As our new students arrive at UEA next week, third year student Natasha Wakelin shares her advice.
As I approach my third and final year as a politics student at the University of East Anglia, there are a few recommendations I am eager to make to the new students who will be joining us shortly. You will be given abundant good (and bad) university advice by various knowledgeable (and clueless) people, but hopefully these few nuggets of wisdom enhance your experience of politics at UEA.
1. Extra-curricular activities – get involved.
The best and quickest way to integrate into life at UEA is to meet people, and the easiest way to do that is though clubs, societies, and other university opportunities. Have a look at the student union website (http://www.ueastudent.com/main-menu/student-opportunities) to see what is on offer, go along to the Freshers’ Fair on the 23rd September to get more information or join, and make the most of your school’s academic activities (see below). Go along, try them out, and soon you’ll feel right at home.
2. Academic activities – make the most of what is on offer.
The ‘sub-school’ of PSI (Political, Social and International Studies) will offer you numerous events which, on top of compulsory teaching, will get you meeting others and get you thinking. Such events include various series of guest lectures, weekly student led discussion forums, and ‘question time’ evenings with a collection of faculty members.
These are organised specifically for students and offer a unique opportunity for you to engage with current issues in an academic, but friendly environment. In order to make the most of these opportunities:
- pay attention to your UEA PPL emails (lots of the events will be advertised by email)
- join the UEA PSI Society Facebook Page (the PSI Discussion Forum, PSI socials and other academic events more will all be advertised here)
- Pick the events that interest you and go! (If you’re feeling nervous, lazy, or just unsure, you must force yourself to attend because you’ll leave feeling the opposite!)
Getting involved with these free activities can be a great way to bring your studies to life, make course friends, and enhance your academic interests and potential. University will most likely be the only opportunity you get to experience such stimulating events – don’t miss out!
3. Don’t be afraid to seek help – it will be challenging.
Whether you’re struggling to keep up with your set reading, aren’t happy in your flat, don’t like the course you’re on or just feel overwhelmed and homesick, UEA is there to help. There are various ports of call, such as your lecturer or academic advisor, the Dean of Students, the Medical Centre, the Hub, UEA Nightline, the PSI Society and your PSI buddy, who are all there to provide help and guidance. It will be tough at times, but you’ll emerge at the end of it a more independent, critical thinking and capable individual.
It’s hard to give generic advice to people I don’t even know yet, but I hope those three points are a start. I am a PSI buddy and am more than happy to give further advice to anyone who might want it – don’t hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck, and I’ll see you soon!
Natasha Wakelin is a third year politics student at the University of East Anglia.