How to Effectively Spend your First Year at University
Like many new beginnings, your first year can be both, exciting and confusing. From making adaptations to your personal life to now studying advanced courses, the first few months on campus may feel like a major life transition for you.
You can get the most out of their university experience if you start preparing in advance and planning out how you’d manage different facets of it instead of just letting it make you feel stressed.
Here are certain things you can try to do:
Move out of your comfort zone
Your university would have a variety of clubs, activities, and student groups you could be part of. Act proactively by making sure to participate in them and be open to trying new things. Most universities offer a much wider range of activities than regular high schools, so remember that it is alright if you feel a little overwhelmed by all the new opportunities. Choose an activity you were always interested in rather than just following what your friends and roommates are doing. Signing up for an activity is a great way to expand your social circle, develop new skills, and discover passions that you could eventually pursue further.
Be the first-bencher
You may wish to seclude yourself by choosing to sit in the back seats of your class, especially if you are prone to feeling shy. However, if you choose to sit in front, you may be better able to stay focused. Instead of wasting time by listening to songs through your devices in class, you would be better positioned to remain active and interact more with your professor. This would allow you to maintain your interest, as well as have a good relationship with your professor, which would be especially useful for future recommendations you’d need from him in your career and in attaining research opportunities for yourself.
Working on Campus
Working on campus can be a mutually beneficial situation for you in that you not only earn some pocket money but also get to meet with some of your colleagues and get to know your institution better.
If possible, aim for a position that corresponds to your interests and long-term professional goals. If you think you are capable enough, try to assist your teachers in the courses they are offering by serving as a TA (Teacher’s Assistant).
Stay up to date with your degree requirements
Most universities have a list of course requirements that students must complete to graduate. Make sure you are cognizant of these requirements and are keeping tabs on your progress. If you do not know what you want to major in, start by completing some of the general education requirements so that you can concentrate on taking courses related to your major in your second or third year. Also, get involved in discussions with your peers. Their ideas can really help you in choosing a major.
Make and follow a schedule
As a first-year, you may have a tough time adapting to the composition of college courses. Instead of taking the same class every day, lectures and seminars are usually only held once or twice a week. This sounds like a dream come true, but students cannot spend their extra free time relaxing. Instead, the professor expects you to work independently on larger projects such as term papers and presentations. Track your course work by creating a detailed schedule and tracking the deadlines for each registered class.
The first year of university may seem a little overwhelming, but it is also full of exciting opportunities and new challenges. You make new friends and get to know a lot of new things. Remember to not panic too much- everyone around you is also doing this for the first time!