Welcome to the BEconSc Peer Mentoring Scheme and of course to the University of Manchester. Now youâ€™re probably wondering what a mentoring scheme is? Well, every first year student is assigned a 2nd or 3rd year student to help make the transition to university a lot smoother. They will be there for you to ask any questions you may have about university life or to help you with any problems you may face in your first year away from home. Over the past years students have found this service to be really useful especially in the first few weeks where you will have all manner of questions (and remember no question is too silly). Every peer mentor has been a first year themselves so they know exactly what it feels like to be thrown in at the deep end and they will all be very happy to help you. You will get to meet your mentor at the welcome event on Monday during Welcome Week where they will introduce themselves and you will get to know other people who are on the course. But before that you can learn more about all the mentors in the profiles below.
Profiles Name: Leo Fields Year: 3rd First year I lived in: Richmond Park Favourite module: Econometrics Favourite lecturer: Ralf Becker Favourite place to go out in Manchester: Canal Street If I could give one piece of advice: Make the effort to make friends in the first few weeks both in your halls and on the course as you can meet some amazing people. Name: Seb Turner Year: 2nd Last year I lived in: Private accommodation in Old Trafford Favourite module: Fundamentals of financial reporting Favourite lecturer: Danielle Lyssimachou and Nick Weaver Favourite place to go out: The Curry Mile Interests: I like gadgets, films and playing sport. If I could give one piece of advice: Work hard but have lots of fun at the same time as it will all pay off in the future. Name: Katie Sze Yung Ng Year: 2nd Last year I lived in: Piccadilly Point in the city centre This year I am living in: Ropemaker Court in Rusholme Favourite module: Financial decision making Favourite place to go out in Manchester: The Trafford Centre If I could give one piece of advice: Make an effort to make lots of new friends especially during Welcome Week.
Name: Jessica Idehen Year: 2nd Last year I lived in: Richmond Park in Fallowfield This year: I am living in a house with friends Favourite module: Fundamentals of financial reporting Favourite lecturer: Danielle Lyssimachou Favourite place to go out: Tiger Tiger especially on Wednesdays If I could give one piece of advice: Stay on top of deadlines, make revision notes early on and revise as you go along. It will make your life a lot easier when you have exams. Name: Nikki Mousley Year: 2nd Last year I lived in: Grosvenor Park in the city centre campus This year: I am living in Fallowfield with people I lived with in halls last year Favourite module: Fundamentals of financial reporting Favourite lecturer: Danielle Lyssimachou Favourite place to go out: Tiger Tiger If I could give one piece of advice: It would be to keep on top of work from the start and don’t leave it all to the last minute. Name: Liyana Alsina Year: 3rd First year I lived in: Grosvenor Place in the city centre This year I am living in: Cosmopolitan student homes Favourite module: Applied Economics and Econometrics (second year) Favourite lecturer: Ralf Becker Favourite place to go: Didsbury as it has some really nice restaurants.. If I could give one piece of advice: Have as much fun as you can meeting new friends and doing new activities in your first year as you won’t have as much time in your second year! Name: Funmi Osiyale Year: 2nd Last year: I lived in Tree Court in Owens Park This year: I am living in a house in Fallowfield Favourite module: Fundamentals of financial reporting Favourite lecturer: Danielle Lyssicmachou Favourite place to go out: Tiger Tiger If I could give one piece of advice: Make sure you are on track with you modules from the start so you don’t fall behind. Name: Marcos Vercelli-Forster Year: 3rd
First year: I lived in Oak House but moved to Whitworth Park halfway through the year Favourite module: An introduction to development and Econometrics (second year) Favourite lecturer: Nick Weaver, Ralf Becker and Leonidas Koutsougeras Favourite place to go out: Sankeys and Matt & Phreds If I could give one piece of advice: Go to lectures as it makes revision much easier and youâ€™re paying for them after all.
Name: Anthony Foss Year: 2nd Last year: I lived in Oak House Favourite module: Linear algebra Favourite place to go out: Factory in the city If I could give one piece of advice: Even if lectures get boring keep turning up as it will pay off and always make the effort to talk to new people. Name: Calvin Chu Year: 3rd First year I lived in: Weston Hall This year: I am living in Piccadilly Place Favourite lecture: Mathematical Economics (second year) Favourite lecturer: Alejandro Saporiti If I could give one piece of advice: Make the most of your three years at university as it will fly by. Name: Simon Bou Khalil Year: 3rd First year I lived in: Grosvenor Place Favourite module: Applied Economics If I could give one piece of advice: Take all opportunities presented to you and join at least one society in your time at university. Name: Tomek Stacharski Year: 3rd First year I lived in: Oak House This year: I am living in a house in Fallowfield Favourite module: An introduction to development Favourite lecturer: Nick Weaver If I could give one piece of advice: Keep going to lectures and make the most of all the activities at university like sports and societies.
Now you have met the mentors we shall give you a quick and informal guide to student life at university to help settle those nerves. We also understand that during welcome week you will be overloaded with information so these are just a few hints and tips we wish we were told before we started.
Make an effort to meet new people... Friendships formed at the start of university are often the ones that last for much longer. If you are moving into halls then keep your door to your room open as it will encourage people to come in and say hi. To make an even better first impression put up some pictures or photos which can help get over awkward pauses in the conversation. Also remember that this is the cleanest your room will probably look so enjoy it while it lasts. Another great thing to do around halls is smile and say hello to people. It may sound a bit cheesy but it is a really good way to make friends and often many people are thinking the same thing but are just too shy to say hello first. This only takes a few seconds but can create a lasting impression. Don’t be scared of asking questions... We all know everyone has questions but often hates asking them because they are worried they might look a fool. Well don’t! All you need to remember is that there will be someone else who will have exactly the same question as you. Also if you ask someone a questions they will always be very happy to answer it however, silly you might think it is. Don’t regret not asking questions. This also applies beyond the first few weeks at university. Lecturers and tutors will love you for asking them questions; they often have very long answers to them though! Don’t shy away... Don’t spend the first week hiding away in your room as it is the best time to make friends, join new societies and find activities you might never have thought of trying before. By doing all of this you will make friends a lot easier and discover new things you may never have known existed before. Also at the start of the year people will want to get to know you and that’s when you have to make the most effort. Share and share alike... University halls are where inter-dependence is learnt and is as important as independence. It’s the best way to forge true friendship as everyone realises at some point we are going to need the help of each other. Often it is the little things that make a big difference. Lending pieces of bread, sharing plates and cutlery, offering to do the weekly shopping, sharing daily bus tickets etc... These are some of the things my flatmates and I did during fresher week, which I am grateful for even to this day. Cleaning… So if you’re fortunate enough to have a good cleaner in your halls that’s great – you are truly blessed!! If you treat them with humility and respect they are going to make your life so much easier ... trust me!! Unfortunately if you don’t, then something has to be done about the mouldy cheese and the congealed pizza left over from 3 weeks ago. We recommend you devise a washing rota during fresher’s week. Amazingly
people will stick to it and it really isn’t that difficult if someone chips in a few minutes each day.
Helpful advice about Welcome Week and beyond Make an effort to meet as many people and make as many friends as you can... Many students have found this a lot easier once they expressed an interest in others, either by asking questions or showing genuine appreciation. This should be even easier with fellow BEconSc students as we already have a lot in common. Talk to your student mentors... Your mentors are there to help you and answer any questions you might have about starting university. They are a valuable source of information and will always be happy to answer your questions. If you have a question before you meet with them then you can just drop them an email and they will get back to you. Get a diary... With so much going on, it’s very easy to miss something important. A diary puts things into perspective, and allows you to add what is relevant as they become available. It’s the best way to make sure you’ll never miss anything.
Attend student fairs... This is where you register for sports, societies and other extracurricular activities. It’s an excellent way to increase your employability, develop your transferable skills, and meet lots of new people who share similar interests. With over 100 societies, there’s something out there for everyone. Student fairs is where you can broaden your horizons and open your eyes to things you wouldn’t normally do. Nearly all societies are free during the first few weeks so there’s no harm in giving them a go. If you missed them during fresher week that’s no problem, most welcome new members all year round even if you’re a complete beginner. In fact, most society members are beginners and they usually go by themselves so don’t be afraid if you do the same. Once you’re there, you’ll find yourself chatting away immediately because everyone will share at least one common interest! A word of warning…when you’re rushing about signing for societies; be extra careful of the ones that charge you because the odds are you won’t always attend them all year round. Choose a bank... There are a number of high street banks offering different deals on student accounts. Choose the one that best suits your circumstances. Make a decision on whether you intend to have an overdraft or not, and stick to it. It can be tempting, but fatal to get an overdraft if you’re feeling a bit broke one day and all your mates are going out. Just be sensible and make sure you don’t run out of money. These are some of the questions you might like to ask: What are the overdraft facilities and are they interest free? Are there any charges for going over the limit?
Is there a daily withdrawal limit? Is there a fee for telephone banking? Is there a cash guarantee card and what is the limit? Do they help students plan their budgets? How long after graduation do they allow you to pay back your overdraft? Are there any benefits or perks with the account? Here’s a further tip for the clever but often unknown: Banks don’t like you to go elsewhere, but some people do try to open several bank accounts! If one finds out about the other, they will make you pay the whole overdraft back immediately! Register with the doctor as soon as possible... The best time to do this is early morning just after the surgery opens to avoid the long queues during mid day. It’s important to remember however, even though some halls say you have to sign up to a doctor, if you do you will no longer have one back home, and you will have to re-register in summer to get them back. Many students don’t do this and regret it when they really need a doctor if they become ill. Get into the habit of checking university emails regularly... All the most important information about the course is sent via email. This can be things such as changes in exam formats, exam dates, lecture cancellations, coursework submission deadlines and room changes. The library also sends advanced warning of overdue books, and can save you lots of money in case you forget. This is especially valuable for high demand books that can rack up a fine by the hour! Go to Fallowfied... Unless you have already been or are living there, this is an absolute must. Fallowfield is the undisputed student capital of the North and is a world of student loveliness. All tastes and genres are catered for in a cosy and friendly environment, without being too posh or cheesy. Shop before you buy... We do it all the time, but when it comes to university textbooks our good senses are tossed out of the window. Lecturer recommendations and course reading lists seem to be the unholy bible that contributes to this growing problem. To get around it, use the library, they have all the books there, which gives you a chance to browse through them in detail and choose the one you learn best from before you buy. Sources of cheap books include ebay, academicbooktrade.co.uk, amazon or the numerous notices pinned up by students selling their books around university. There is also the book fair a couple of weeks after welcome week which can be a great place to get cheap books. As you’ve probably guessed already, the cheapest way to get books is through the library. If you’re quick and strategic, you can keep on renewing them, and they are yours, for free. However beware of the scandalous fines which will eat into the last bit of student loan. Whatever you decide do remember you don’t have to get the whole reading list, sometimes just one book (or none for certain courses) is required. The best way to find out is to ask your student mentors, who have probably studied the same courses as you last year!
Ok, so you’ve made friends, settled in and found your way around the campus. There are few things you should do next in order to make sure you do well at university. Studying at university is very different compared to A-levels as it is completely up to you how much teaching you attend. With so much going on, finding the right balance between work and play is never easy. We have dealt with the ‘play’ aspect in our earlier section, now for something to help you get started with work. Also even though your first year doesn’t count the experience is crucial when it comes to the next two years. By working hard this year you will be able to learn a lot more in the coming years as you will be prepared and will know what learning style suits you. Always attend the first and last lectures... Despite what others say it is very difficult to find a student who has attended ALL the lectures (the ones that start at 9am are a killer for most!) If you have to miss some, make sure it’s not the first or the last. Important course documentation regarding assessment, exams are given out in the first lecture, and the last lecture usually involves some good revision. If you miss a lecture… Make sure you get the notes from a friend or print them off from the module website. It’s a lot easier to organise your notes as the course progresses, rather than doing everything at the last minute.
If there’s anything you don’t understand in the lecture… Ask the lecturer, or save questions for the tutor, if they can’t help we recommend asking fellow BEconSc students. Many courses now have Facebook groups set up where students can ask questions so it’s worth having a search on there too. Other students have probably had the same problems and will be able to help to answer your queries. If you can’t understand your notes after a lecture… When this happens it’s usually because students are taking down notes quickly and in a rush without thinking about what they’ve written. We recommend writing down only what you understand using abbreviations, highlighters and trigger phrases to make note taking more of an active exercise. Different strategies work for different people and note taking is an acquired art that takes a lot of practice. Thankfully not being able to understand all your notes is not the end of the world, as the next section shows. If you didn’t manage to take down everything…. Don’t worry. All the lecture notes will be available on the internet. If not you can probably find what is missing in one of the recommended textbooks.
If there are too many textbooks to read, or they’re too detailed… Just select the bits you need to understand the lecture handouts. Almost all of the exam questions are based on it so you don’t need to go into that much detail for most situations. In addition the tutorial questions give you an idea of the level of understanding you should have after reading the textbooks and reviewing your notes. If you are still having difficulties, ask your tutors or lecturers. Whatever you do… Do not miss any tutorials. Apart from providing the key to your revision, the university is ruthless in persecuting those who are brave enough to miss small group teaching! You will get caught, and the only escape is to go to your tutor and explain why you missed a class and try to catch up. Some common student questions: “I’m afraid of asking questions in case I look stupid…” We understand completely. You’re not alone, that’s why many of the tutorials you go to are eerily quiet. Chances are everyone might have the same question as you as well as the same uncertainties about speaking up, so you’ll be doing them a favour by voicing your concerns. No-one’s going to think any less of you for asking what is on their mind. If however, you find speaking up a bit too difficult, please don’t suffer in silence, go to your tutor at the end of the tutorial and they’ll always be happy to help. These might also be the same people who mark your exams and coursework so it’s always a good idea to know what they want in order for you to get that top mark.
“I am a very busy student, I don’t have time to do tutorial questions, what now?” It is always recommended to do all the tutorial questions as they are very similar to the real exam, sometimes your tutorial leaders give you hints in order to help you get good marks. However, if you really are busy it’s still worthwhile to attend the tutorials as you will always learn something by attending them. “Ok, I’ve done the tutorial questions in advance, what now?” The main objective of tutorials is to allow you to use the knowledge you’ve acquired to develop problem solving skills. By doing the tutorial questions in advance, you’re well on your way to a good mark in the exam. To help you do even better, we suggests discussing with your tutorial leaders what you have done. No matter what happens we can guarantee the experience is one you will not forget easily and it is by far the best way to remember something. So now you have a good feel about what it will be like in your first few weeks, but there are a couple of other helpful things you should know. Academic Advisers Academic advisors (also sometimes known as personal tutors) are members of the academic staff who provide academic support for BEconSc students. You will be assigned a tutor during the first few days of term and you will stay with him or her throughout the course. The role of the academic advisor is to:
Discuss issues affecting your performance
Refer you to other support systems in university
Provide references The academic advisor system provides you with an opportunity to establish a long term relationship with a member of the academic staff. They are in the best position to discuss your strengths and weaknesses and offer you advice on how to get the most out of your degree. Some tutors may know of someone who works for a company that you are interested in applying to and may therefore be an invaluable resource when it comes to applying for jobs or internships. To get the most out of the academic advisor system, we recommend seeing your advisor as much as possible during the first year, even if it is just popping in and saying hello. Building a good relationship with your advisor will make it much easier when you approach them for a reference to get that dream job, placement or internship.
Other support systems As mentioned earlier, there are a number of support systems throughout the university that deal with specific problems. Examples include the student service centre, nightline, student counselling. Full details are available in the degree handbook and they are an extremely useful resource. Careers service The careers service (http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/) is set up by the university to help students with their career options, develop their key skills, and encourage them to achieve their ambition. They have been consistently voted the number one career service in the UK by students and employers. Also more companies use it to recruit students on campus than any other UK university. We have used the career service a number of times and cannot stress how amazing it is, some of the things BEconSc students have found useful include:
The career resource centre This is where you can take away information booklets on how to write a winning CV, how to write covering letters, interview techniques and lots more which are ideal for applying for a top job
Advice from career advisers Career advisors can help you with anything from filling in application forms, finding part time jobs, and making speculative applications. They can even check your CV, and conduct mock interviews. But make sure you book mock interviews early as they get filled up very quickly.
Opportunities to meet other companies The career service organise various events throughout the year such as insight courses, career fairs, and company presentations to help you decide
what career is best for you. They can also help you on presentation skills, group work, assessment centres and many more. Popular events (especially those from investment banks and accountancy firms) are always oversubscribed so make sure you book your places early to avoid disappointment. •
Part time employment University is the only place where there are more jobs than there are students so all you have to do to get a job is ask for one. The career service has an extensive database and you can either browse through it yourselves, or sign up to their online vacancy system to receive up to date information in your email. The first year is the best time to develop those transferable skills that companies look for when applying for internships and jobs in the 2nd and 3rd years and there is no better place to start than the careers centre. They have everything and all you need to do is to pay them a visit, in fact many second and third year students as well as graduates have expressed their regret at not having themselves done this sooner. Their advice is: don’t make the same mistake, and get yourself down there as soon as possible.
Student representation Student reps are elected by the BEconSc students during the first semester. Their role is to: Maintain a close liaison between students and the academic and administration staff Actively involve students in the development of the BEconSc programme. A student rep is invited to sit on the undergraduate committee, and the undergraduate staff-student liaison committee. All the most important people who will decide how your degree is run will be present at these meetings and the student rep is responsible for representing the 90 plus students on the course. The student rep has been known to have a considerable influence on the decisions made by the committee, with regards to how the course is run in future years. Acting as a student rep is of great benefit for the individual student as he or she will be in charge of the academic interest of the entire year. It is an excellent opportunity to develop transferable skills to enhance their CV; as well as establishing a good relationship with the course organisers. Extra-curricular activities At university, getting yourself involved in extra-curricular activities is the best way to meet other students, and also to develop those all important transferable skills employers know and love. There are endless possibilities to do something new, or more of what you enjoy and the best way to find out what’s on offer is at the fresher’s fair. To make the experience a bit less hit and miss when you get there, we have broken down the various extra-curricular activities into 2 broad categories:
The Student Union (http://www.umu.man.ac.uk)
The student union is run by students for students and supervises over 100 societies as well as housing one of the most comprehensive advice and information centres in the country. You can get involved in the following way: •
Join one or more of the hundred or so societies The best way to find out which one interests you is to have a quick look at the fresher’s handbook send to you by the student union. A very popular society on our course is MUTIS (Manchester University Trading & Investment Society) which holds regular meetings and gives an insight into the corporate world.
Be a part of the student newspaper or radio You can flex your creative muscle by writing articles for The Mancunion and if you’re really good, make a regular appearance on FUSE FM (http://www.fusefm.co.uk/home/). There is an introductory meeting for new members after you sign up, after that you are never short of opportunities to get your work published and circulated to the tens of thousands of students in Manchester.
Be a volunteer There are countless opportunities to give back to the community, further information is available at ‘http://www.studentaction.org.uk/’. Many BEconSc students took part in the ‘Students in Schools’ programme, Manchester RAG, disability support and many others. Volunteering is the best way to get yourself in a position of responsibility early on in your course, and it is always highly rewarding to contribute towards an initiative which really makes a difference!
Be a part of the university welfare support You can become a member of nightline, or volunteer in the student advice and information centre. Whatever you do you will play a direct role in supporting the tens of thousands of students in Manchester.
For the ambitious, you can run for union elections Each year, there are many democratically elected positions in the student union up for grabs. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get a taste of what is like to be a real politician, and convince the student population that you’re the right person for the job. If you are successful you are truly on your way to becoming one of the most sought after student in Manchester. In addition, the student union is also an advice and information centre that contains literature on a wide range of issues. They also have a variety of professional advisers and trained student officers who provide expertise on welfare and academic matters. Check the union website ‘http://www.umu.man.ac.uk/’ for more information.
The AU (athletic union) A very large and well-established organisation with a national reputation, the University of Manchester Athletics Union offers a number of clubs and encourages competition through BUSA and matches with other Universities. Some of the societies require a lot of dedication but they also offer a lot of enjoyment, benefits
and responsibilities. If you are interested in sport, including Football, Rugby League/Union, Cricket, Judo, Karate, Ski, Squash, Trampoline or even Ten-Pin Bowling, you will find an opportunity to get involved. Wednesday is the infamous AU night, where all the sports teams go out after playing. This night is an institution and is often visited by celebrities.
We think that is all the information you need to know before coming to university and donâ€™t worry if it seems like a lot to take in as you will be told it all again throughout the first few weeks. By that time you will have really found your feet. If you still have questions though you can email Melanie Legge the course coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (Leonidas.email@example.com) and we will be very happy to answer your questions. Finally, good luck and we hope you really enjoy your time at The University of Manchester.
The Peer Mentoring Team.