What I learnt in my first year…

Welcome Week is over and if you’re a new student, you’re about to really get started with your first year at Reading! Rebecca, second year in Accounting and Finance shares her knowledge…


My experiences over the past year can be categorised into ‘Academics’ – things I’ve learnt about being a student, and ‘Life’ – things I’ve learnt about living away from home and being a so-called adult.


  • An AQA syllabus and hundreds of past papers may have been the bane of your school life, but to a university student the certainty and structure of a syllabus is a fond, fond memory. It may feel like you’re never really sure what is actually going to be in your exam, or what kind of detail you need to revise. The good news is that tutorials/seminars/workshops are the uni equivalent of exam style question practice and technique lessons. Make the most of these (i.e. turn up & listen) and don’t underestimate their importance.
  • Despite the well known fact that lecture attendance is not compulsory-don’t be the loud obnoxious guy that talks through everything. If you’re going to go you may as well pay attention, or at least don’t distract others, or there is little point in your attendance.
  • Lastly: module weighting (a.k.a credits) vary from module to module, unlike school where all subjects are equally important, some modules require more time and effort than others. Remember this when you proportion your time and work load. As one heavily weighted module can have a large impact on your overall grade.


Moving away from home and living with 7 strangers, I also learnt a fair few things outside of the lecture theatres this year.

  • Life is expensive: food, trains, even study. Some things are definitely worth it (Netflix subscription anyone?), yet some things will always be painful – surprisingly, and disappointingly: the price of cheese! I would definitely recommend student websites such as ‘Save the Student’ for finding bargains or learning about budgeting. And if you do have the time – University student jobs are often better paid than jobs in town and the hours are usually more flexible and better fitted to a student’s busy timetable. You can find out more on the University’s Careers website.
  • One massive lesson that I learnt – Home is clean. You don’t have to conform to the stereotype of messy, unclean students – hovering (2 minutes), and washing up (5 minutes) aren’t really as much effort as they originally seem.
  • Finally, a tough lesson – I actually quite like my family, after living with them for 18 years I thought I couldn’t wait to leave, but it turns out, I actually grew to miss them. Inviting them up to Reading was a nice way to spend my first weekend as a fresher, not only could they see where I was living, but it also allowed me to explore the campus and town finding somewhere to take them (the Harris Garden was a success).

No doubt, it is all a part of the university experience to learn about living away from home and the quirks of being a student, and you will over the next year do so yourself. Hopefully having shared my experiences with you, you will feel a little more prepared and knowing of what to expect.

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