How to Prepare For Your First Term of Paramedic Science

The first term can be really exciting and really daunting, but do not worry, everyone is in the same boat. The important parts of the first term are to acquaint yourself with your fellow student paramedics, get settled into uni and university life and to learn the basics. Here is how to do that!

At Home
If you are living at university, normally universities will give you contact details for the people you will be living with so you can have a chat with them before you move in. They also normally try to put you in houses with people who are on a similar course or have common interests to you. There are also normally large group chats which are made by people on the course so that everyone can chat before they meet properly for the first time. Either look for a Freshers Facebook Group for your university or you can look on Paramedic groups on facebook, such as So You Want To Be A Paramedic. If you do not see anyone in there from your university, feel free to post nicely and people will likely comment and talk to you. Remember to include campuses and start dates as these can vary within each uni. Also remember to be careful with what you say on these groups as your lecturers and future employers and managers will be on here.

Now you do not need to go to every freshers event. I was a live at home student for freshers, so I did not go out to any club nights, socials or bar crawls. This may limit how many people you meet in the early days, however very soon the whole cohort with have chances to mix and you will be able to meet new people. If you want to go out and meet people in socials, that is great! I probably would have if I lived at uni, but I was still able to make friends this way.

First Week of Lectures
Turn up to your first lectures and sit with people, especially people sat alone. Some people at uni will know each other because they have come from similar areas or schools, live together or they have found classmates online before you start. There will be people without social media, or not living on campus who do not know anyone. They will be as appreciative as you are for a smile and a hello. You can sit with groups, but it can be a bit a bit more nerve wracking to speak to a whole group rather than just one person

When you are sat at home, think of some questions you can ask people as ice-breakers. What is your name? Where are you from? What did you do before this? Do you live at home or at uni?... Think of a few so once you have said hello, it will not be awkward, and then the conversation will flow. Try and sit with different people and try different people to have lunch with. If you see someone from a group, ask if you can sit with them if you want! They will most likely include you and chat with you, and if they do not or they are rude, that is an easy way to eliminate potentially toxic friends earlier on.

Virtual Learning Environment
All universities will have a form of e-learning environment for your course with lots of relevant information on it. Make sure your account works at least a few days before your course starts! I realised the night before that I did not have my log in details and that there was pre-reading! Luckily enough the pre-reading was not important yet, however it is not great to stress about. Also learn how to use the library website and how to look at textbooks online. This will save you a lot of money as you do not need to buy textbooks and a lot of the time you can also download them, and although not ideal if you prefer paper copies, it is helpful to be able to search for a specific word! If you have pre-reading, have a look at it and make notes. Also, if your lecturers put your lecture slides on here, go ahead and have a look and make notes so it is not too foreign to you when you go into your lecture.

So most of the stuff you will learn at university, the lecturers will not expect you to know or you are likely to have learnt in further education (sixth form, college or access course). That may have been a long time ago so here is where you can help yourself out. Enjoy your time off for uni and you are unlikely to have many breaks like this again, at least not for a while! When you do want to do some work, look up some basic anatomy and physiology of the organ systems. Look at respiratory, circulatory, immune and any other systems that take your fancy. Focus on the real basics and get some quality notes, as all university is about is going back to the basics and building from there, especially when you get stuck. I did my first year with poor basics, and I still struggle to this day with some things. It is natural to not be strong in everything though so do not panic! If you are struggling, make sure you check in with a tutor or lecturer, or you are always welcome to message me for advice.

The first week is really exciting! Make the most of it as it truly does only get harder from here! It is extremely rewarding and very interesting throughout. Make the most of it as three years will go really slowly, but at the end you will feel as though it has flown by!


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