At the end of last semester we asked you to provide some tips for first year students. We had some great responses from across all the sites. Some were highly practical (‘read the books’) while others were more esoteric (‘Pain is temporary, pride is forever‘). In general the tips you provided broke down into broad themes; skills, resources, staff, space and random!
SKILLS: In the skills area, tips covered areas such as reading broadly, researching from week 1, using the reservation system straightaway, and asking if you don’t understand. There were several comments about not leaving your work until the last minute (‘Don’t leave your essays until the last minute’, ‘Give yourself time to do your essays’, ‘Don’t start your work last minute‘). We’ve got some tips on how to improve your study skills on our Teach Yourself webpages. Also if you are struggling, ask your Academic Liaison Librarian for some tips; they are here to help you.
RESOURCES: Resource tips you suggested were also great. These ranged from ‘Use the stacks/shelves & don’t rely on Google Scholar‘ and ‘Read the dissertations to help‘ to the more practical ‘If no books are on the shelves, take a chance and borrow short loan‘. There were several comments about editions (‘Don’t worry if you can’t get the newest edition of a book, the older versions are still really helpful‘), plus lots of suggestions about e-resources (‘Use jstor.org’, ‘Use online databases’, ‘Learn how to use the Library website, don’t leave it till the final year (especially not the dissertation!)). Endnote was also mentioned positively (‘Endnote is a reference manager everyone has for free. Using it saves HOURS and it’s easy to get the hang of.‘). Academic Liaison Librarians provide database training and there are regular Endnote sessions too.
SPACE: Tips about Library space were common (‘Come early’, ‘Use the basement’) as were tips about asking Library staff (‘Ask the librarians for help’,’See your specialist librarian’, ‘The staff are really lovely – if you are stuck or confused just ask for their help!‘).
RANDOM: And finally the random tips provided us with some food for thought! (‘Coffee’, ‘Snacks (but not loud ones!)) and some humour (‘Pugs not drugs‘).
We’ll continue to ask you questions during the year as the comments we get provide a real sense of what works and what doesn’t. Thanks again for the providing us with your thoughts. We’ll use them to help us work out how best to develop our services….