Preparing for University

It’s scary, but university is just around the corner… the last hurdle is sitting those all important A-level exams, and before you know it, you’ll be at York!

I imagine this is what a lot of you are feeling like…

…For me, this is where the panic started to sink in. I began searching every student forum imaginable for information about how to prepare for university! Luckily for you, I’m going to summarise what you need to know in order to prepare for university in this lovely little blog post. Hopefully, it’ll calm your nerves a bit and you won’t be the overly-stressed out, panicking A-level student that I was.

Course Preparation

Archaeology, unlike a number of other degree courses, accommodates people coming from a variety of academic backgrounds – whether you’ve studied all humanities or all science based A-levels, the first year is tailored to give everyone a good foundation in Archaeology. However, if you want a bit of comfort about what to expect, here’s a list of some good introductory texts that you can read before starting the course:

  1.  Archaeology: An IntroductionGreene, K. and Moore, T. (2010) – This is a great insight into the variety of methods used in archaeology and is a key text for the ‘Accessing Archaeology’ module. If you don’t fancy buying the hard-copy, the University library has this as an electronic resource, so as soon as you get your log-in details, you’ll be able to access it online!
  2. Archaeology: A Very Short IntroductionBahn, P. and Tidy, B (2000) – This is such a great little read, and is cheap too! This is particularly useful for those of you who might not have studied archaeology before.
  3. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and PracticeRenfrew, C. and Bahn, P. (2008) – A bit more in-depth about methodology and theories employed by archaeologists.

If you don’t fancy buying (or reading) a whole book, try magazines such as Current Archaeology and British Archaeology to get information about recent excavations. Also, have a look at the Archaeology Data Service which is the largest digital repository of archaeological information in Europe, and is housed within our department!

Essentials for University Living

You’ll be moving out from home too, so it’s useful to start thinking about what you’ll need once you get to university!Image result for moving to uni gif

I’m sure the majority of you will be aware of the basics you’ll need (i.e. bedding, kitchen items.) but here’s a few items you might not have thought of – and some that you’ll need for studying archaeology!

  1.  Your very own archaeologist trowel – an essential for any archaeology student! Although this isn’t required until your excavation in the summer term, it’s good to have one before you come to university, mostly because your parents can buy it for you!
  2. Waterproofs and sensible footwear – in your first term, you’ll have the chance to go on some field trips, and as the Yorkshire weather is rather predictable in Autumn, it’s likely to rain!
  3. A brick phone – now, I know what you’re thinking ‘why would I want a really cheap phone at uni, when I’ve already got my super-expensive iPhone?’… because you’ll most likely be going out a lot during your first week of university, and (unfortunately) thefts or simply losing phones happens quite frequently. If you have a cheap brick phone out with you, the battery will last forever so you’ll still be able to call for a taxi at the end of the night, and if you lose it – it won’t be the end of the world!
  4. A folder, and a lot of stationery – think about how many notes you’ve made during your A-levels, now consider the length of lectures at university, you’re going to want to make a lot of notes! The folder will help to keep them nice and ordered, so you can review them once it comes to revising for January exams.
  5. Travel mug – perfect for that wake-up coffee in the morning before you have to dash off to a lecture, and if  you want to get a hot drink from the King’s Manor refectory, they’ll refill it for a discounted price!
  6. Some form of fancy dress – there will be themed socials, it’s inevitable at uni! So bring a few items that you can re-use to make various forms of fancy dress, to cover your back and save you from having to buy expensive costumes!

Most importantly…

Don’t forget to apply for Student Finance and accommodation! It’s tempting to leave it to the last minute, but if there are any issues with your application, you don’t want to be left without money – especially at the start of first year. If you haven’t already – get it done now, and it’ll take a huge weight of your mind.

Hopefully this has helped you out with preparing for uni! Check out the other blog posts on student voices too, and read my previous blogs (if you haven’t already) to familiarise yourself with what student life is like. Just remember, everyone will be in the same boat as you once you get to university, and there’s a load of support available here to help you out – so don’t worry!

Good luck for your exams, I’m sure you’ll do great, and I’ll hopefully see you around the department in September/October! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

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I'm currently a third year archaeology student at the University of York. I'm a member of several committees, such as the Archaeology society and RAG and I enjoy involving myself in the amazing events these societies put on! As an archaeology student, I also enjoy immersing myself in the incredible history within York.