September 25, 2013, by Yvonne Teoh

Tips for Freshers (Part 2)

Continuing from last week, here are a few more tips for those of you who just joined our Psych department here in UNMC.


1.       Attend ALL lectures and PAY ATTENTION.
This is when you’ll get your lecture notes, the lecturer’s input on the topic, and one of the few chances that you get to ask questions about topic. And often, this is the time when lecturers hint on what is important for the exams and assignments. Plus, attendance is registered in all classes. And don’ be afraid to ask questions. If you’re shy to ask during class in front of all your classmates, approach your lecturer before/after the class.

2.       “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
It’s important to remember from the start that work must be done in order to gain a thorough understanding of the topic you’re studying, and most of the time all the topics you’ll learn in first year will be the basis of your knowledge in your second and final year. So, read, read, and read! Remember to not only read and understand your lecture notes, but also to read from textbooks or the recommended texts by your lecturers.  And if those don’t help, there’s always the internet, you can always refer to blogs or Wikipedia as a starting point. But remember, DO NOT ever cite Wikipedia as a source when writing your essay or report.

Group of students in lecture

3.       Tutorials.
This is the time where you’ll be grouped with a few others and assigned to a tutor. During these sessions, you may discuss any issues that you may have with your work. So, it’s essential to prepare before these sessions, jot down notes on anything that you have difficulty in understanding during lectures.

4.       “After each game, I want to be able to say: I gave it all I could, I gave it my best.”
Competition should not be between you and your peers, but between you and YOURSELF. What matters in the end, is whether you’ve improved over the course of the three years, and whether you’ve worked for it.

5.       “Treat people like how you want to be treated.”
Be polite and respectful to your research assistants (RAs) or PhD students and lecturers. They are more likely to help you if you are polite (remember your Ps and Qs) and if possible, have a brief explanation on how you’ve attempted to find the solutions by yourself BEFORE approaching them. RAs, PhD students and lecturers have a myriad of other responsibilities apart from teaching, so they may not be able to help you all the time, so make an appointment beforehand, and if you follow these steps, they’ll increase your chances of obtaining an answer.

6.       “Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.”
Get enough sleep. You do not want to zone out or fall asleep in class. Besides,  you do not want to suffer from burnout within your first year. So remember to pace yourself.

Photo Credit: Campbell Rowley

Photo Credit: Campbell Rowley

7.       Statistics & Practical classes.
These two modules will be one of the most important modules that contribute to not only the next two years of your degree, but it also comes in handy if you decide to pursue a Masters or PhD. This is where you’ll learn how to design, run, analyse and write-up your research/experiments.

8.       “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.”
So, remember to participate in extracurricular activities, whilst making sure that it doesn’t hinder your academic work. Remember that being in university, is not only about studying and getting straight-As, but you’re also here to learn and improve on various skills (e.g. leadership skills, time management, etc.) that will in the end, benefit you when you’re no longer in a classroom, and even boost your employment prospects. One of the best opportunities UNMC offers is the Nottingham Advantage Award. It encourages students to participate more outside of the classroom, yet have the leeway for you to balance between your studies, the extra-curricular activities and your off-time.

9.       Enjoy yourself.
Ultimately, remember to enjoy yourself for the next three years here. This is when you’ll learn more about the subject that you’ve enrolled to study. You’ll also learn about what you want for yourself in the future, what you want to do, you’ll learn and develop new skills that will useful in the future, and you’ll meet friends from all over the world who may be even your closest friends. This is the time when you’ll discover the most about yourself.

We hope these few pointers have given you an idea of what to expect for the coming year, and we hope it has also given you a sense of comfort that you’re never alone. And we hope you’ll enjoy your next three years here in UNMC! Here’s to wishing all you freshers a warm welcome to the School of Psychology, UNMC!

Those who had survived the years here.

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