Okay, I’m kidding! Quite the opposite actually, it’s pretty damn great. You get to pick your classes, your timings, you walk in when you like and you leave as you please. But take it from someone who’s already here, you’ll need to know a few things:
- It’s really easy to skip classes – don’t.
When nobody is pressuring you to wake up, when nobody is marking attendance or when nobody is going to question you, it’s really easy to pick those extra hours of sleep over going to class. While it’s understandable once in a while, don’t fall into the habit of it. You’re not paying all that money to sleep in. Hell, if you must, go to your class and sleep! But show up. You’ll never know what you could be missing or how important it is.
2. It gets taxing.
You should know beforehand it won’t be a breeze like a lot of people might say it’ll be. Be prepared to put in the work, all-nighters and the very easily grown pile of assignments. While it is much more different than high-school and many (myself included) will say it’s better, remember that better doesn’t necessarily mean easier.
3. Join clubs and societies and take part in extracurricular activities.
Possibly one of my favourite things about university is all the cool things I get to do and be part of. There are more clubs, societies and activities at your fingertips that you’ve ever been exposed to before. It’s nice to be involved in something other than your academics, it’ll be a safe space for you to do or partake in something you love and a nice distraction from your workload.
4. But not too many!
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it and join 15 student groups and apply for 8 executive positions – don’t. Handpick the few that resonate with you, choose the ones you love and have a blast. If you become part of too much, not only will it be exhausting to keep up with, it’ll also suck all the fun out of it! Strike a fair balance and you’ll be just fine.
5. Attend Orientation Week!
Orientation Week was a week I’ll always, always remember! It was long, it was busy but above anything else, it was so much fun! There are loads of events going on from outdoor movie nights and dodgeball to mini-golf and bingo nights, from pancake-making breakfasts and glow in the dark yoga to concerts and club nights – there’s something for everyone! Orientation is the perfect start to university, so no matter how afraid you are of being alone, or how lazy you’re feeling – attend attend attend! Your future university self will thank you.
6. Say hi to the girl sitting next to you in the lounge or the guy in the elevator.
Everyone’s in the same boat as you. Little to no people they already know, a fresh start and many have even come from far, far away – so say hi! Chances are, you’ll strike up an easy conversation that’ll pass the time away and even potentially gain a friend. I’m not sure how often this is said, but people in university are super nice. I’ve met a bunch of people through the most random interactions, and some from the most straightforward interactions of people just coming up to me and talking to me about anything. The sooner you stop worrying about what people will think of you if you approach them, the sooner you’ll find out how easy it is to make friends.
7. Take a break.
It can get too much. It can be overwhelming. It will get exhausting. Take a break! Learn to make time for yourself, remember to take breathers and understand it’s okay to seek help at any point in time that you feel you may need it.
8. Make use of the resources available to you.
There are an abundance of resources available to you, ranging from study spaces and study support to mental health centers and recreational facilities – use them! So many students struggle to get through university and are completely unaware of all the resources available to them that could make their life so much easier! Be sure to make sure you’re well aware and informed about all the services available to you.
9. Find ‘your space’.
Everyone’s got just the right ‘space’ where they thrive. For some, it’s the library, For others, it’s their lounge, and the rest are simply content with the desk in their room! Find out which space works best for you. Knowing where you can focus and actually get work done will help you so much in a time crunch. It’s always nice to know you have a ‘space’ you can go to when you need some quiet-time, want to cross things off your to-do list or get ahead of that assignment that’s been playing on your mind.
10. Stay in touch with people back home.
The time difference might be huge, your schedules might clash or life may simply be getting in the way. The list of obstacles in the way of you staying in touch with friends and family from back home can be massive, and all very valid. However, in the midst of your chaos, it’s nice to have something that reminds you of home. Your friends and family want you to succeed more than anything so they’ll never get in the way of your life but at least in the start, you’re going to have to make a conscious effort to talk to them and find a way to fit them into your daily schedule. It may be hard but it’s definitely not impossible. It’s not worth losing contact with people you made the best memories of your life with just so you can go about your day a little easier. Make the time, they’re worth the effort.