What advice would you give to a new student arriving at Swansea or what do you wish you had known?

We asked our alumni those very questions.

You gave us some brilliant advice, lots of useful hints and tips on how to make friends and get the most out of your time with us, as well as a few truly priceless pearls of wisdom!

Here are some of the best:

  • Grasp every opportunity, you will never get this time again - Linda, Class of 2008
  • Get to know not just the people in your flat but surrounding flats and attend all the big events you can. I didn't know about varsity in my first year and missed out. Was gutted when I realised it was the biggest event in the calendar! I competed every year in it afterwards! - Emily, Class of 2012
  • I wish I'd known how fast the 3 years would shoot by and to savour every moment. Visit the beach as often as you can for late night barbecues and enjoy every single second of it. It flies by so quickly. Swansea is the most beautiful and amazing place and coming here completely changed my life. Be prepared to fall in love with the city and never want to leave. - Sue, Class of 1984
  • Life unfolds in proportion to your courage. - Stephen, Class of 1985
  • The library offers a range of workshops to help you develop academic skills. The library staff are very friendly and approachable. Singleton Library might seem like a confusing maze, but the staff will point you in the right direction. - Peter, Class of 2019

"You got this. And if all else fails? Go to the beach"

Students on the beach
  • If it's sunny and you're not in a lecture? Head to the beach! Need to clear your head? Head to the beach. Feeling homesick? Stroll along the beach. Hungover? Jog on the beach! Revising? Sit by the beach. At the beginning, Uni might feel overwhelming. You might think you'll never get through it and wish you were at home where everything is familiar. You'll wonder how on earth you'll manage to start afresh and make new friends. How you'll manage to cook for yourself. What you'll do if something breaks. You might feel very far from home. But you will get through it and, let me promise you, it will be one of the best experiences of your life. You'll go in as one person - fresh faced and wide eyed - and come out with life skills, memories galore and friends for life. Not to mention a degree from what I think is the best Uni in the world. What could be better? Stick it out. Say yes to (almost) every adventure. Go out with your new housemates even when you just want to stay in and call home. Always make sure you have 8p noodles in the house. Always buy fancy dress when it's on sale. You got this. And if all else fails? Go to the beach. - Jacqui, Class of 2007
  • Try and keep up to date with all the work, I'd recommend treating it like a school week, making notes, doing assessments on weekdays, and leaving the weekends for free time to prevent burnout...and more time for the assignments if needed. Although, a lot easier said than done. - Charlotte, Class of 2021

"You will always find sand in your clothes, even if you haven't been to the beach that day"

  • Treat everyone with respect. If someone makes you angry, stay calm to try and resolve it, rather than escalate it. Watch what you write on social media regarding things like this. - Gareth, Class of 2015
  • Take care of yourself. Mental health issues cast a huge shadow over my third year and ultimately, I walked away with a lower grade than I wanted as a result of it. My biggest regret is that I didn't try and get help sooner. Open up to your friends, talk about your problems, use the university's wellbeing services, eat well, sleep properly, keep active.
    Enjoy it - it's going to be fantastic. - Georgia, Class of 2013
  • I wish I had known the breadth of opportunities available to me at university! It's hard to find time to volunteer and take opportunities when you're employed. University is a perfect time to try things and work out what you do and don't want to do later in life. - Oliver, Class of 2017
  • Get a bus pass! There are so many places to see and go, and a bus pass unlocks rapid travel between campuses. - Alex, Class of 2019
  • Don't be too hard on yourself! I wish I was told this after spending way too long being very self-conscious about everything. Give yourself a break! - David, Class of 2016

"Get a bus pass! There are so many places to see and go, and a bus pass unlocks rapid travel between campuses"

Student on the bus
  • You're all in the same boat and away from home probably for the first time, so people will really appreciate it if you go knock on a door and say hi. Even if it's to stress together about trying to join the Wi-Fi or complaining about the pandemic, people will appreciate that effort! If all else fails, snacks are the way to about 95% of people's hearts. - Emma, Class of 2013
  • Say yes! And embrace stepping out of your comfort zone. There is an abundance of opportunities available at Swansea. I know a lot of people who had the option to study abroad (even if they weren’t doing a language degree) and regret not having seized the opportunity when they had the chance. If you don’t want to be out of the country for a year, then there are shorter, summer placements available too. I don’t think many people know about this - I’d suggest stopping by the International Office sometime to see what they have on offer! - Cara, Class of 2016
  • Slow and steady wins the race - applies to studying and partying. Those still standing at the end get to see sun rises on the beach! Definitely a must when at Swansea Uni! - Kate  
  • It may be boring but write little summary notes after every lecture, you'll be happy you did when it comes to revising for exams! - Lauren, current student
  • It rains a lot, so embrace it rather than fight against it. - Gareth, Class of 1996
  • It's ok to take chances and to fail along the way. Learning from our mistakes is what helps us learn and grow. Stay adaptable to change and don't be held back by your self-limiting beliefs. You can do it! - Angela, Class of 1999

"Say yes! And embrace stepping out of your comfort zone"

  • Swansea University, and Swansea as a whole, are incredibly welcoming places, towards people of all cultures and backgrounds. The university and city are very diverse and wonderful places to live (either on campus or in local housing); everyone can find a home at Swansea! Attend Freshers Fayre to see all of the fantastic sports clubs and societies that are on offer; sports from hockey to quidditch, and societies from law to my little pony - there is something for everyone! Set up an excel spreadsheet for budgeting - work out how much money you'll have from any maintenance grants or bursaries you have received for your studies and divide this by the number of weeks that you will be at university. This will help you to work out how much you should roughly be spending per week and will help you to calculate if you are spending too much on any of your social activities (such as nights out, eating out, or sports and societies). - William, Class of 2013
  • Never underestimate the power of learning from your peers. Fellow students aren't your competition, so put that worry out of your head - being generous with knowledge and supporting each other not only helps you learn smarter, but means you form some of the most solid friendships of your life. Learning is better when you're in it together. - Natalie, Class of 2013
  • In order to preserve your health, your future, and your grades, do seek help. No one is here to judge you. You are not supposed to be flawless. - Petra, Class of 2016
  • Although Swansea University is well grounded on the academic side and of course that is your number one priority for leaving your country and coming down in the first place, there is more to live at uni than just academics. At Swansea university, you have the opportunity to dissolve, revolve, evolve. You will be studying with some of the brightest minds from across the globe and also some of the most connected community. This will be your opportunity to break out of your shell and become who you are meant to be. - Michael, Class of 2017

"This will be your opportunity to break out of your shell and become who you are meant to be"

  • Arguments with housemates will happen but that’s OK. Just don’t prank them with Vicks in the shower gel! - Ross
  • Get involved with the local community, Volunteer, talk to your neighbours if you live off campus, visit parts of the city away from the student haunts. Don't just live in the student bubble and you will have a far more enriching time at the best University in the world! - Adrian, Class of 1991
  • Respect everyone - other students (from whatever backgrounds and countries they come from) and the local Swansea residents with whom you will mix. - Tim, Class of 1997
  • You get out what you put in. This goes for academic and extra-curricular. Stay connected with your course, professors, tutors. Join clubs and make connections, find and join the extra schemes offered by the uni. The uni experience is what you make of it. - Scott
  • There are lots of local social media groups. If you have a particular hobby or lifestyle choice there’s probably a group to join. E.g., there is a very active Swansea vegan group on Facebook who share information on events, restaurants, takeaways and shops. - Natasha, Class of 2015
  • Get a presenting gig on Xtreme radio. It'll help improve your public speaking, and you can absolutely utilise it in later life. Study hard, but do what you want to do when you want to do it. Oh, and whatever you do, when you get your AU card (if that's still a thing) make sure your photo isn't a topless one. You'll look back and realise you looked ridiculous. - Joe, Class of 2010
  • Firstly, everyone feels just as nervous as you about starting uni. It is such a big life move and change and can be really unsettling but it will no doubt be one of the best times of your life - so relax, get settled and enjoy the journey. Secondly, the lecturers are legends in their field, take the time to talk to them and ask Q's. The more proactive you are, the more you will get from the experience. Enjoy and take care! P.S. Hit up Sin City - Sophie, Class of 2016
  • Stay in a hall of residence! You have the rest of your life to live in a house but probably won't live in a community of similar aged people until you are in a care home! - Cara, Class of 1981

"The lecturers are legends in their field, take the time to talk to them and ask Q's. The more proactive you are, the more you will get from the experience"

Lecturer helping students
  • Swansea is a place that feels like home almost instantly. Go everywhere and try everything. Swansea won't let you down! It's a city of incredible history and culture. The best way to discover it, and become a part of it, is to experience it. - Becky, Class of 2015
  • I would highly recommend doing a year in industry! I gained loads of experience which helped me in getting a graduate job and was much more confident when starting the job. - Chloe, Class of 2020
  • Make use of your Personal Academic Mentor (PAM), they are there to support you through issues related to your course and personal matters. I developed a great relationship with my PAM, and she really helped me through some of my toughest times at university. Draw up a work plan from the start of your course. Planning out your study time will really help you to keep on top of assignments and make sure that you don’t get too stressed out around deadlines. Plus, it will help you to build in breaks into your work schedule to make sure that you have plenty of spare time to hang out with friends and make the most of the many other things that the university and city has to offer. - Katie, Class of 2021
  • Never look at your feet except to cut your toenails. Let the party come to you. Play guitar a lot. Study what excites you and what you love. Leave the rest. - Keith, Class of 1972
  • Pack the essentials last! After a long drive, you'll need loo roll, hand soap and a hand towel at the top of your packing box/bag. A mug and some tea bags as the next item down are also a good to have to hand. - Helen, Class of 2011

"Swansea won't let you down! It's a city of incredible history and culture"