lame, but don’t underestimate the power of a weekly Fab n’ Fresh by the time you’re in your second year, it will turn into your ride or die. It’s an easy walk there, there are some great takeaways in Selly Oak and you’re always guaranteed to find someone you know. Just buy your tickets on a Monday, regardless.
Housing was a shock in first year. You have roughly 6 weeks of initial comfort in your halls on The Vale, but by the time late October and November roll around, you want to make sure you know who you’re living with and that you start looking for houses in Selly Oak ASAP, because the best houses get taken quickly. Don’t be afraid to be upfront about who you want to live with. Your housemates can make or break your time at university, so choose wisely. Check that your landlord is reliable with the Guild, and try to secure a house close to campus/the high street, you’ll want the walk on a rainy day (whether that walk is to university, or to grab some chocolate) to be as short as possible.
The new library at the University of Birmingham was opened last year. Because of its swanky design and cooler climate, it is notoriously busy. Don’t even try to get a seat in there before 8 am during exam season, especially with your friends. My recommendation is, make a habit of going alone and early before the post-lunch rush of students, or try a quieter study spot such as The Loft or the Mason Lounge if you wish to study in a group. Side note- NEVER RESERVE SEATS IN THE LIBRARY, final year students will hate you.
The University of Birmingham has some great advice services such as AWAS (Academic Writing Advisory Service) and the Careers Network. Making regular use of such services can put you a above the rest of your peers regarding the quality of your work and future career choices. It may seem like a pain at the time, but a quick 20-minute scan over a paragraph with a writing tutor or a half-hour workshop on your CV can make the world of difference to your essays and future employers.
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