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How to make your course as stress-free as possible

Being a first-generation student, I had no idea what to expect of university life. So it was my consistent passion for curiosity and ethical thinking that led me to apply for the Philosophy, Politics and Ethics course at the University of Brighton.

Adjusting to university level study

Going into university, I was startled by how much of my time would be consumed with study. I found this particularly challenging to balance with both paid work and my social life. First year seemed impossible, not because I hated the material I was studying, but simply because I did not know HOW to cope with it. Thankfully, I would argue that first year on my course is a ‘get-to-know’ year, where you are allowed to make mistakes, to learn from them and improve as a critical thinker throughout the course.

Choose modules that interest you

It wasn’t until second year that I started to find my feet. Indeed it helped that I was allowed to choose modules, which satisfied my interests and certainly prompted my dissertation. However, there was the process of learning how to study all over again – a crucial aspect of this is time management and simply remaining calm. From someone that was sheet-thin close to dropping out of university in first year, to being absolutely invested in my course as I started third year, my biggest piece of advice would be that a little bit of work can go a long way.

You’re not expected to know everything!

I learnt throughout my course that while it may seem as though you have an endless list of readings to complete each week, the tutors and lecturers at the University of Brighton are not expecting you to know everything, nor understand everything they are reading. Your tutors want to see you engaging with the texts, which involves questioning, listening, debating, and often being open to new ideas.

If you’re unsure, ask for help

So, if you find yourself struggling to understand a text, ask yourself why and what it is about the text that you cannot understand, and bring these questions to the seminar so that other students can help you. This is something I struggled with in my first year at university. Instead of asking for help in understanding something, I would stay quiet, which seemed like I wasn’t interested in my course, despite this being so far from the truth. I hope this has helped you feel a bit less anxious about term starting up again, and I hope my advice will be of use to you as you continue your studies at the University of Brighton.

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Chloe Bassett • 15th October 2021

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