Preparing to start University
Adapting to remote learning
My first year as a Law student
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Starting university life can be a really nerve-wracking experience; you will start to think (or more precisely overthink) about how to adapt to this new environment and lifestyle that you have never faced. The process of meeting new friends, joining societies and getting comfortable with the method of teaching are only some of the concerns; the list could be endless! This might be worse for international students.
This experience could not be worse with the current situation, no one knows when the Covid-19 pandemic will end. This has caused people to be extra careful when going anywhere, including universities. All the buildings, rooms and facilities might not be utilised as much as before, as people now go online for everything, including lectures, tutorials, seminars and all other activities. Outsiders would think that this will not be a problem for students as this generation loves spending their time on social media, but it may not be as simple as that.
Being a first-year international student was a really interesting experience. Before starting university, the most important part for me was to be mentally prepared by setting goals that I wanted to achieve; and this can be as simple as to have friends from all over the world! My ultimate goal was to achieve good results, I am a sponsored student so achieving at least a second-upper is vital. Next, I did some emotional preparation, by spending more time with my family, lowering my expectations on things and doing research on how to deal with stress. Of course, preparing basic stuff like clothes, books and cutlery is also important.
The second week of March 2020 was when it all started; all lectures and tutorials went online. The first week of online learning was hard, as I was already back in my hometown in Malaysia. This method of learning was not my cup of tea. With the time difference, it made the learning so much harder. However, with the understanding and support from my lecturers and tutors, remote learning became easier as the weeks went by. In addition, lecturers and tutors were so approachable; you would always get speedy replies from them. For me, the main thing with remote learning is to have a lot of discipline to watch live lectures and tutorials, and where you cannot, make it a point to watch the recordings later on.
My first year was an amazing experience for me as I was involved in quite a few activities and I did several part-time jobs. Being an active member of the Malaysian Society, really helped me feel like I was back home whenever I felt homesick. To give back to the society, I volunteered as a math tutor at a primary school, where I helped a group of underprivileged students. I also volunteered at Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre as a note-taker, in order to nurture my interest in law.