It is often said that the decisions you make during your first semester of the university will likely have a major influence on the rest of your undergraduate experience and beyond. If you are about to/just gained admission into a higher institution, you probably have just a few weeks before the new experience wanes off and the real work of course loads, exams and potentially managing homesickness begins to crop in. It is therefore important to take advantage, particularly as a freshman student, of the resources available to equip you with everything you need to know to make your first weeks easier. Below are some tips for thriving in your first semester and the rest of your undergraduate experience.
#1. Use your student planner
The university is an entirely different ballgame from secondary/high school. At the university, you are expected to be well prepared and follow the course outline and deadlines typically given at the beginning of the semester, mostly through the student’s planner. The Student’s planners help the students to develop planning skills and improve organization and time management as well as creating communication between lecturer’s, students and parent. Waiting until the very last minute to complete assignments, projects, essays or study will get you stressed out.
#2. Take Advantage of Students/Faculty Relationships
It’s important to build relationships with students (new and returning). They are the ones who can recommend the best professors and provide feedback about which classes are the most interesting. They can also share ideas with you on the best social events/career services available on the campus. Also, do not be intimidated to visit your professors at the faculty during their office hours, particularly if you need help with choosing or understanding a course.
#3. Choose your courses wisely
When it comes to your courses, choose wisely. Most institutions of higher learning require a set of curriculum throughout the first year, though a few departments allow one or two elective courses. During selection, some students overlook important factors that can optimize grades as well as increase preparation for the rest of the academic year. Be sensible about the number of credit hours and the course combinations you can handle. You can also talk to returning students/faculty members on advice about choosing courses as already mentioned above.
#4. Keep track of your finances
You can either educate yourself about responsibly managing your finances and avoid potential mistakes or you can let learn from your experience. Learning how to manage your finances early is an important part of financial education for every student and will guide you on a path to a healthy financial future. Identify your needs and wants by listing them down and sorting them according to your priorities. Take advantage of student discounts. Even where they aren’t advertised, it’s worth asking as they are sometimes still available.
#5. Get involved
Taking advantage of extra-curricular opportunities can combat homesickness and introduce you to life-long friends, relieve stress and help with time management. Also, student’s clubs and volunteer organizations can provide leadership and networking opportunities that will pave the way to internships and employment. Seek out organizations related to your course of study or interests.
#6. Seek the library/online support
Support is always just a click away from online resources or the university’s/departmental library The internet can serve as an extensive resource centre for virtually every question about the university, such as dealing with a difficult roommate, time management and effective studying strategies, students chat rooms and a place to exchange ideas and share new information. The Libraries, on the other hand, play a fundamental role as it offers the opportunities for learning outside the classroom and will help shape new ideas and perspectives that are central to a creative and innovative society.