Starting your course
Once Freshers’ Week is over, and the start of the course is official, try not to overthink whether or not the course will be difficult. That is the first thing my friends and I worried about upon arriving in York. I wish I knew that it was normal to feel some anxiety, especially if you haven’t been introduced to History of Art before, but I can assure you that the pace is just about right.
The campus is beautiful, and has lots of nature, so it will cool down any nerves you may have anyway. Chances are, most people on your course are new to it as well, so you all will be in the same boat! That is really something I wish I knew before coming here.
If History of Art is something you are interested in, you will definitely enjoy the range of modules on offer.
Critical Readings was one of my modules, and I have to admit, I was intimidated by the thought of having to present and analyse literature every seminar. With English not being my first language, I struggled to understand some of the texts. But the tutors have helped me a lot, which I really appreciated. I wish I knew how much help was on offer – I would have worried less.
In fact, the tutors are there for anybody, regardless of if English is your native language or not; so never be afraid to ask for some extra help. They are always happy to lead you in the right direction. You can get so much out of just asking!
Despite being anxious about it at first, it’s become one of my favourite modules.
You get to read pieces and discuss them with the people in your course. I found hearing other people’s ideas and perspectives can teach you so much and give you a deeper understanding.
Virtual Learning Environment
In this course, you’ll also get to learn about a lot of historic art pieces, as expected. If you’re worried that the lectures might be a bit overwhelming (I was), don’t stress! Some are even recorded and posted on the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). It is so incredibly useful!
You get to upload your assessments there, so you know they’re safe, and any important notifications will appear on the VLE as well. It includes your readings for the term and everything is neatly organised by week, so it’s easily accessible too. You will be taught all about it at the beginning of your course but if you like to be prepared, you can find out more about it here.
If you pick the Art of Describing as one of your modules, you’ll get to visit galleries and museums in York. But even if you’ve picked to study a language module instead, I highly encourage you to visit them yourself!
Other things I wish I knew about
York has such an interesting history, and you can tell that just by walking down the streets of the city centre. It has a lot to offer in terms of museums, so don’t miss out.
Don’t forget to bring your student ID with you, though – a lot of places offer student discounts! However, some do require a booking slot, so please keep that in mind before you go to visit.
Student life may seem overwhelming or intimidating at first, but keep in mind
that all of the freshers feel exactly the same way – so know that you’re not alone.
What has helped me quite a lot is partnering up with someone who has more experience through the University’s Student Buddy scheme. If you are not eligible, don’t worry. York has over 200 societies that you can potentially join, so there is something for everybody! There is basically a society for everything, and there are always students there you can connect with.
Lastly, the most important piece of advice that I wish I knew before starting university is that you should take it easy! My only regret is stressing over what might happen, so much that I missed out on some great social activities during my first few weeks. So loosen up and enjoy your undergraduate years! With a good schedule, you will always have the time for both studying and going out.