It’s that time of year again!! Orientation week has come and gone and classes have begun for students in a lot of universities! Doe-eyed freshmen are walking into university, clueless about the storm that’s going to hit them in the next four years. Just kidding, it’s gonna be a blast! (Or am I?) Well, for all you freshies, here are some of the things I wish I knew when I was starting out. Allow me to impart my post-graduate wisdom with you.
1. Talk to people.
Spend your free time in your freshman year meeting new people, talking to them and figuring out where you belong. Talk to other freshmen, but don’t isolate yourself from sophomores or upperclassmen. They’ve been here a lot longer than you have, and will most likely be able to answer any questions you have about the campus, classes or perhaps even the best spot to grab pizza on campus! Also connect with your professors. Especially if your campus is small or your department doesn’t have too many students, get to know the professors, set up appointments and ask them questions. It’s not like high school, they won’t bite! And don’t worry if you haven’t figured out which group you belong to and who you want to hang out with for the next four years. You’ll have a diverse group of friends!
2. Make yourself a priority.
This means eating well, sleeping well and giving yourself at least a few hours a week of downtime. Some “me time” never hurt anybody. Whether you decide to spend this time watching Netflix, working out, writing, reading or even just lying around doing nothing. You need some time away from schoolwork, friends and everything else just to allow your head to breathe a little. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for this one. University only gets more stressful with each passing day, so if you don’t get into the habit of setting aside some time for yourself each week, it’ll be really easy for you to get overwhelmed during stressful times of the year.
3. Pick the classes that you want.
Not the classes your friends are going to be in or the ones the upperclassmen told you are to die for. One thing I learned in university was that when it comes to classes, everything is subjective. One person’s favorite professor can be another one’s nightmare. Trust your own judgment. This doesn’t mean you’re never going to end up with a bad class or a bad teacher, but it does mean that you’ll take a class because you’re interested in the content or because you found the professor intriguing. If not, there’s always add/drop week to make a change to your schedule.
4. Manage your time well.
I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before. But how many of us actually do it? From personal experience, it’s really hard to get into a routine one or two years into university if you don’t try to make one from the very start. Ensuring that you have enough time dedicated to each of your projects and assignments as well as plenty for socializing, hanging out and extracurriculars is a lot harder than it sounds. Depending on your course load, you may have to modify your schedule every semester which is fine, but it’s definitely essential to aim for a schedule. All-nighters are a rite of passage for all freshmen, so don’t worry, despite all your attempts at time management and scheduling, you’ll have at least one night of cramming, crying and stuffing your face with junk food.
5. Get involved!
I can’t say this enough. Find the people who enjoy the same things as you and take initiatives. Join a club or a sports team, take up a student job, attend events, start a club! Share your hobby with people who might be interested! Joining and starting clubs/teams is also a great way to network and make new friends! But make sure not to sign up for more than you can handle. You don't want to overwork yourself!
Try to make the most out of your years at university! I promise you, no matter how much you hate it now, you’re probably going to miss it once you graduate. Now that I've scared you a little bit, go forth and conquer, freshmen!
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