Hello First Years and welcome to LSS! My name is Helen and I am a Second Year Business and International Relations Student.
Being a Second Year, I understand some of the concerns that come from leaving home and attending university. For most of you, this is probably your first experience of living away from home and, for others who live here in Birmingham, coming to university is still a huge adjustment and nothing that school or college quite prepares you for.
Homesickness is completely normal and should lessen as you get more involved in university life. If things ever become too much, there are excellent student support services on campus. You can access these via the student HUB or you can drop by the Martin Luther King Multi-Faith Centre where there are a variety of chaplains ready to listen with a serving of tea, toast and sympathy.
You may have gotten lost in Main Building a few times, but it will soon become your home away from home. As LSS students, you will probably visit the 7th floor and North Wing a lot so learn how to navigate them effectively. Getting to know the shortcuts helps.
“You are not here by accident. You have purpose and the greatest part of your time here at Aston is the fun you will have discovering the things you never thought you were capable of.”
Forming friendships or acquaintances is an important aspect of university, but do not worry if this has not happened yet as you will make friends. A good piece of advice is to get involved with some of the many clubs and societies here at Aston or you could do what I did and become a student representative. I got to interact quite closely with staff and students and got involved with meetings and projects that helped to shape our learning experiences. This helped a lot in building my confidence and meeting new people. This year I am chairing a society myself, something I would have been too afraid to consider when I started.
Try and remember that this is your opportunity and your responsibility so try not to waste it, either academically or socially. Find a balance, have a social life but take your studies seriously. Contrary to popular belief your First Year does count, but it counts in ways you may not realise. For instance; employers take your First Year grade into account when making placement year decisions. Also, the practices that you start as a student will either help or hinder you throughout your degree so make good choices. Lecturers also really appreciate it when you turn up and are interested because they want you to succeed and take your studies seriously too. It is in your best interest to do your readings, use office hours and talk to your lecturers and accept the help they offer.
Finally, breathe! You are not here by accident. You have purpose and the greatest part of your time here at Aston is the fun you will have discovering the things you never thought you were capable of. All the best for the rest of the year!