Freshers Advice: 7 Tips from Scotland’s Graduates

As the new semester fast approaches and you fair freshers head out into fresh social and academic realms, it’s easy to get carried away with what-ifs at the daunting prospect of this unfamiliar chapter in your life. So to aid your student adventures and those niggling nerves, we spoke to six recent graduates who gave their advice on gleaning the best opportunities at uni, making new pals and carving out the path to success.


Find Your Own Unique Ways to Study

The way I motivate myself to study is by breaking it up into 45 minute chunks, with 15 minutes break. I wouldn’t set an alarm though as you may find you get into the flow of studying and the alarm may break this concentration.

Paul Smith, Zoology graduate from Edinburgh Napier University and Year 4 student at University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies studying a BVM&S.


Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

Learn to speak up, bring up interesting and debatable points, but also learn that there are times and places to keep quiet; nobody likes the person who speaks during lectures so you can’t hear what the lecturer is saying. Learn how to word questions and answers in a way that puts across a constructive and interesting point; don’t just say ‘that’s just what I think’ because it doesn’t really help.

Christie Murphie, Scots Law (LLB) graduate from the University of Aberdeen 2013-2017. About to start a Masters in Human Rights and International Politics at Glasgow Uni.


Focus on Yourself

Uni is about getting to know yourself, and not about jumping into a relationship which might comprise this journey. It’s the perfect time to be wild free and explore your own desires and direction.

Sarah C Runnstrom, Film and Philosophy graduate from University of Glasgow.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There’s no point sweating the small stuff, especially in the first two years. Don’t burn yourself out before it starts to matter! Put time in with your friends, they’ll be life savers when you’re stressed in the last year.

Gayle Plenderleith, Geology and Petroleum Geology graduate from University of Aberdeen.


Make the Most of Your Summers

This is the last time in your life that you will be given a four month summer break so make the most of it. If you have high career ambitions in a particular field I cannot stress enough the benefit of summer internships. If you want to travel and see as much of the world as possible then use these summers to do that – you have 4 months to see every country in LATAM, travel form New York to San Fran on a US road trip, or see SE Asia.

 Isabella Isla Phoebe Lewis, Philosophy and English Literature graduate from University of Glasgow.


It’s Never Too Early to Be Successful

Seize any opportunity for growth, be it attending a youth conference abroad, an internship, a start up, getting involved in an international organisation. Everybody can obtain a degree, but not everyone can prove they’ve gone the extra mile by gaining hands on experience. What truly counts in entry level jobs is not only our analytical skills but also who we’ve worked with and to what degree we have been responsible for certain tasks.

A graduate in International Politics from the United Kingdom, Chiara has passionately and restlessly worked since a very young age with governments,parliaments, organisations and the corporate sector to voice the concerns of young people within society and the marketplace as a high level conference speaker in the fields of women’s leadership, Gen Y issues and education. Chiara has worked with many heads of state and royalties like H.R.H. Prince Charles and Michelle Obama. An award winning activist, she has been interviewed on channels such as CNN and Euronews at the age of 22 and has been a panelist speaker for conferences like the Women’s Forum on Economy and Society, TEDx and the World Innovation Summit for Education, among others. 


Make Connections

Don’t underestimate contacts. Uni is as much about making connections (professional as well as social) as it is about getting a degree. Because often you hear about jobs through people, and in the world of linked in, social media, contacts are essential for arts grads.

Sara Elise, English Lit and French graduate from University of Glasgow. Keen on travel and whimsical musings? Follow Sara’s blog here.


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