• Laura

Finishing my First Year of Uni: Thoughts, Advice & What I'd Do Differently

Well, I've just finished my first year at uni, I mean, I still have another 3 to go, but why not document everything from the beginning?! Let's face it, I think we all would like a big fat page of advice and experiences when trying something new, so I figured I'd have a look back on the year and really think about all of it: Would I go if I could turn back time? Would I change the course? What would I have done instead? I think these are all questions we ask ourselves from time to time, so why not reflect the year and dig deep into those thoughts, ey?

What is Public Relations & Digital Communications?

If I had a pound every time I was asked this question I'd honestly be Kylie Jenner over here. PR and Digital Comms is the marketing and promotional campaigns you see on social media, they're responsible for planned publicity stunts (remember Lewis Capaldi heading to Marton Road Greggs at Big Weekend 2019 in Middlesbrough? That was one! (his PR team kill it btw). It maintains the image of the influencers and people you see, so I guess I'm doing my own public relations through this blog and over on my Insta! I usually just tell people 'it's like influencing and social media and stuff' to avoid the conversation of well it is, but it isn't, but it really is. It just saves the confusion!

Initial Thoughts of Finishing First Year

Honestly? THANK GOD. I really underestimated the amount of work that goes into every module, I can't really complain, it's giving me the skills I need for my future job, but still? 9 am lectures kill me off, so I just figured that first year doesn't count, because who would want to give up a lie-in? Not me! Seriously though, I've done some things this year that I couldn't have imagined doing, such as this blog! For all, I used to have smaller ones (it was always something I'd leave and then return to out of habit) I really think I'm finding my foot in writing for you all, and the experiences I've had so far have been amazing. But, I've been able to work with nightclubs for campaigns, create videos for animal shelters and meet some people I know I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet prior to me heading to uni, so the social experience and the hands-on experience has really made it all worth it.

I've realised during my first year that I loooove essays? I knew I was always a more literacy-based person when it comes to choosing subjects, but I really do prefer them over building campaigns and going out and about for different topics. I do think that it's a confidence issue, I really hate the idea of filming in public if I don't look like I actually belong there with a proper team, but this is something I will have to learn to love I think. But, it hasn't put me off! I just find the idea of sitting down in front of my laptop and writing about a specific topic a lot more enjoyable than having to leave the house, but I think that's just the introvert in me.

Advice for Freshers

If I can even give one bit of advice, please please PLEASE take every module with a pinch of salt. You will not enjoy all of them, you will love some and hate some but they're all relevant in some form to your course and your plans after uni, use the skills they give you to your advantage and you really can't go wrong. I remember sitting in a lecture for one of my modules and going home halfway through because there was no point (in my eyes) of being there, just please stick them out, I know I could have reached a first instead of a second if I took in the advice I was given, rather than slacking off to go shopping in town. There was a part I can remember at the end of the first semester where I was adamant that I would drop out and go on to do an apprenticeship of some sort (God knows where), but I'm so glad I stuck it out and I've actually made it, so this is an achievement in itself for me.

This is probably the most repeated piece of advice on the planet but START YOUR ESSAYS EARLY! This has caused me sooo much unwanted and unnecessary stress just because I was too lazy to start my essays early, so I made a conscious effort to change this, especially with the end of the year being online learning, and I was able to hand in my final essay a week early (shocker for me I know) so I've had a week extra of effectively finishing uni compared to everyone else. It's just a lot nicer to get it out the way and move onto the next thing, and I found it's helped my organization too.

What would I do differently?

I'd change sooo much honestly, beginning with the university I'm studying at. Don't get me wrong, I love being local and being able to stay home so I'm close to my family. But, I can't help and wonder what everything would have been like if I had gone to Manchester Media City to study, I don't really know if it's a thing I'd change, but it's definitely something I wish I had given a chance. If I didn't change my uni, I do think I'd change my course and possibly look into Media & Communications instead, I just really think it'd suit me more and it would be something I'd have the same, if not more interest in.

I realised that sounds as though I'm not happy with my uni or the course, I really really am and I love the opportunities it's given me, but I can't help and wonder what things might have been like if I had taken the opportunities that were a little more out there, but I suppose curiosity killed the cat, didn't it? I do think university is what you make of it, and I think I've made a decent little bubble of it! For all my course is a small course (5 people that is) I think I've given it a good go and I'll put even more effort into next year because I do think I could work harder than I am now!

What are my thoughts on my grades?

I know this might be a little surprising to some, considering I barely showed up in my first year, but I've passed this year with a second (a B) in the majority of my modules (I actually keep all of my grades in a table on Microsoft Word so I can see them easier than looking through BlackBoard, the university site), so overall I am happy with my grades and I have actually put a lot of effort into them, even if it wasn't on campus. I do hope that the next 3 years at uni I can pass with a first (an A), but this year is all about gaining the core skills for the job, so I'll take a second!

I've wanted to do a recap sort of post on my first year uni experiences for a while and I've been putting it off since March time, so to finally get around to sitting down and doing it is a small achievement for me since I've really been out of the whole 'university mind-set' at the moment! But I really do hope this helps some of you as I know some of you guys are starting uni next year (or possibly deferring a year to make sure you don't get involved with online learning), so I figured this might benefit you all even a little amount!

On another note, I'm sure you've all noticed some maajor changes on the layout and colours on this blog! I got really down about this the other day and decided it needed a lil sumthin sumthin to it, so I decided to do what I wanted all along on it, something simple to use but effective. I really hope you guys like it as much as I do!

Laura x

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