Andrew England offers a simple guide
As universities sparkle back into life, an influx of naive new students eagerly awaits the boozing partying good times that are expected to go hand in hand with the three or four years of study that lie ahead.
«The best years of your life,» so the worn-out сliche would have you believe, and after my expensive first year, I tend to agree. But and it is a big but - it is far too easy to fall into the trap of believing that the first year, often a foundation year, and not part of the degree, is going to be a breeze. This perception, buoyed by boastful tales from postgraduates about how little work they did, can easily lead to a too relaxed approach, poor attendance and finally panic. The realisation that failure could be imminent and the awful prospect of retakes can make the final weeks a harrowing period.
Even if you are not complacent, there are numerous reasons for missing the occasional lecture or seminar. The hangover is the classic. After a night in some grotty night-club which charitably allows you to drink to excess at knockdown student prices, a hot stuffy lecture theatre can appear a daunting prospect in the early afternoon.
Embarrassing memories of the nignt before, which vaguely filter through a thumping head, can also act as a deterrent. How do you face that poor girl who
suffered at the hands of your slobbering sweaty drunken advances?
Boredom studying modules that appear to have no relevance to your eventual degree can also create problems of motivation. On my course, it was methodology which was quite simply а nightmare. My friends and I still have little understanding of it. Unfortunately, it still has to be passed and to those who failed, methodology, with its boring lectures, was the greatest stumbling block.
The thing to remember is that when exams eventually come around you do need notes to revise from. Other people's notes are notoriously hard to make
sense of, and suddenly you have huge regrets about missing that vital lecture.
It is also important not to forget that in certain subjects you are awarded a mark towards your final assessment for seminar performances, it means that just by having a reasonable attendance record you can gain a crucial percentage that may make the difference between success and failure.
Attendance can be invaluable. A friend of mine, who is studying engineering at the University of the West of England, has a weakness with maths and, consequently, just failed a retake. However, as a result of his good participation during the course, he was given another chance and allowed to continue. He is no boring bookworm and thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of university life.
He went on to complete his second year and is now working for the Vauxhall
touring car team in his placement year, The hard work paid off and an ambition to work for a top motor-racing team is being realised.
At the other end of the scale, another friend who took a very relaxed approach to his first year failed and had to pay his own fees to be able to retake the year. Leopards don't often change their spots. He failed the year again and is prematurely confronting the job market fully aware that he is solely responsible for his predicament.
First-year failure leads to the indignity of having to go through the whole induction course again with those «annoying school leavers» you should have left behind. An extra year's debt, and an extra year's study while your friends are enjoying graduation. It is something to be avoided.
You must and will enjoy your time at university and remember
extracurricular activities on your CV are as important to an employer as the degree you leave with. Achieving the compromise between work and play is the successful rout to take.
2. Answer the questions. Write down numbers that show your fear ( 1 - no fear at all¼ 10 - total panic), count up your total score ( the lowest total - the highest fear). Can you say why you are frightened? Think of a few steps to help people with their problems.
Are you afraid of ¼
1) Problems with doing homework/laboratory work?
2) Worries about the exams?
3) Low level of your knowledge?
4) Lack of progress?
5) Debts? 6) Tutors?
7) Problems with learning English?
3. Read the text given below and answer the questions. Speak on the
differences in the systems of higher education at British universities and at universities of our country.
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