Accept What You Don’t Know As Quickly As Possible

James Moos, a Computer Forensics student at the University of Glamorgan, has a simple and effective tip for when you’re making notes in lectures:

“If there’s a word or phrase you don’t understand in the lecture, write it down and look it up when you get home, and add it to your notes. It reduces that panicky feeling of not understanding anything!”

Yup. It’s that simple.

Not everything is obvious straight away (photo by Doug88888)

Not everything is obvious straight away (photo by Doug88888)

When you hear a word or a concept that makes no sense, you can do one of two things:

  1. You stop what you’re doing and feel confused. In the end, you miss more of the lecture;
  2. You happily note down what you don’t understand to look up later at your own convenience.

Eliminate the panic and stay focused. Do number 2!

The next time you don’t get something, acknowledge it and deal with it later. It’s the best way to stop your mind from wandering and to keep your confidence intact.

How To Make the Most of YOUR Student Experience

Q: What is ‘the student experience’?
A: It’s what you make it!

This week, I held a workshop at the University of Glamorgan about ‘the student experience’.

I’ve mentioned Glamorgan in the past for their brilliant Glam Insight, where students write about their time at the university and their experiences while they study.

The students make clear how different their lives are, how varied their experiences are, and how wide-ranging their opportunities are.

In the workshop, I asked four questions. They are covered in the presentation below. But if I could sum things up as briefly as possible, here’s what I’d say in a nutshell:

  1. What IS ‘the student experience’?
    Nothing in particular. Reclaim it as your own. Ask what you want and why you want it.
  2. What should young people consider when applying?
    The bigger picture first, and only then the fact that they would like to live in nice halls.
  3. Why do students leave?
    Not enough subject research and not enough knowledge of what’s on offer.
  4. How do students make ‘the student experience’ work for them?
    Be selfish, open up to change, and be prepared to fail.

Question 4 is the big one here. If you want to skip the Prezi presentation itself and get straight to the good stuff in the archives, I’ve got the top 10 tips on making the most of your experience underneath.

“The Student Experience” on Prezi

How do you make the most of
‘the student experience’? 10 Tips

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. The Student Experience is YOUR experience.
  2. Be involved!
  3. Seek out new opportunities and experiences rather than waiting for them to come to you.
  4. Embrace failure.
  5. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, keep going.
  6. Take your experience seriously, even when you’re having fun.
  7. Enjoy the benefits, but do remember you can have too much of a good thing…
  8. Embrace the unknown. Prepare for the unknown. But don’t fear the unknown.
  9. Look beyond employability. Look beyond the piece of paper you get at the end of those years.
  10. Focus more on yourself, less on the degree. “Your degree isn’t the source of awesome. You are.”

Lessons You Learn At University Go Way Beyond the Academic

If you need any further explanation that university can help you experience all sorts of things beyond your degree study, a University of Glamorgan student gives a bit more perspective in a list.

Student Ambassador, Aisling Galligan, has listed just some of the things she has been learning so far at university.

Aisling is currently in her second year at Glamorgan

Aisling is currently in her second year, studying Drama at Glamorgan

First on the list, Aisling now knows how to make ‘a wicked chilli-con-carne’. Her list is clearly not limited to academic learning.

Finding good deals, designing and painting, presenting videos, harmonising in a choir, effective reading of academic journals, and smiling more… the list covers all sorts. I’m sure it is just the tip of the iceberg, since Aisling calls her list a ‘selection’. And given she’s only in her second year, there will be many more learning opportunities to come.

That’s how it should be. A wealth of new discoveries is a big part of why you’re at uni. It’s hard to work out a true value to higher education because it’s an individual thing and it’s not entirely visible without hindsight. However, a simple list like Aisling has produced can help uncover the diversity of what’s available.

If you could list the things you’ve learned at uni, what things have (so far) been most valuable to you?