Editor Opinions: Things We wish We’d known Before Starting UEA

Freshers has arrived!

You probably feel more than a little nervous and definitely unprepared but don’t fear because we’re here to help.

Some of our editors have banded together to give you the tips you need before things start to get serious, telling you our top advice for surviving your first few weeks at UEA that we wish we’d known in our first year!

David (Science):

“Lecturers talk fast! I know it’s obvious, but I’m still having to remind myself of how best to deal with this in lectures as I start my third year. As a slow and messy writer I rely on my laptop to take notes quickly enough, but often find myself making the mistake of copying what is written on the slides – this is often a relatively pointless exercise, as lecture slides in my two main schools (BIO and ENV) are usually uploaded shortly before or soon after lectures.

What the lecturer adds to their slides in the lecture though, that goes as soon as it’s come, so attention is best devoted first to that, and then to the slides for context and extra info. Anything on those that is missed can easily be caught up on later. If you still struggle to note down all the information the lecturer throws at you, get your phone out, and no, don’t give up and scroll facebook, record the lecture and make your notes from the recording later. Do be careful with this though, as not all lecturers are happy to be recorded, especially not when lecturing on a sensitive topic. If unsure, always ask the lecturer before the lecture, and they will usually say it’s fine.”

Elizabeth (Social Media):

“Maybe not so much before Uni, but definitely in my first year, there are other bookable study rooms than just the library! And seeing as, a lot of the time, people just ignore the fact you’ve booked the study space when in the library, it’s handy to have other spaces available. Also, the Hive isn’t always reliable; there’s more than a few faulty plug sockets and it can get very noisy.  So make sure to widen your search when booking rooms!”

Charlotte (Entertainment):

“I wish I’d have known that the mattresses are super uncomfortable and you need a mattress topper. I also wish I’d have bought a clothes airer to avoid paying for the tumble-driers in the launderette.

On a deeper level, don’t feel like you don’t belong or you’re not doing uni right if you don’t go out partying every night of the week. There’s more people than you’d think who prefer to stay in than roam around campus. Most people find that they survive on the adrenaline rush of Fresher’s week, but once the first fortnight is over and you’ve found your feet then you’re probably going to find yourself missing home and there’s nothing wrong with that! Don’t forget there are numerous, discreet services on campus to help you deal with homesickness and other low points you encounter. There’s Student Support Service, and campus’ own branch of Nightline who are there to listen from 8pm to 8am every night.

In the words of Russell Howard: ‘You think uni is gonna be sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Whereas the reality is more just kind of, “Did you take my milk?”.”

Ewa (Food):

For the love of god, stick to as few societies as you can. Soc fair can be very inspiring to join that super obscure society (or 20 of them), but you will not appreciate your email inbox bursting with all the events 10 days before your summative assessments are due. Save yourself some time – pick a select couple you know you will stick to.

Emily (Editor-in-Chief):

“Most importantly, be yourself! You’ll be surprised at the amount of different characters you’ll find at UEA so there’s no point in pretending to be someone different when there’s so many potential friends out there just like you!

Make sure you have a good social life but try not to neglect your studies – that’s why you’re here after all – and don’t be scared to ask if you don’t know what you’re doing or where to go. Trust me, awkwardly asking someone where to find the Thomas Paine building is much easier than walking around aimlessly because you probably won’t find it!”

Image: University of East Anglia, UEA bunny Norwich by .Martin. is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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