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Returning students: struggles of, and tips for surviving another academic year at Liverpool

Scouse accent – ermm excuse me?

Be it after the summer holidays, a year abroad or even coming back to do your masters; returning to the University of Liverpool takes some getting used to. Here are the typical struggles returning students face and some tips on how to tackle the academic year if you’re not a Liverpool fresher anymore.

Getting used to local life again

You’ve unpacked the 12 boxes and two suitcases your dad crammed into his VW Golf estate, your parents are on their way back home and you’re heading out to stock up on some food and have a nosy around campus to see if anything has changed. You’re at the till in Aldi and you hear the two ladies behind you chatting, but realise you don’t understand the majority of what they’re saying. It’s as if they were speaking a completely different language. Wait, they practically are: Scouse. If you’re not from around the area and you’ve had the pleasure/dissatisfaction of not hearing the accent for a while, you might struggle to understand what the true Scousers say, but don’t worry, give it two weeks and your ears will have re-tuned themselves to understand things like “arl fella” “bevvy” and “scran”, we promise.

Back into "learn-mode"

Your summer holidays were great; no coursework, reading or attending lectures. But now it’s October and uni has started again, I bet you’re wishing you either picked up that summer reading you were expected to do, or actually used your brain for something academic. Switching you brain back to ‘learn-mode’ is a challenge we all face at some point in our lives. Absorbing information and not letting it evaporate is harder than you think, especially after a long(-ish) break. Tip? Ease yourself back in. Don’t try to cram for 8 hours a day in the first few weeks; instead, take regular breaks and keep changing your style of learning. Maybe try learning with friends, this helps consolidate the new material you’ve just be given.

arriva bus stop asda

Not your finest hour in the morning

Dreaded 9am lectures

Let’s not kid ourselves, 9am starts are no-one’s cup of tea. Getting out of bed and to the Electrical Engineering building at that time is a struggle, even if you live 5 minutes away. Especially in Liverpool, where most days, wind and rain will be waiting for you outside. "Why do I have to leave the warmth of my bed?" I hear you say. Well, guessing since you’re a returning student, you actually want to be here and get your degree. Unfortunately, 9am lectures can't just disappear, but we can recommend a few tips to live through them and actually make it in on time. First of all, DO NOT snooze your alarm; "5 more minutes" quickly turns into an hour and before you know it you’ve missed your English Language lecture. Also, if you’re not a morning person, learn to like coffee – it will be your best friend. And lastly, try avoiding going to bed at 3am if you have a 9am the next day. That Netflix episode won’t run away!

Leave freshers’ to the freshers

You’ve just been reunited with your friends after a long summer of not seeing them, what’s the first thing you want to do? Go to The Raz, of course! Having a social life at uni is important; going out is a must, no matter what year you’re in, but now that you’re no longer a fresher, maybe try to reign those party animal tendencies in a little? For most people, a night out means a lie in and a lazy day the next day, curing the hangover. We're not saying don’t go out at all, but maybe just think about your deadlines when you do. If you have a 3000 word essay to write by the end of the week, Level Wednesday is probably not the best option.

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Third years are out of place here

Getting your career cap on

So graduation is looming and you’re being forced to think about life after Liverpool (sad, I know). Career talks, meetings with academic advisers, CV workshops at your fingertips, yet you still have no idea what you want to do. I’ve been putting off thinking about life after my Combined Honours degree because thinking about it is stressful every time, but the resources the Uni of Liverpool provides are aimed exactly at people like us. Sure, there’s help for those students who have graduate job applications to fill out etc. but most of us are on the same page and haven’t got the finest idea what we want "tomorrow" to be like, so use the resources, ask questions and maybe you’ll finally figure out what your degree will be useful for.

Hating the freshers

Anyone else think freshers are the annoying Year sevens of university? Can anyone else spot a fresher in Abercromby Square from a mile away? Hating freshers is probably a very natural stage of anyone’s uni career. Especially if you’ve just started your second year, not being a fresher really hits home – that was you just last year! It’s natural that you feel a little territorial: your ‘baby of the family’ role is being hijacked by newbies. A little jealousy mixed with nostalgia makes you hate them, but have you even spoken to any of them?

Just planning our future

So without further ado, good luck and welcome back!