Your biggest questions answered by Middlesex students who’ve been there, done that
What if I choose the wrong A-level or BTEC subjects and don’t know enough when I start my degree?
Don’t panic! I did my A levels in Italy and they work a bit differently over there. I studied Latin, Greek, Philosophy, History, Maths, Physics, History of Art, Italian and English – but nothing to do with journalism, which I study at uni now! I had no problem getting up to speed with the subject when I started my degree, and I never felt behind. The first year of study is usually quite gentle so everyone has time to settle in. If you study relevant subjects at A level, that’s helpful, but for most degrees it won’t hold you back if you don’t.
The industry I want to work in is really competitive. How can I give myself the edge?
Develop unique skills to give your CV a boost. In an industry like mine (I’m an eCommerce Marketing Manager for the Daily Mail and Metro), that could be getting really good with Excel, learning HTML or Photoshop, or becoming fluent in another language. Find out which skills are relevant to your dream job by visiting websites that talk about the subject.
Is there time for fun and study at university?
Of course! My best tip: go to every lecture and every seminar and try your best, you'll only regret it if you don't (and you’ll be wasting your money, too). But also try to join a society, and do sports if you're the sporty kind. I can guarantee you'll make friends.
I already know which degree I want to choose. What now?
Take time to check out the course. Talk to current or previous students if you can and, if possible, talk to people within the industry you’re considering. Try to find a course that appeals both to your head and to your heart.
How do I decide what to study at university? There’s so much choice.
My top tip would be to check out the UCAS list of courses, because when you’re at school you’re simply not aware of the thousands of courses on offer. You’re probably only familiar with a small minority of traditional subjects, so you’ll never know what’s out there until you search for it. It’s also important to attend Open, Taster and Applicant days to get a feel for the course and university. It’s crucial to speak to current students so you can make an informed decision, because they’ll give you honest advice.
What if there are no societies I want to join?
Start your own! I knew halfway through my first year that I wanted to meet more people. I already had good friends from my course, but because the degree kept me so busy I hadn’t had the chance to make as many friends as I’d have liked. So I decided to set up the MDX Nursing Society, with help from the Students’ Union. I met so many new people, both nursing students and other society committee members. It was really fun, and great for the CV too!
Can I meet people from my course before I start?
Yes, take advantage of the groups and forums for new students, as making friends and asking questions about what to expect makes the first days and weeks much less intimidating.
I’m really shy. What if none of my friends go to the same university as me and I don’t meet anybody new?
I was an extremely shy soul before coming to university. But hey, you know what? I took advantage of the fact that no one knew me. It was a chance to make a fresh start, so I went in bold, talking to as many people as I could, and I ended making lots of amazing friends. Meeting people at uni is very easy; everyone’s really friendly and you only have to say hello and you’ll all start taking nonstop! I also made loads of friends through joining the Student Ambassador scheme and joining societies, as we had a common cause. Don’t hide away, just say ‘hi!’.