So, like every other freshman around me, I went to university this year feeling very lost and disoriented. It almost felt like I didn’t belong there or that there was something wrong with the system. But I decided that I was not going to give up, and asked a few friends that had already gone through the daunting experience to give me some advice when it comes to finding your way during through your first few weeks of college!
#1: Know where your classes are.
So on top of being nervous and anxious, you probably don’t want to be late to your classes (first impressions count!), so you should have an idea of where everything else to avoid any dilemmas. To do so, take some time before your first day, during a gap between classes, or on orientation day, and follow your schedule to see where all your classes are. You can print or screenshot your campus map and schedule and keep them around at all times ( at least for the first few weeks). If you’re still lost at that point, it’s never wrong to ask someone for directions and make a mental note of that!
#2: Don’t just depend on lecture slides.
It depends on your college, but most of them have lectures and tutorials; where lectures have no attendance and tutorials do have attendance and are obligatory to go to. Take my advice, do NOT skip the lectures, why? You may ask. Well, the professor/ lecturer is the one who makes all the exams and quizzes, so it’s most likely that most of the test content will be on what they covered during the lecture. If you have trouble concentrating or multi-tasking by writing note and listening at the same times, you can always record the lecture and listen to it later and write down what’s important.
#3: Always read over what you took.
University is completely different than school, they go at an extremely rapid pace compared to school. If you procrastinate and decide to study just before the exams, trust me, you won’t be able to make it. I’m not telling you to study every day, but just read over the material and notes of what you took that day, so that way, when you are studying for your quizzes, midterms, or finals a bell will ring and you’ll be like, “oh! I remember taking this.”
#4: Having a planner is essential.
Once again, college is very different than school, so it’s not like when teachers would remind you almost every day of assignments and things due and writing them down. Professors write down EVERYTHING in their syllabuses, including very important due dates and deadlines. So make sure that you always have a copy of each of your classes’ syllabuses and read them multiple times. To avoid forgetting everything, your planner will be your best friend. As soon as you get your syllabuses, mark in your planner all the important due dates o that you have an idea when you need to have things done.
#5: TA’s are your new best friends.
Professors usually teach a minimum of 500 students per semester, so aside from their office hours, they usually don’t have time to re explain things or cater to each and every student’s needs; so that’s where the TA’s come to your rescue. In tutorials, there are way less people than in a lecture, and therefore, you have more time to ask and understand everything. TA’s are there to help, so don’t shy away from asking for help when you need it!
#6: Have fun and enjoy it while it lasts!
University is supposed to be the best time of your life; so while studying and excelling is important, enjoying your time and meeting new people is just as important too. I’ve asked a lot of graduating seniors, and most of them said that they wish they could have gone back and let go a bit. So join clubs, go to the annual plays or events, don’t be shy and make new friends, and it’ll all be okay!