Apprenticeships 2 min read

A letter to my first-year self: what advice would I give?

Phoebe Walker

Phoebe Walker posted on

My first year as a Degree Apprentice has flown by – I remember the first few weeks so well, from being introduced to the office environment to beginning the first few modules at University. I instantly saw what it would be like to balance work and study.

I’ve really enjoyed my first year and I’ve learnt so much! Looking back, there are so many highlights and things which I’d love to do all over again, but equally, there are some times where I think I could’ve done things differently.

So I’ve put together a list of some of the pieces of advice I think would’ve been really helpful for my first year self:

  • Firstly, don’t be shy! There are so many people at both work and university who are exactly like you, and could become such good friends, so chat to people, especially in your first few weeks. Not to mention, they could also become useful connections in the business world for the future.
  • Ask lots of questions – Everything that you’re learning in both work and University is a whole new experience, so it’s completely normal to not understand. Your tutors and work colleagues will be expecting you to ask questions, so make the most of it.
  • Stay organised – there will inevitably be lots of different aspects to balance across work and university, one of the best ways to manage your time and tasks is to write lists. Breaking everything down and being able to visualise what you have to do makes it much easier – and it’s always really satisfying to tick something off!
  • Start your University projects early – this is a must! 10 weeks may seem like a long time to complete a module, but the time goes so quickly. You don’t want be rushing at the last minute, so putting work in little and often to your projects is a good way.
  • Be disciplined with your study – some evenings after work you may have to come home and watch lectures, complete reading or do some of your coursework. Even though this might not be the most fun, just think it has to be done and it will be worth it for a free weekend!
  • Don’t worry – at times it can be stressful, especially around deadline time. However, you have to remember that everyone who you’re studying with is in the same position, so they’ll understand.
  • Speak to your manager/mentor – it’s good to build up a strong rapport with someone in the workplace who understands working life. This is because if you do start to feel overwhelmed you can flag this with them and they can help manage your workload.
  • Lastly, enjoy! Remember this is such a good opportunity where you’ll learn so much, embrace the challenges and know that the whole experience is helping to develop you and your skills.
A letter to my first-year self: what advice would I give?
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