What’s expected of you

As a student at NUI Galway you are expected to be an engaged, independent learner.

Student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest and passion that you bring to your learning: basically how motivated you are to learn and progress in your education.

Independent learning is when you take responsibility for your own learning. You use your study time to build on what your lecturers and tutors teach you, and set and achieve your own learning goals. See our guide to independent learning for more.

As a university student, you are expected to:

  • Understand the requirements of your course
  • Attend all lectures, tutorials, field trips, laboratory demonstrations, and any other classes for your course
  • Read assigned course readings (see Reading and Research Skills)
  • Think critically (see Critical thinking)
  • Engage with others in your discipline: your classmates as well as staff (see Communication Skills)
  • Complete all of your assignments and exams to the best of your ability (see Assignments and Exams)

You will learn and develop lots of new skills at NUI Galway. We hope that the Academic Skills Hub will contribute in a small way to the development of your academic skills. The advice and guidance offered here is quite general and is designed for all students. However, many of the academic skills that you develop will be discipline- or subject-specific. If in doubt, check in with a lecturer or tutor.

Your mindset

If you can go to as many lectures and tutorials as is humanly possible for you, and if you can start to work on improving your organisational skills, you will be well on the way to success at NUI Galway. But there is one other area of development that can vastly improve your student experience, and this is your ‘mindset’.

Your mindset refers to the set of perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs that you hold about yourself, your capabilities, and your environment. Research has suggested that those who have ‘fixed mindsets’ (that is, who believe that their character and abilities are fixed by nature and cannot be changed, no matter how hard they try) tend to be less successful than those with so-called ‘growth mindsets’ (who believe that they can learn, develop and grow as long as they put enough effort in).

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/butterseite/2658061277

The key message here is: don’t be too quick to write yourself, or your capabilities, off. It’s OK to make mistakes, and it is often through making mistakes, and accepting the critical feedback of others, that we learn and grow. If you are finding things tough, remind yourself that this is a learning opportunity.

If things aren’t working out

If things don’t seem to be going as planned at University of Galway, remember that there is lots of student support available. Ask for help early on and it will be much easier to get back on track again. If you’re not sure how to ask for help, see our email templates in Communication Skills for inspiration or take a look at the Support Wheel to see what support is available to you based on your needs. Remember that it takes most students at least a couple of months to settle in to University life and you are not alone if you feel a bit overwhelmed at the beginning.