Making new friends at Ayrshire College

May 23, 2022 - Russell Abercrombie

Russell Abercrombie is an HND Travel and Tourism student in his final semester.  He joined the Marketing Team for his work experience placement recently.  Russell shares his tips for starting college.

Welcome to Ayrshire College! Whether you’re just leaving school or returning to education after a break, making new friends could well be one of your biggest worries. Well, don’t panic. The following tips will help put you in the best position to have a whole new group of pals for life!

  1. Talk to Your Classmates – it can be extremely intimidating going into a classroom full of new faces for the first time. But don’t worry. Remember, everyone in that room is there because they have a shared passion for the same subjects as you do. Your lecturer will likely carry out some form of ice-breaking activities on your first day and even though these can seem scary – they are designed to help people find common ground. Take part and you might even find out someone has the same interests as you!
  2. Attend Student Activities – keep an eye on your student email as there are always college events running throughout the academic year. Some classes will hold charity events as part of their course with recent examples being pub quizzes, drag shows and even a burlesque night. So, there’s something for everyone and with students putting these on you’re sure to find plenty of friendly faces.
  3. Hang Around in Public Areas – Bring your laptop down to the refectory to do some homework or head to the Learning Resource Centre and it won’t be very long before you bump into someone else in the same boat. Kilmarnock campus has a coffee shop where you and your new friends can meet up and properly get to know each other.
  4. Engage With the Students Association – the students association, led by Student President Ellie Jamieson, is a great place to get any sort of advice you need. They also have plenty of positions to fill including LGBTQ+ officers; mature student offices; disabled student officers and many more. If you want to make new friends and help other students at the same time, then there’s no better way. To learn more email studentassociation@ayrshire.ac.uk
  5. Be Yourself – this is possibly the most important advice you can get. Don’t stress if your classmates aren’t into the same music as you or haven’t heard of your favourite anime. Our college campuses are full of people with all sorts of loves and interests. If you see someone wearing your favourite band’s hoodie or reading a book you love, then go and say hi – they’ll likely be as happy to make a new friend as you!

Top Tips for blended learning

Blended learning will be a huge part of your journey with us and understanding how to get the best from your at home studies will be crucial in achieving success whilst studying here.

Here are some top tips to help you get the most out of learning from home!

  1. Establish a Routine – you may not have classes every day but try to still get up in the morning as you normally would. Waking up at a regular time and having breakfast or getting fully dressed can work wonders for your productivity and mindset going into a day.
  2. Have a Dedicated Study Area – making sure you have separate areas where you work and relax can be hugely important. It will help you focus more on the work you need to do and also help contain the study stress into one area. If you don’t have the space to do this at home, then the Learning Resource Centre’s (LRC) located within each of our three campuses are ideal spots to spend the day and get any work finished off.
  3. Take Notes During Online Classes – as tempting as it might be to sit off camera and flick through social media – try your best not to. Locking your phone in another room and closing irrelevant web pages will help you focus and take in what’s being taught in the class. If you find your mind wandering, then try taking basic notes throughout – this will help your brain stay focussed.
  4. Don’t Forget Your Free Time! – this one might sound strange, and you may be reading this and thinking “there’s no chance of that happening” but trust me! When a deadline is approaching the temptation to power on through will come but that will be to the detriment of yourself and your work. Make sure you take plenty of breaks, even going outside if you can for some fresh air. This will help your brain breathe and your quality of work will improve. Which leads me on to the next top tip…
  5. Create a Study Plan (and stick to it!) – when you arrive at college and you have a year (or possibly even longer) ahead of you the last thing you’ll be thinking about is this. But if you can create a study plan that works for you then not only will your mental health improve but the standard of your work will too. And what better boost is there than getting a pass first time?! Don’t give up if your first couple of attempts at creating a plan don’t pan out – keep tinkering and you’ll get there eventually. And by the end of the academic year, when reports are piling up, you’ll be the one in your class breezing through.
  6. Eat Well, Sleep Well – this one may be the hardest of them all, but it does play a massive part. Eating light meals and snacks will keep your brain and body ticking over, whilst other less healthy and heavier products can have the opposite effect. How many times have we had a big meal and immediately wanted a nap afterwards?! Sleeping well is also a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy work/life balance at college. 7 or 8 hours a night is the perfect amount of time that your body needs to be at its peak the next day.

Not all of these will work for everyone, and some may need some tweaking to fit in with your own life outside of college. However, if we can all take small steps to improve our work/life balance then we’ll see the benefits in each aspect of our lives.

Enjoy your time with Ayrshire College!

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