September is here and guess what that means?
A new school year!
For some of you, that might mean transitioning from high school into college or university. I remember my first year of university. I went through a roller coaster of emotions from happy to bitter, to excited to lonely. That, however, is a story for another blog post. Let’s get right to it. Here are 5 tips for my fellow freshmen from a senior in university (not in any particular order).
1. Join clubs!
I cannot stress this enough. It is the most easiest way to meet other freshmen and the easiest way to meet others who share common interests with you. Of course, this is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll see when you Google advice for freshmen, but if you’re an introvert like myself, you might try to avoid joining clubs because of the anxiety that meeting new people gives you. Personally, I never tried joining any clubs until my third year and guess what? It was a great experience. My fear was that people would find me awkward and dislike me. Yes, it can be a bit awkward at first, but in reality, everyone is so welcoming and accepting. I now regret that in first year I didn’t muster up the courage to join a club. So please, please, my dear freshmen, join clubs!
2. Do NOT Procrastinate.
In high school you could procrastinate and leave studying and doing assignments to the last minute and still end up doing well; however, that is not the case in college/university. Here, you’ll most likely not do as well as you’d like. There aren’t as many opportunities to boost your mark before exams and so the few assignments and tests can be worth a huge bulk of your mark- you need to try to do your best. In my experience, I only had two midterms before an exam and that means that a lot of material will be tested on each midterm- you definitely cannot study so much material in one night. My grades in first and second year dropped below my expectations until my third year where I changed my mindset and stopped procrastinating.
3. Talk to your professors!
I know what you’re thinking–professors look so intimidating! I’m not going to lie, some actually are, but MOST are very approachable and are open to questions both before, during, and after lecture. I remember my high school teachers telling me that professors don’t care about their students but many encourage students to speak up and ask for clarification when necessary. Some York U professors even stick around after lecture outside the classroom just to answer questions. If you’re nervous about speaking in front of other students, make sure you make note of their office hours and find them during then.
4. Speak to your neighbours!
Just like with joining clubs, I made the mistake of not speaking to other students in lecture. Again, I was worried I was being annoying and that people would dislike me. There are some people who won’t be in the mood to chat with you but don’t let that discourage you. From experience, many students are open to talking. Remember, other students are freshmen just like you and probably are also feeling as anxious as you are–maybe even more! Strike up a conversation. Who knows! Maybe he/she will become one of your close friends! Remember though, people might not want to chat during lecture, so arrive early to class and talk to someone as you’re waiting outside the lecture hall or while you’re waiting for the prof to begin.
5. Purchase used books!
In first year, I wasted so much money purchasing new books from the bookstore. Go to class and find out what books your course requires and try to look for students selling their old textbooks. Unless you’re going to keep your textbook forever, why waste money purchasing a brand new one? You’ll save a lot of money that way and you might be able to earn it back through reselling that same book. Just make sure that you’re purchasing the right edition. And if you find someone selling an old edition, ask the prof if that’s okay before buying it. There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to students selling old books/supplies, so make sure you join them.
Well there you have it. Those are the top 5 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me before I went to university. It would have been a major stress reliever.
Remember, it’s your first year in college/university; things might not go your way, and marks might not be to your satisfaction, but don’t beat yourself over it because it definitely gets easier over time. I believe in you and you should believe in yourself!
Good luck, Freshmen!