Skip to Main Content

Don't panic: guide to being a QMU student: Starting at QMU

The The Guide to Being a QMU Student by Ellie Pullar & Bianca Petrone

Starting at QMU

Fresh starts are always exciting, terrified and will probably present some anxiety here and there, after all anxiety and excitement result from the same nervous system. Perhaps you might be likely to feel a frisson! Fun times!

Now everyone will tell you that first and second year are easy, and you shouldn’t worry about them. However, the first two years are there to teach you how to be a uni student, how to research and how to really manage your time. The true reality is that you could know all the notions of a subject that you know simply because you have an interested towards it but if you are not able to place these concepts on a piece of paper in the time required, then there is a bit more work to be done.

Starting university can be overwhelming, so much is happening, everyone would like to be the coolest kid in the group, everyone is meeting everyone, and love stories are already blooming in a blink of an eye. Try your best to strike some kind of balance between university, work, social life, your mental health and taking care of yourself.

The first couple of months are busy and there’s always a lot of things happening at once, but it’s so important that you’re taken care of if you want to perform at your best. We all have fomo at the beginning and from time to time you might want to party more than your body can handle, do your best to have a balance. Find yourself TWO good friends, someone in your course and someone who is not in your course. Keep yourself accountable, do fun things together outside of Uni! It is hard but you can do hard things!


If you are someone like me who is coming back to uni after being out in the world, it can be challenging at times. Everyone is a bit younger and a little more experienced on things that you had no clue were even things, humble yourself, remember that everyone is in their own time. Some people gain a degree at the age of 21, just to take 3 gap years. Some do the opposite. You are in your own time, and you are doing great! (But keep up the good work!).

I know. You do not want to hear this but let me tell you: Treat university like a job as much as you can. Schedule designated time each day or week to study and handle uni related emails, etc. It helps to have some separation from work and your personal life, rather than everything overlapping all the time. Prioritise your free time, schedule time to do things that fuel your tank. Remember studying is meant to be enjoyable. Are you more productive in the afternoon? Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you work better when you are under pressure? Create ‘fake’ deadlines for yourself! Make it fun with your mates, you will be surprised how many people around you, work only under pressure. Pressure yourself to finish the work 24 hours before. Get or lose a Pizza if you don’t, the loser pays!


Unlike Bianca, I came into QMU as a direct entrant from college, so I missed the first two years of adjusting to uni life and was thrown straight into doing the work. It was extremely stressful and hard to adjust to the new way of working as college is more practical, you have more interaction with lecturers compared to uni which is very independent. The first few weeks were hard as you are expected to be at the same level as others who had been there since first year but you have no idea what they were expecting from you. Everyone already had their friend groups, and it was hard to integrate into already formed groups at such a late stage. But it gets easier once I made a few friends it was nice to see everyone was in the same boat.