Reflections of a fresher!
Upon reflection of my experiences of spending a year studying English Literature and Linguistics at The University of Manchester, I feel that I
have definitely undergone progressive learning that has structured the way that I approach various aspects of my life, such as work, academia, and my personal life.
Academically, my first year at the University of Manchester has definitely provided me with the skills that are needed in order to deeply analyse some of the underlying details of events and happenings in literature that I may have previously missed or read over. My proficiency in engaging with texts critically has become ever stronger as the year proceeded, to a stage where I am now confident in tackling sources from all different eras and time periods across history. One of the main problems that I encountered when transitioning between A-level and undergraduate level was just how independent the learning process becomes; many of the problems that I faced revolved around time management, as it’s no longer the concern of teachers to ensure that work is completed and submitted on time!
I was also lucky enough to obtain a paid part-time job position at the university, which definitely allowed me to enough money to occasionally treat myself. When new students arrive to the institution, it is possible to sign up to be a student ambassador: a job role that requires workers to carry out tasks both within the university campus and within the local area. These range from campus tours and welcome days to school visits and orientation events that are designed to help climatise students to the university setting, whilst also answering any questions that potential visiting students may have about what it study, live, and frequently be around both the institution and the city.
The process of both studying and working for the university has really allowed me to flourish as a person; through my constant engagement with academic staff and with members of the public, I feel that I have become much more confident and poised with regards to the way in which I interact with others on a day-to-day basis, both professionally and personally.
I chose to move into the university’s accommodation, Whitworth Park, for my first year. Around 1200 students lived in these halls, which definitely helped to create a strong student community around our flats. Living out proved to be a great way of making new friends that were from completely different cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles. In my flat alone, there were three international undergraduates studying three completely different courses, giving me the opportunity to learn about what different countries were like.
I can definitely say that my first year of being a student at The University of Manchester has been thoroughly enjoyable. Although the work has been quite difficult, the amount of opportunities that are offered to you are outstanding. Something is always going on, be it professionally or socially, which keeps higher education constantly feeling fresh, lively, and fun! J