Your university life

Here is some information to help you get the most out of your University life.

Taking control of your time can help to reduce anxiety and improve your performance. Listed below are some tips on how to manage your time. Apply these tips not just to academic work but to anything you have to manage.

It may be better not to make lots of changes in one go, small steps in the right direction are more easy to sustain. Don't get downhearted if things don't improve immediately, learning new habits can take time but with patience and perseverance you can improve things.

Think ahead, make a timetable and balance your time effectively

  • Start work as early as possible, it will make you feel more in control
  • Rushing to meet a deadline leads to stress, and your health and other commitments can suffer as a result
  • Identify problems early, giving you time to make appointments with tutors for help, and meet up with other students who might have the same difficulties
  • Plan to hand your work in before it's due
  • Prioritise and organise your study time
  • Break the work down into manageable chunks
  • Identify what time of day is your most effective study time
  • Identify how long you can concentrate effectively
  • Plan time out for yourself and don't feel guilty when you have it
  • Be realistic about what you can achieve
  • If you know you're unable to meet a deadline talk to your tutor as soon as possible

 

There are lots of things to do when you are at University and lots of new people to meet. For many new students this can be a daunting experience.

It can be difficult to leave the security of family and friends. When going to university, students often must leave, or give up, one group (of family and friends) then accommodate and learn about a new group. Whilst this can also be exciting you should be careful not to make decisions too hastily.

Before committing to any one group or trend, take your time getting to know other students, investigating different activities and deciding what makes you feel most comfortable. There are a lot of changes in friendship groups during the first year - this is normal. The university is a large place, take your time and follow these tips and you will find the right friends for you.

Be patient. Some people are lucky and meet their best friend for life on their first day here. But that isn't what happens for most students. Give yourself the chance to get used to university and to meet lots of new people.

Explore new interests:

  • Go to the Freshers' Fair and join the clubs and societies that interest you - they're a great way to meet like minded people. If you don't find a society that matches your interests you can start your own.
  • Go to some of the Welcome and Freshers' events during the first few weeks.
  • Organise a meal in your flat or house to get to know your new flatmates better

Prioritise. No one can do everything. When students narrow their focus they often feel less overwhelmed. Finding a passion is one of the most exciting aspects of the university experience.

If you're struggling to fit in, help is at hand from the Union of Students Advice, the Student Wellbeing Service or the Chaplaincy.

Contact details

For some students finding time to fit course work, paid work, socialising and time for themselves into each day will seem like a challenge.

For others suddenly having lots of time that is not structured by somebody else can make the days apparently stretch ahead with nothing to do.

It is important as a university student that each day has a structure that is manageable for you. Feeling like you have too much to cram into each day can lead to increased anxiety. Feeling like time is drifting by with no purpose can lower your mood and lead to depression.

Planning your time

Managing your time well can help you achieve more, lead a balanced life, reduce stress and overcome procrastination. In order to use your time well you need to plan - without a plan time will slip away and you will not accomplish the things you wanted to.

Plan out all of the things you need to do each week - include some fun things as well as the assessments and paid work that you need to complete. It is important that you have time to relax and enjoy yourself otherwise stress will begin to build and it will affect your academic performance. Divide your list of things to do into two - fixed commitments, such as assignments that must be submitted on time and flexible commitments, those things that could wait until another time. Then allot time during the week to complete these tasks. Use a timetable and be realistic, if you can't fit the tasks into the timetable on paper then they won't fit into the day.

If you're finding yourself getting stuck, it may be that sitting down with a friend, member of the Student Wellbeing Service or counsellor could be helpful.

For example, examining how you spend your time, you may become aware about when you seem to be procrastinating. There are lots of reasons why people put off starting tasks or following through on them. Perfectionism (e.g., the feeling that everything you do must turn out "just right") or fear of failure might be one reason. If you feel this is affecting you, make an appointment to see a counsellor on +44 (0)1332 593000.

The University of Derby takes the security of all students, staff and visitors seriously. In light of recent terror related incidents in the UK, it is our aim to make everybody feel as safe as possible. 

CONTEST and our Protect and Prepare Strategy means we've increased our security measures.

How can you help us keep you safe?

  • All students and staff are required to wear or carry their University ID card (student ID, Unicard) and be ready to produce it on demand.
  • In the absense of an ID card, you may not be able to enter sites or you may experience a delay while we verify your identity. 
  • All access controlled doors should be kept closed at all times - ensure the door closes behind you to prevent any tailgaters and don't hold it open for others. 
  • Keep your bags and belongings with you at all times, leaving them unattended could result in disruption to services if they're considered suspicious. 
  • Always report suspicious people, activity and unattended belongings to Security (security@derby.ac.uk, or 01332 591109). 
  • Be prepared to be reminded about our safety and security.

Our Security Team work around the clock and make regular foot patrols across all our sites, which are also covered by CCTV. If you have any further concerns about your safety on site, please contact Security on 01332 597777 or if you're in immediate danger you should always call 999.

Problem-solving is a technique that needs to be practised and you will improve your skills in this approach by using it. Try to learn from any mistakes and keep practising so that using this approach becomes second nature whenever you face a problem.‌

The worksheet on this page can help you work through any problems or issues that you are currently facing. Don't be tempted to try to deal with every problem at once, complete one sheet for each problem in turn; this will help you more clearly identify what you need to do.

Problem solving worksheet

 

It is not unusual for the university to receive calls from parents raising concerns or making complaints on behalf of children who are studying with us. Unfortunately, because you're an adult and our relationship is with you, we cannot act on these calls.

If you have concerns or are unhappy with something that is happening at university, you must raise these concerns yourself. We're always keen to address any concerns or problems that our students have and you should not feel that you cannot speak to us.

If you don't feel able to raise your concern without support you can find this from the Union of Students Advice. The team is staffed by professional advisers who know the university and its systems very well and can provide excellent advice and assistance.

Here are some tips on raising a concern:

  • Try to identify the most appropriate person to speak to, if you aren't sure who is the most appropriate person your tutor, hall manager, Student Liaison Officer or the Union of Students can help you
  • Write your concern down before speaking to someone. This will help you to be clear on what exactly it is that is causing the concern
  • Have some idea about what you'd like to see happen. It may not be possible but knowing what you want will help the member of staff find an alternative solution
  • Don't make it personal. You may well be angry about something and it is perfectly ok to let the member of staff know this. But sticking to factual things that have gone wrong and how they have affected you, will be more likely to lead to a good outcome
  • Do listen to what the member of staff says to you and repeat it back to them to make sure you have understood them correctly. If you both have the same understanding you are more likely to reach a resolution
  • If you're still unhappy read the university complaints procedure and follow the procedures that it sets out.

Budget planner

There's a great online budget calculator that you can use to help you balance your finances. The budget calculator will show you what money you have coming in (income e.g. student finance, part-time work), and what you’ve got going out (outgoings e.g. accommodation, food, travel, laundry, study costs) and help you see your finances clearly.

Discounts

Whilst you’re studying with us, you can save money on computer equipment and software, including a free download of Microsoft Student Exchange (Office 365). Find out more.

Your Unicard (student ID card which you’ll get when you enrol on-site) can often be used to get many student discounts in places such as shops, cinemas and restaurants. You’ll also be able to get more student savings if you buy an NUS Extra card.

Work while you study

The Student Employment Agency (SEA) has been set up to provide you with the opportunity to have temporary part-time paid jobs while studying and during your holiday periods. It’s a chance for you to gain valuable work experience, enhance your skills and earn extra cash. They offer a range of opportunities, working here at Uni and with external organisations, both small and large. Register here.

Students from outside the UK

Please note to work in the UK you must have a National Insurance number, if you don't have one then you can request one.