So you just graduated from high school. You got all your exam results and you couldn’t be any happier. Now you’re ready to start that next phase of your academic life – going to the big U. Plus, you got accepted to the university of your dreams. Even your best friend is coming along this journey with you – maybe. Whatever the case may be, you’re starting university this Fall (or next Spring) and you’re totally excited.
But wait, are you ready for the big U? Aren’t you a little anxious too? New school, new faces, new life so to speak. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of other persons’ college/university experience. They probably hyped you up or scared you a little. Not to worry, I’m here to help you survive university in the best way you possibly can. Just remember one thing – your college/university experience is what you make it out to be.
These tips will even help out persons who’ve already been through their first year. Even if you’re in your last year of university, these tips will definitely help you. So let’s jump right in.
1. Speak With Your Professors
You may love them or you may hate them. It doesn’t matter, you’re going to need to be on their good graces regardless. Why? Because you’re going to need someone to give you an awesome recommendation when you’re applying for an internship or a job. Just don’t kiss their derriere though, it’s not a good look. Stay clear of professors that you feel don’t like you. It wouldn’t make sense to try to get on someone’s good graces when they’re not very fond of you. But there’s no harm in trying right? Right.
2. Talk To Your Advisors
If you have no idea which direction you should take in terms of your courses, speak with an advisor. They’re the ones who can truly help you with that. Speak with them every semester so they can guide you on what courses you should take, when you should take them and how to prep for them.
3. Make New Friends
This speaks for itself wouldn’t you think? Make friends with persons in your classes and on your dorm (if you’re living on campus). Making friends with new people allows you “full access” to all the help you may need. Don’t be too needy and remember to help people out too. Just make friends but be careful though, you can’t trust everyone. Sometimes you’ll learn the hard way but never forget about the friends you’ve had since you were in a high school or a child.
4. Get Involved
This is probably the best thing that will ever happen to you. Why? Well, you have a resume to build right? Right. I know you’re probably an introvert and the thought of interacting with other people is totally unnerving. But don’t worry, you’ll get over it. You may never know if you’ll find your next best friend during your club meetings.
Look on it this way, there are so many opportunities (aside from having a pretty resume). It doesn’t hurt to get involved so if you’re an introvert, suck it up, join a club and have fun. You can join a club that is about something that you truly want to do – like a new found hobby (photography, fencing, etc) or a club that is relatively close to your major.
Volunteer, go to seminars, play a sport or two. Do something to get more involved with school, with people, etc. Build your LinkedIn profile. Remember this, networking is an extremely good thing and it will help you in the future.
5. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Now I’m no fashion expert and I’m no stylist either. But, I can tell you this – dress however you want. When you’re at university, no one is going to have the time to assess and judge your outfit. Some persons do it but who cares? It’s your clothes after all. Everyone else is too busy with their assignments, exams and studying all on their minds. Just don’t wear your pyjamas – at least not your good pyjamas. Remember you’re not trying to please people, you’re trying to get your degree in the most comfortable way you possibly can. Go “all out” on special occasions like your birthday, a party, guys/girls night out or just a casual day out.
6. Stay On Top Of Your Assignments
Always start your assignments the day you get it. That way you have more time to yourself and you can focus on other assignments. If it’s a group assignment, gather your group members and start planning and executing what needs to be done. The quicker you start, the less stress you have and the faster you’re done.
7. Manage Your Schedule
If you’re a morning person, set your classes as early as you possibly can. Your earliest class would probably start at 8 in the morning depending on how set your days. Schedule your days so that you have time between classes to get something to eat, have enough time to go to work (if you have a part-time job) and have time to catch a breather. Having an hour between classes is a good thing. It means you have time to do other things aside from what I just said. Be flexible with your schedule just in case you want to add a few extra curricular activities.
8. Rock Your Studies
Finding your study pattern is pretty hard. If you have a spectacular study pattern that works for you, continue doing it. But if you don’t have one, here’s a suggestion. Everytime you read something, make notes. That way, you’re able to remember so much more. Another amazing study tip, after every lecture, read over. You’ll understand everything a whole lot more once you try this. If you like studying in groups, form one with your friends from your class and set dates and times to study.
Pull Off The Ultimate All Nighter
There will be nights where you’re just going to have to stay up until the crack of dawn. I’m sure you’ve tried this in high school but do you think it’s anything like a college all nighter? The best way to pull off an all nighter is to sleep during the day for about four hours (if you can). If that doesn’t work, Red Bull and/or coffee will be your next best friend. I personally prefer Red Bull but hey it’s about you and what you like. Just don’t drink both coffee and Red Bull at the same time. Too much caffeine isn’t good for the human body. Plus it’s very dangerous and can lead to serious medical conditions.
9. Food Is Essential (Obviously!)
Who doesn’t love food? I feel like it’s everyone’s best friend. And if it isn’t your best friend, believe me, it will be. When you’re studying, you’re going to need something to munch on. Have snacks on snacks on snacks prepared. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Also opt for healthier snacks when you’re studying.
If you’re not a breakfast person or if you realize you’re not going to have time in the morning to make breakfast, make a protein shake and add some fruits in it. And no protein shakes aren’t only for persons who go the gym or are athletes. It’s also for persons on the go so get yourself a blender, some fruits, protein powder, milk (or whatever you like as liquid). Don’t feel like making a protein shake? Well Ensure is an amazing substitute. Buy a 6-pack or two, store it in a fridge and have one every morning or anytime you don’t feel like eating.
10. Take Your Vitamins
You’re going to need ENERGY all day long. You’re also going to need to fight off all the sickness that life brings. And by sickness I mean the common cold and the flu. So what’s the best thing to do? Take your vitamins. Stock up on vitamins C and B12, iron and biotin. Why biotin? There may be moments where you realize that your hair starts thinning and receding. Biotin is that vitamin which helps to strengthen and grow and your hair. And if you do get sick and it’s severe, visit your school’s doctor. Take your vitamins once a day, everyday and stay on top of your university game.
11. Living On Campus
Make your dorm room feel like home. Decorate your space however you like. If you plan to hang things on the wall, use a command strip, they peel off easy and they won’t take off the paint. If you’re going to a university outside of your country, buy a flag or something that represents your country. Remember to keep your valuables secured. Even if you’re living in your own room, persons are still able to pick your lock and enter your room so make sure to keep your valuables safe. Your dorm room is your home away from home so make it yours and be comfortable.
Related: My Experience With Living On Campus
12. Be Considerate
Always be considerate of others, especially if you plan to live on campus. Sure, there’s a lot of inconsiderate persons but you don’t want bad blood with anyone. Don’t play your music too loud. Remember, there’s always someone around you studying. Always be mindful of others.
13. Take Advantage Of The Free Stuff
As a university student, you’re offered a lot of “free” amenities (like the gym). So use them because they’ll benefit you in every way possible.
14. “Buy” Textbooks
You can find a lot of your textbooks online in pdf format. Google them, sometimes you may find an edition that’s not the latest one but it doesn’t matter. The information is practically the same. If you do plan to buy your textbooks, buy a used book that’s in extremely good condition. It’s the cheaper and best option for you.
15. Save Money
There may come a time where you’re going to be broke and that’s pretty normal. But to avoid all of that, you need to save money. You’re going to need money when you want to go out for your birthday and other fun activities. So whether you’re working a part-time job or getting money from your parents, save it.
16. Go To Therapy
University can be stressing and if you do have mental health issues, talk to the school’s therapist. It’s best to talk to someone rather than keeping everything bottled up inside. Even if you don’t have mental health issues but you’re stressed out, take time out for yourself and relax. Remember, your mental health is very important and you don’t have to go it alone.
17. Don’t Go Out By Yourself
If you’re going to live on campus, always have company if you’re going out at night. You have to be safe and like they say there’s safety in numbers. However, if you didn’t plan to stay at the library so late and you’re all by yourself (for example), call campus security and ask for an escort to your dorm or car/taxi/Uber (if you don’t live on campus). If you do go out by yourself, just be careful and always be aware of your surroundings. Your safety is important.
18. Have Fun
Go out and have fun. Go to a concert or a party, see a movie, binge watch a series you didn’t get to catch up on. I’m not trying to contradict myself here since I said don’t go out by yourself earlier. But what I do mean is to go out with the friends that you’ve made while at school or your friends from high school. If you’re studying abroad, explore the country or the area where your school is in. Go out or stay in, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re having fun.
I hope these tips will help you along your university journey. Just remember that everyone has a different college/university experience. Don’t use someone’s experience to determine your experience. Your experience is what you make it so enjoy your time as an undergrad, especially your first year. Most importantly, just remember to HAVE FUN!
That’s it for today. If you’ve already been through your first year or university on a whole and you have some tips that I didn’t include, feel free to drop them in the comments below. Also don’t forget to share this post with someone you know that will be starting university pretty soon.
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