My University Experience: Freshmen Advice

University or College can be super overwhelming. You’ve felt the pressure to apply. You’ve heard the scary rumors that the professors are mean and passing classes is a struggle. It is a lot of work but that doesn’t mean it’s not any fun.  Trust me when I say there will be nights where panic attacks and crying at the top of your lungs will occur. Been there, done that. Especially when you expect University it to be hell on Earth. Well, it’s pretty damn close but the good always outweighs the bad. Here are some tips I’ve accumulated from my many terrible and wonderful experiences thus far at University:

1) COFFEE. That is all. Get antiquated with caffeinated beverages. Take it out for dinner, maybe ask it to stay the night because coffee will become your best friend/ holy grail. At least during exam time that is.

2) Be excited about University. You’re there for a reason: to learn about whatever you’ve decided to spend your life doing! That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me. Get engaged and love what you’re doing. If this doesn’t end up being exactly what you wanted it to be, take other classes or change your major. I changed my program 3 times in 3 years so don’t fret, it’s not a big deal. As long as you explore your options and find the best fit for you, you’re going to love the learning experience.

3) Participate. Join some clubs and meet new people. There are some seriously fascinating people at University/ College especially people in your classes who may have similar interests in common with you. Start up a conversation, maybe even start or join a study group. Some of the best people I know are people I’ve met at University. It also helps relieve stress if you have a little break during hectic study periods if you go out for coffee with a few friends.

4) Go to class. I can’t stress this point enough. The professors are there to teach you, take advantage of this!! They will let you know exactly what’s on the midterms or exams. Sometimes you wont even need to use your textbooks if the professor is great at explaining the material. You’re paying a small fortune to go to university, you might as well take full advantage of it am I right?

5) Buy used textbooks. Worst feeling in the world: forking over $500 dollars for a textbook you barely glance at twice. It is a huge waste of money buying textbooks brand new, trust me. Find them on kijiji, amazon or used book websites like http://www.abebooks.com or http://www.bookmob.ca. Also, it helps if you wait to buy books until the first week of class where the professors will usually let you know exactly what textbook you need or if you need it at all.

Here’s a tip: if the professor says that you will only be tested on material covered in class, don’t buy a textbook. Everything you’ll need to know will be taught by the professor.

6) Take very good notes. This goes hand in hand with attending class. Sometimes if you attend class and take good notes, you won’t have to even read the textbook which saves a huge amount of time. Time is money when you are in any form of higher education. Every minute counts especially during exam time. Don’t waste time reading the textbooks if you don’t need to.

7) Make time for fun! Everything is better in moderation. You won’t hate your life as much during University if you make some time to go out and party or even watch a fun movie. Life is too short to be stressed about grades all the time.

8) Don’t stress about bad marks. It happens. Usually there will be ways to redeem yourself and raise your grade. Nothing is that big of a deal in the long run. Worrying about every bad grade you get, oh there will be a lot unfortunately, will only make your hair gray. Just try harder on the next assignment or get an A on the exam.

9) Just a small reminder: Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10) Do not procrastinate!! I, unfortunately, happen to be a professional procrastinator. I could major in procrastination. I mean, if I was motivated enough to actually get out of bed that is. Don’t do it. Make a schedule, set alarms, whatever it is you need to do to get you working! Leaving everything to last minute will just leave you with tear stained pillows and a couple of panic attacks thrown in for fun. Professors don’t care that you have 4 midterms in one week and a paper due, you still need to finish your assignment. They don’t listen to excuses unless they are life and death related. Do work everyday. Start that assignment early. Schedule your life!! (I highly recommend a planner)

I hope you found some of this useful. University/College is a great time in your life, you only go once so go out with a bang. Study, Have fun.

Thanks for reading!

-Tamara

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