How to spend your first year at university

By Mazharul Islam

The first year of university can be an exciting and daunting time for students. Some students choose to relax and take first year for granted which I believe shouldn’t be the case.

During my time at university so far, I have seen that some people decide that as first year results don’t go towards their final grade, they don’t allow themselves time to study. People can say, “We’ve still got time”, “We’re young!” or “It doesn’t count anyway” which I believe isn’t the right attitude to have. It’s been challenging to stay motivated when some people have this thought process so I would advise you to be careful of your surroundings and environment so that you can focus on what you want to do.

The second thing, which is more for people who are wanting to do a business-related degree, is that when you have the right mindset for studying, it isn’t hard to get to grips with. There are those who procrastinate by saying “I am not ready” or ‘I don’t have an idea on what I want to do yet’ but by putting in some effort and giving things a go you can really open your mind to what you want to do.

For those who have the opportunity to study in the UK, there is something called spring internship or insight day at all kinds of financial institutions and they are designed for first year students. These are like short internships that last from two days to two weeks with the aim of providing you with an idea of the functions and operations of their businesses and more importantly giving you a chance to get the return offers for the summer internship which is in your second year. So I would advise to apply to those, ASAP! Make sure you get your CVs ready and practice on those online tests (these are what you should do in your summer holiday after completing the IFY qualification) before September. There are multiple benefits of doing that: first, you get to know whether you like or suit the business, if so, congrats, you find out that you are way earlier than most of your peers! If not, then also congrats, you get to know you need to change the direction you’re heading towards earlier than most of your peers too.

Second, you build up your professional networks, in your first year! Even though at the end of day you might not be going to that business, they are still potentially helpful.

Third, the most important one, you get a chance of getting their return offers for the next summer. Why is it so important? Getting the summer internship offers basically means that you have done something right in order for them to ask you back and if you work hard there is a possibility of you winning a place in that firm after you graduate.

If you aren’t sure of what you want now, then that’s perfectly fine but go find out! There are plenty of ways (such as a spring internship for example) for you to decide on the best direction for you. At the end of the day you have a fantastic opportunity which I believe should motivate you to do your very best!


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