August ,25 2014
So You’re Going to Start University
After receiving my new booklist this morning and realizing the campus will surely be calling my name in about a week or two, I was amazed to realize how it had already been two years since I started university!
It's been an amazing two years and I can remember how thrilled I was to be beginning, with a few nerves because of such a change of course. Although, there were a few things I wish my old high school teachers had told my classmates and I, besides saying that professors in university absolutely don't care about you. Which I can attest to, is not true at all.
So embracing my inner high school teacher, these are the things I wish I had been told in advance that make the university experience so much more enjoyable.
1. Talk to everyone.
Coming from a person who is a cross between introvert and extrovert, I was definitely less comfortable striking up conversations with random people back when I was in high school. Since coming to university, I have seen my level of confidence increase. Everyone is feeling the same way (a little nervous that is) and another first year, especially, will be hoping to make a friend or at least feel like they have someone to talk to when you're separated from your old, comfortable high school mates in the first few days.
2. Balance your schoolwork and your social life.
It seems obvious but half of the fun of university is the social aspect. I have made some amazing friends, and a best friend, which is awesome for going to social events at school, parties, and even for classes. It's always great to have someone you know in a class to keep you company and to give you notes in case you miss a lesson. So don't throw yourself into the library 24/7 and never enjoy a coffee out with some of your friends. Make sure you study, but make sure you socialize! When you get into the feel of university you'll know the perfect balance. Enjoy these years. They're some of the best!
3. Study, but take a breathier.
I have witnessed first hand people with sleep deprived minds trying to get ready to write a three hour examination. Forcibly cramming everything into their minds five seconds before they're supposed to write is not a good idea. I always say that if you don't know it five minutes before the examination, you're not going to know it. Instead of panicking, take those last few minutes to calm down, listen to music (I always listen to 'My Sharona' by the Knack to get me ready to focus. It's kind of my power song, haha), have a drink of water, and just let everything sink in.
4. Embrace your alone time.
Kind of a contradiction after stressing the social life in number two, but it's just as true : ) Whether you are staying on campus or commuting and living at home, there is going to be a great amount of independence coming your way. It's important to feel comfortable and content with the time you have to yourself, whether studying or just listening to music on your way home. It's the 'soul searching' time, as my friend would say, and when I reflect at the end of the day sometimes, you can see how different a person you are (in a good way of course) from the person you used to be when you first started : )
5. Like what you're studying.
Exactly that. University is a world of endless topics and classes and the beauty of it all is that you get to choose what you want to do. No more dreaded high school courses you're forced to take. So don't stick yourself in math courses if you hate math. Make sure what you're doing is what you want to do and then you'll find the program with the right fit. Who wants to get up and know they have to go to classes that they loath?
This goes for non-university goers as well. There are so many options in the world besides university if that is not something you want to pursue. I always wanted to go to university so that's what I chose, but I know for other friend's they chose other things like college, working and apprenticeships. Look at your options and make being happy your number one priority : )
So those are my tips for all the first years out there and even for the returners who are getting ready to study in a couple of weeks. If you're starting university, what are you looking forward to? What are you going to study? If your a returnee, do you agree with any of my tips or have any of your own? I'd love to hear and hope everyone continues enjoying the summer before the school bell tolls again!