Whether you’re moving to a new country or staying in your hometown, starting university is a big step for everyone. First off, congratulations on your successful admission into university! This could be the first step to getting your dream job, or just figuring yourself out and realizing what you actually are passionate about. That being said, here are a few tips that I think will make your journey just a tiny bit less scary:
1. Everyone wants to be your friend
The thing about university is that everyone’s going through the same mess of emotions. Most colleges/universities host events to break the ice for new students, so it would be wise to take advantage of those. Here’s the thing: you are going to make friends in your dorm, in the cafeteria, in class, and just about everywhere you go in your first year of university. It’s all designed to get people to interact with each other. This is even reflected in your courses which are specifically designed to push people into working in groups and meeting each other. Professors will often assign group assignment or projects and they’ll push for students to discuss topics in class. So don’t be afraid or shy! Jump onto the opportunity and truly make the best of it.
2. Professors that take on first year courses are super nice, understanding, and sociable. Take advantage of that!
Professors are often more than happy to get close to some students and help guide them through their journey. Striking up a conversation with your professor can be easy but here are some other things you can do to make your professor remember you. Start by introducing yourself and shaking their hand. This shows that you have a level of respect for them. I’ve sat in first year courses where students flat out cut off professors and disrespected them infront of 300 other students. Granted this professor was nice and didn’t wipe the floor with the kid’s dignity but that’s another topic. Students are so disrespectful that in almost every class of mine, professors often warn us against addressing them in a wrong manner in emails, so be aware. Another tip would be to visit them in their office hours and ask them questions about their course. Professors LOVE talking about their research. Try asking them about projects or labs they’re working on. They might invite you to check it out and maybe it would be something you would like to join and add to your resume. Be careful not to be fake though, they can call bullsh*t a mile away because you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Getting on first name basis isn’t just advantageous for you from a social standpoint but also professors can truly help guide you and refer you to other great professors. Additionally you would be able to get a letter of reference from them if you’re interested in graduate school later on.
3. You’re still young, don’t sweat it
Here’s the thing. When you’re 18 you’re NOT an adult so you’re still figuring yourself out. Don’t be so anxious to get everything right. Hell there are grown people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives! Here’s the bright side though, you have literally 4-5 years to figure it out. Don’t be afraid to change your major or add a minor or even drop out if you think that’s what you need to do to figure it out. Don’t be scared to try new things. Take new classes, talk to different professors, have some fun because if you don’t then you’ll just waste time and effort. Every single student in my university that I know has changed something about their degree within their university journey. Some students even came back to get a second degree because they weren’t satisfied with their first one!
4. Use this opportunity to learn, don’t focus on being perfect
University is the perfect experience for you to learn. Learn to socialize, learn to study, learn about your degree, learn to apply for jobs, etc. . So utilize the opportunity. Getting 100% in your exams isn’t as important as actually understanding and implementing the topics at hand. University is going to challenge you, but don’t be discouraged or scared from making mistakes or failing at certain things. Learning goes hand in hand with failing. That’s the difference between successful people and average people. Learn from your failure and grow.