What I Wish I’d Known Before Coming to University: A Second Year’s Perspective

Second year Engineering student Miles Balderson talks us through some of the key moments of his University experience and explains how he has since learned from them.

When I first started at John’s, after 18 months of a COVID-affected Sixth Form experience, I did not have any idea of what was coming. However, over the two years I’ve been here, I do feel like I’ve learned some tips

  1. Be spontaneous

Do take opportunities as they come up. When I walked into Epiphany III last year, I was someone who didn’t do too much around College. I randomly decided in the meeting to become one of the SEC Technicians, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been part of the Social Events Committee ever since and often help with tech set up at various events.  It was a similar experience when I applied to be a Freshers’ Representative – I decided to apply on the day the form was due (or possibly even the day after) and I now am one of the Freshers Week Coordinators for the incoming cohort of Freshers.  You don’t know what will happen unless you try!

Fresher Miles ready for Bailey Ball 2021.

2. Commit 100%

It is so important to throw yourself into all activities you do. From just being an SEC Technician, I have gone onto essentially run all the tech in college, including getting paid for this. I would not have reached that if I hadn’t committed lots of time to learning and using the tech. Frepping was the same – I don’t want to work out the amount of time I spent in College that week, but it was certainly a lot.

3. Don’t be a workaholic

Obviously, we are all here to learn, but that is in more ways than just your subject. So make sure that you take time off working, whether that be meeting friends, going out for drinks or just watching some TV. I’m writing this having spent last night on top of a hill just outside Durham trying to watch the Northern Lights with my housemates, and it is so calming taking yourself out of academic stress.

4. Burst the Durham bubble

It is so easy to only spend time in the centre of Durham, when everything is walking distance (and you don’t even need to walk out to Gilesgate to do shopping). But this is a beautiful part of the world, and it is amazing to get out of Durham sometimes. This could be a trip to Newcastle or the Metrocentre for shopping, out to Tynemouth or Seaham for the beach, or even for day trips to places like Edinburgh or York (bonus tip: use TrainSplit for cheaper tickets and SeatFrog to upgrade for first class cheaply).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s