I have been speaking to (and probably annoying) some of you on group chats and hearing your worries about starting university, so to put your mind at ease I am going to tell you everything you need to know!
I’ll get onto the technical stuff in a minute, but the most important thing I have to tell you is not to worry! First year doesn’t count towards your final degree (a phrase I’m sure many of you will be repeating to yourself as you hand in an assignment you finished only minutes before the deadline).
First year is all about settling in and finding out what works for you and what doesn’t. Over the year you will complete assignments that allow you to get comfortable writing critically and to learn what your lecturers want from you. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect on your first go otherwise you wouldn’t need to be at uni. First year is just about finding your feet, so don’t take it too seriously. Have fun, make friends (luckily EngSoc are here to help with these two things) and grab opportunities.
Now, let’s get onto the technical stuff.
Choosing Your Modules
I have seen a lot of people very confused by this, but my main piece of advice is don’t panic! Everything will become clear in time!
As a first year English student (or joint honours) you don’t get a lot of choice in the modules that you do. You do a variety of modules that introduce to you all different types of literature and techniques, so that you can learn what areas interest you the most and what you would like to pursue in second and third year, where all modules are optional.
I am not sure when you will be able to choose your modules but this is all done through the student banner on Sussed (the site for students at Southampton University) and everything is clearly laid out for you. You will be told exactly what modules you have to take, depending on whether you are straight English or joint honours. This process might seem a little confusing at first, but just bare in mind that the system won’t allow you to do it wrong, so don’t panic, you’re not going to ruin your whole degree!
I know that everyone wants to come to university completely prepared and ready for any questions you might be asked, but really, its not necessary. So don’t rush to get ahead on buying books and doing the reading. I know you probably think of lecturers as big, scary academics who are going to slap your wrists for not bringing a pen to class, but actually they are very cool (most of them, anyway, some make questionable fashion choices). They’re not going to yell at you for not having the books in the first week, they were once students so they know that coming to uni is a stressful and very confusing time, so they don’t expect you to have everything sorted. They are there to support you.
One of the scariest things I found when coming to uni was a) how much reading we had to do and b) how expensive all of that reading was. Well, I can’t lie to you, its a lot of reading. Like, a lot. But, you have plenty of spare time because English students have very little contact hours, meaning it is mostly independent study (aka getting drunk often). As for expenses, that is something EngSoc are trying to help with. Although English students have been trying to negotiate some way to make the resources more affordable, there hasn’t been much progress. This year EngSoc have created a facebook page for students to sell their books and in my experience this has been very helpful! I managed to get a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (that’s a lot of plays) for under £10 (I’m sure you all find this just as thrilling as I do).
I guess this whole blog post can be cut down into one phrase: don’t rush. Everything will become clear to you. Remember to keep checking your email as this is how you will be contacted about modules and reading lists. Take it easy and most importantly, enjoy the experience! First year is great!
That’s all for now folks, stay lit!
President: Cassidy Harvard-Davies
Vice President: Daniella Smith
Secretary (and author of this masterpiece): Jenna Ransome
Social Secretary: Lauren Hoven
Events: Grace Hasset
Sports: Anna Roberts
Welfare: Simran Mann