It’s that time of year again: a new semester at Cardiff University

We'll be at the Fresher's Fairs this Tuesday and Wednesday - come say 'hi'!

By Bethany Griffiths

The doors open on another exciting term here at Cardiff University.

Whether you’re a returning or completely new student starting a new semester at Cardiff today, I think it’s safe to say that none of us saw this coming quite as quickly as it did. It only feels like yesterday that I was sat writing my end-of-semester essays in June, and yet here we are embarking on a new term already!

Despite the arrival of a new year, it’s perfectly normal to feel unprepared and unmotivated (I know I did when starting my second-year last year). Perhaps you’ve left all your summer reading till the last minute? (Been there, done that!) Or perhaps you’re a new student and have absolutely no idea about where to start? From experience I can assure you that the best way to tackle a new year at university is to start as you mean to go on (even if you really don’t want to!).

Last year I often found myself going home to watch Netflix for the rest of the day after an hour’s lecture – with only 9 contact hours, it’s far too tempting. This soon became a habit and by the time I needed to write mid-terms I was so unmotivated and unprepared. However, the best way to tackle this lack of motivation is to nip it in the bud while it’s still early days – leaving it till the week before essay hand-in is not a smart idea (as I know too well).

The start of term means the library is going back to term-time hours, so try and get in there early and plan a decent 9-5 day of work, even if that means re-typing lecture notes or doing a tiny bit of further reading. If you’re in the library and actively working, even if it feels like you’re not doing much, you’re training your brain to get used to a 9-5 day and are gradually going to get used to doing uni work – not to mention that every little bit of extended research really helps!

If you’ve not tackled your university reading lists yet, don’t worry! There’s still time to head to the library and spend a few weeks going through your list and making notes ready for lectures – we all know that the nitty-gritty lectures don’t normally start till at least week 3! The best thing to do is not to panic, for panicking often leads to avoidance.

Moreover, if you’re looking for a way to gain motivation this year, or are looking to make friends, remember to tag along to the Fresher’s Fairs this week! Volunteering with Cardiff University and joining Quench this year has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I find that being a part of a society and volunteering group motivates me to do well in my studies as well, for I have far more responsibilities and thus less excuses to sit around in my pjs all day – not to mention the number of wonderful friends you can make along the way!