As an incoming university first year, you’ve heard a lot of things from a lot of different people. They may sound like, “these are going to be the best years of your life” or “this time will define the rest of your life”. Well, these are 10 things all university first years NEED to hear!
1. Everyone is as lost as you are.
Reading about preparing for university online or hearing about a family member’s experience is always vastly different from arriving on campus and taking it in for yourself. It’s not just a new experience for you, it’s new for thousands of other freshers on your campus. So, don’t feel like you have to have it all together. Get lost in between classes with everyone else and laugh about it.
2. Your professors are not here to fail you.
At least, they don’t want to. So stay after class and make inquiries, email them questions, and post on the class forum. Sure, university is very much ‘sink or swim’, but they throw plenty of life rafts your way, be sure to take advantage of them.
3. Create a budget.
You need this. The broke college student stereotype is something you want to avoid living out if possible. If you’re able to, record what you plan on buying this week or this month and do your best to stick to it.
4. Accept the homesickness.
It happens, it comes in waves, and it’s not a great feeling. Still, don’t ignore it. Call home, Skype with friends, or watch that one movie the family always ends up watching together. Being homesick doesn’t make you a bad college student, it makes you human.
5. Find a routine.
You need a bedtime (that you actually stick to). You need a budget and you need to have some idea of what you’re going to eat this week. Being away from home for the first time leaves you flapping in the wind a bit. That feeling is nice at first, but when it gets old, you’ll be happy to have routine to keep you grounded.
6. Use a planner.
This is something you’ve probably heard before, and it’s also a lifesaver. Keep track of your deadlines, society meetings, and study group sessions. Whether you’re going to buy a physical planner or keep it all on your phone, use it.
7. You’ll make friends, I promise.
Whether you attended a large school or a small school, you were familiar with it and the people there. You’ll meet people, introduce yourself thousands of time in your first week and wonder how you’ll ever have close friends again. Well, exchange numbers in class (and follow up), attend society taster sessions, or plan a night out with your flatmates. You can’t force these things. You’ll make friends, I promise.
8. Learn to study.
I’m not saying that whatever you are doing or were doing before was wrong, but it’s a good time to figure this out for yourself. This is a great idea to carry out in the beginning of the year before exams come around. Try different methods, study in different places, and study with different people. When it comes time for exams, you’ll appreciate this time spent getting to know how your brain works.
9. Take care of yourself.
Eat balanced meals, go to the doctor when needed, and get fresh air. Spending a week in bed and eating nothing but donuts, that doesn’t count. You are a student and you need time to focus and study, kick back and relax, and have the mindset to be able to switch back and forth between the two.
10. Ask yourself what you want from this college experience.
These are going to be the next 3 or 4 years of your life. Go into it with your eyes wide open about what you want from it. A first degree and to finish top of your class? To gain as much work experience as you can? To fully understand where you want to take your future career? Set priorities, have guidelines, and these will carry you through these years.
Do you have any other things university freshman should know?! Share in the comments below!
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I love airport style, The Office (US), and my large family. Pharmacy student at University of Nottingham.