The main reason many of you will be choosing to attend York is to study for a degree from a top class university (which of course is a very valid reason!), but there is so much more that you will be taking away from your time here. It is inevitable that you are going to grow as a person whilst at university, and these are some of the most important things I have learnt at my time in York.
Throw yourself into social situations
In first year especially, there are going to be a lot of friendships being formed, with flatmates, course mates, other members of societies etc. I found that the easiest way to develop these relationships was to get involved as much as I possibly could, whether this be accepting invites to do certain things, or arranging events myself. Not only has this helped form really good friendships, I also feel like I have definitely had an amazing social experience whilst at York! It can be quite intimidating meeting a lot of new people all at once, so it is important to remember that everyone is in the same boat and looking to make new friends just as much as you are.
Put yourself out of your comfort zone
University is the best place to have a lot of new experiences and try things that you may never have thought you would, and I found that the best way to do this was to put myself out of my comfort zone. Whether this be trying a new sport, getting involved with a big volunteering project or simply being more social than you might usually be, everything helps towards creating an amazing university experience. I started at York having never skied in my life, so I bit the bullet and got involved and I will be leaving with a huge love for it!
Having confidence can never be a bad thing. Not only can it help in social situations, but in many other walks of life, particularly when it comes to your career! When I started university, I will be the first to admit that I lacked a fair bit of confidence, but that definitely isn’t the case now. Group presentations, placement and volunteering (amongst other things) have all helped me become significantly more confident in myself. This has been particularly useful when it came to assessment centres and interviews for graduate jobs, and having recently secured a great role I know that gaining this extra confidence has definitely paid off!
Use resources available to the best of your ability
The university offers so many different services, it would be silly to not take advantage as much as you possibly can! A great example is the careers service, who offer job support, CV checking, mock interviews and assessment centres, all of which have been a massive help with graduate job hunting. The people you meet at York could also provide a lot of help, whether this be lecturers or fellow students, so set up a LinkedIn and get connected to them! Colleagues from my placement offered me so much help in terms of career advice, CV checking and help on how to prepare for certain interviews, and I am still going to some of them for advice now!
Work hard play hard!
It is all about balance: put in the necessary work but don’t forget to enjoy yourself! At the end of the day, university is pretty much a once in a lifetime experience, so don’t get too consumed by the stress of uni work (which at times can be quite intense). I made sure I always set aside time to chill out and have fun, particularly during exam season, as the time away from work allowed me to go back to it with a clearer focus. I’m pretty sure that finding the right work and play balance is the key to having the best time not just at university, but in life itself!