Most people (in US mostly) go to college before going off to university. Personally, I don’t have that experience; right after secondary school, I went straight into uni. It wasn’t as overwhelming as I had expected, and in this post I will share with you certain things to avoid to make your experience at the university a much better one.
We all know that going off to University can be rather overwhelming, especially when it’s your first year and more so your first semester. For some of us, it might actually be the first time we’re going to be away from our parents. You basically have to adjust to leading a more independent life, taking responsibility for yourself, facing peer pressure, keeping your grades up and all other hassle you could possibly find in between.
If you’re about to get into the university, I’m guessing a part of you is nervous. Well sit back and relax because you have come to the right place. In this post you will discover the mistakes that I made during my freshman year at the university, which means that if you’re wise (which you most definitely are because I mean you’re here reading this post), you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did. These aren’t just far-fetched pieces of advice from someone who doesn’t understand what you’ll be going through; I’m 16 years old, basically I’ve lived all my life in the 21st century and you and I have most likely had to/will face similar kinds of problems. All that being said, you have come to the right place, take my word for it.
——————————– Let’s get right into it ———————————
TOP TIPS FOR FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
- MAKE CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO SOCIALIZE – I had to make this the first point ’cause I absolutely suck at this (sadly). Give or take, I currently have no actual friends outside of my department (Medicine). This is partly my school’s fault though because Medicine & Law students now have separate hostels as well as separate academic blocks. So you can already imagine that we barely mix. Of course there are the social butterflies, who are blessed with this ability to make friends so easily and who will always have tonnes of friends no matter what happens -and that’s just not me. I know a few people outside Medicine though, but I don’t think I’d call them my friends just YET. No man is an island. We all know we need people and connections to thrive in life; and what better place to make these connections than uni. Try to attend most events they’ll organize for freshers, go to parties and get to meet people. Be nice and helpful and you’ll establish great connections. PS: be careful what kind of parties you do go to though, especially if you’re a girl cause uni is wild sis.
- DON’T RUSH TO JOIN ANY CLUBS OR SOCIETIES – I joined just one club, NCSF (Nile Christian Students Fellowship). I was new and hyped about uni, I really wanted to do something. And then I heard about the fellowship and I joined in. I attend their services on Thursdays and Sundays (most times) and those are great. However, I rushed to join the choir without actually taking time to chill and actually observe how things were done or even make findings at least. I thought to myself “oh I was in the school choir in secondary school, I should definitely join in this, it won’t be any different”. But sis it was different, and I have learned the hard way that not everyone you find in a “fellowship” actually does know what a fellowship is truly about. Honestly, I regret my decision and I’m considering leaving (the choir) by the end of this session. Before you join any club, try to find out about it from people who have been around before you. Don’t be like me and walk into anything blindly (: Also, look up the clubs available at your school on your school’s website to have a rough idea of what exists there beforehand.
• DON’T EAT YOUR LIFE OUT – Yes you heard me, I wish I didn’t eat my life out lol. In my school, you’re provided with breakfast and dinner (for on campus students only). They add the rather OUTRAGEOUS cost to your hostel fees. So my fat ass was like okay sis, we paid for this food so we’re going to eat it to the fullest. Every breakfast and dinner I’d eat way more than I needed because I didn’t want the money paid to be “wasted” (so dumb, I know). Well that got me on my road to FAT GIRL LAND. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying being fat is such a bad thing but sis, I put on so much weight in just three months and I absolutely hated myself. I would never even dare take a full body picture – it was that bad. But in all honesty, I don’t really regret this because it gave me the push I needed to begin my fitness journey. I have been working out and eating healthy consistently for over a month now and I’m definitely seeing great changes. The food was good too so I don’t regret it lol. Try as much as you can to stay healthy. Eat healthy meals and create time to work out (at least three times a week).
• STUDY EVERYDAY – Call me a nerd or whatever, but I wish I did this. Initially, I used to study at the library every evening but you know how it be – after the first week or so, my motivation had died down and I began to find so much more comfort in my bed and YouTube. A week to the start of exam, I was under a lot of pressure trying to cover up the scheme of work for all my courses and that was truly nasty. I’m sure most of y’all can relate too, because most of us have experienced this at least once. Shout out to my study group and my friend Zahra who pushed me to study consistently ’cause if not for them, I’d be in a hot mess by now. Uni is not like secondary school, you have so much more time on your hands to do whatever you want. Honestly, it can be really tempting to while away all the time but try to squeeze in at least 2 hours of study time per day. I promise it’ll pay off eventually and will have your GPA looking fancy. For helpful study tips and techniques, click here.
The university is a great place with lots and lots of opportunities and basically it’s where your life truly begins. Therefore it’s important to set a great foundation; establish good relationships, connect with people, follow your passions and try out a lot of different stuff. It doesn’t matter if you fail – I’d rather try and fail at something than wonder if I would have ever succeeded at it. So you see, take all the chances you can and have fun while at it!
There you have it guys, four things to avoid during your first year at the university. If you’re already in uni, leave me a comment telling me one thing you wish you did differently. And if you aren’t in uni yet, I hope you’ve gained a thing or two (or enjoyed reading this post at least). Thank you for making it to the end of this post. You rock!!
And you mean a lot, Daniella