University is a new experience. It is different to school and may come across as overwhelming at first. But don’t worry, it gets better when you get hold of things.
Afterall, everything is a learning process. The more we learn, the more we get good at it. From my experience, university is way better than school. I feel like uni is more free, flexible and more interesting.
One of my blogging friends Jess Wen is starting university soon and I thought I give her my university advice relating to the following categories;
- Social Life
- Personal Life
I hope my advice acts as a foundation to your preparation for university. Before I start, I will give you a background about me;
This year, I am going to start my second year at on-campus university. I am doing a business degree, major in management. I travel to uni from home, I do not live on campus. The advice I have for you in this post is based on one year on campus.
High chance of meeting new people: In my university, one year is broken into two semesters. In one semester, there are 14 weeks, excluding exam weeks. Unlike school, you are not stuck with the same people in university. You get to meet a variety of different people every semester for every class. This is a great opportunity to make a lot of friends.
Friendship requires mutual effort: Maintaining a friendship requires ‘mutual effort’, you guys have to find a time to catch up because it is unlikely you will be in the same class. Even if you are doing the same class/unit, there are different times that class is available. I personally recommend to not expect to form strong friendships in the first semester (or even the first year) because to form strong friendships requires time.
Start a conversation with random people: If you are sitting on a desk with people you haven’t met, start a conversation. Not only does this breaks the awkward silence but gives you a opportunity to make new friends. People generally like talking so introduce yourself and ask about them. The more you talk, the more your classes will be interesting and fun. Communication is key.
Extracurricular Activities: Join a few clubs and leadership positions – it will help you learn about the uni, its facilities and meet a variety of people from many disciplines. But not TOO MUCH. It is your first year so make sure commitments are not too many, you need time to study too.
Trust: Don’t trust people too much, especially in terms of study. Some people can be mean and give you misleading information. Confirm it yourself.
Finding the right friends: Find the right crowd of friends – like seriously. Avoid associating with people who drink till 3 am and would not turn up to class because they were too drunk (a real story from my friend). If you want to go far in uni, best to not drink and keep that clean consciousness for studying! Not just that, think about the money you will save! Also, associate with people who actually study and aim high. When you associate with such people, you get motivated to study. Be around people who are higher than you, not people below or equal to you.
You are in control: You are ‘in control’ to what happens to you. Some people change themselves due to peer pressure and some do whatever that suits themselves. You should NOT allow external forces to change you. Things will not happen unless you allow it to happen to you. Whatever you do, take morals, discipline and dignity with you. Don’t discard them because of peer pressure. It is not worth it.
Stress: Experiencing stress is a ‘normal thing’ when you are new to something. Don’t worry, when days go by you will understand how university works and the stress would reduce.
Eating out: Avoid eating food from nearby food outlets because;
- It is expensive
- Unlikely to have healthy food options
Instead, make your own healthy meals. There are plenty of inexpensive healthy food recipes on youtube. You do not want to develop a habit of eating out. Last year in my first semester, I was buying coffee like probably more than twice a week! Best to make your coffee at home and put it in a coffee travel mug.
Exercise: Make exercise a habit and a commitment. Exercise is good for your body and good for the mind! Don’t do it as a chore, but as a hobby. There are plenty of exercise workouts on youtube. Here is my exercise playlist if you are interested.
Meditation: Meditate to improve your mental health to avoid stress, depression and anxiety which are normal things uni students experience
Support Services at University: If you require help e.g. feeling anxious about studying = there are plenty of services out there. You just need to visit your university website and that’s it, all is in it! Help is there, don’t hesitate!
Study habits: If you don’t develop the habit of studying consistently now, you will face challenges big time in the future. Also, listen to your tutor or unit coordinator, they know what they are talking about and what is best for you!
Study groups: Form a study group to motivate you to study but make sure they are committed students. If they are not, stop right there! It will be a waste of time, you cannot afford to waste time!
Identify your Learning style: Understand which learning style works for it and implement it! I’m a visual learner, drawing mind maps allows to me to remember content.
Avoid Procrastination: Don’t procrastinate, it will make things worst! (Trust me, with experience)
Textbooks: Before you buy textbooks, ask the tutor if you really need them because you never know, it may be useless at the end! And wait for one week to go by and you’ll then know if it is essential or not.
Other people’s notes ain’t that useful: Getting your hands on previous students’ notes may not be ‘much benefit’ to you because what they understand and what you understand may be totally different, best to make your own notes.
Note taking: Typing notes is faster but if you are fast at writing notes by hand = awesome because writing notes by hand I think makes you remember content more.
Avoid your phone: Instead of having your phone to check your time when you are studying, buy a desktop clock (which could even be $3 in the dollar store). Having that will minimize distractions because who doesn’t get tempted to check their new social media notifications on their phone?).
Pens: Have that ‘pen’! Find the most comfortable pen to write notes because when the exam hits, you don’t want to get stressed because of a bad pen.
Sharing notes/assessment: Don’t share assessments or notes, modify it to ensure they cannot not ‘use it or submit it’ as their own.
Learning guide/unit outline: Make the subject outline your ‘treasure’ – print it, it has everything you need to know.
Clean study desk regularly to clear your mind: Before you go to sleep, do a ‘Under 5 minute challenge’ desk clean up. It is a pleasant sight to see your desk clean when you wake up in the morning! Avoid putting too much stuff on your desk, may be distracting and take unnecessary space, have what you need.
You reached the end!
I hope you found this post useful and please, let me know how your first day in university went! I wish you all the best for your university journey!
Bye (for now)
Originally Published on the 21st of September, 2017.