I nearly failed first year: an interview with someone who’s been through it

“First year doesn’t count”, everyone says. But you have to pass – and what if you don’t? Here’s an interview with someone who nearly failed first year…

What happened, exactly?

Well, I didn’t try at all in first year. I passed most of my modules, even did well in one or two, but I need to pass them all, and unfortunately, I failed a handful. I needed to come back and resit.

How did you feel when you realised the situation you were in?

Pretty awful – I mean, everyone has that kind of ‘first year doesn’t count!’ mentality, but all of my friends had managed to avoid failing. I felt really stupid, to be honest – I just kept thinking, why has this only happened to me? I even considered dropping out, albeit briefly. I didn’t feel clever enough to be at uni – but I took a step back and realised I was clever enough, I’d just prioritised drinking over lectures a bit too much.

Where did you go from there?

Well, once I found out that I needed to resit some exams just to stay in uni, I panicked a bit, but then I got my head down. I came back to uni early in August, and my house was empty as no one else was back yet. I had no choice but to revise in that environment. I worked solidly, seeing as I was basically teaching myself whole modules.

Was it hard?

Incredibly hard. Harder than revising for A Levels. I was learning from scratch!

How did you feel on resit day?

By then, I’d prepared. I’d done all I could. I wasn’t confident, but I wasn’t nervous either. I just thought I’d do my best, but the pressure was certainly on, knowing that I’d be kicked out of uni if I didn’t pass. That sort of motivated me though – I wouldn’t have known what to do if I’d actually been kicked out. I’d already signed for a house, picked my new modules, paid £9k for my first year… it was too much to waste.

How did you find out you’d passed?

I got an email with my results as usual. I felt sick opening them – but I’d passed! In one exam I’d done surprisingly well and in the other, I’d done okay – but I’d passed, and that was the important thing.

Any advice for freshers now?

Have fun – I had oodles in my first year. But make sure you pass. First year doesn’t count, yeah, but you need to get into a good work ethic immediately, and you need to pass! It’s about finding a balance – just don’t go crazy. Something I’d tell my first year self

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