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Tips to Survive Your First Year at University

Tips to Survive Your First Year at University
Created By: Marwa Abadyon 09 September, 2020

As a new student heading to a university for the first time, going to campus could be worrying, especially with the COVID-19 situation still ongoing. However, thinking of university as an exciting adventure you sought to pursue your dream will soothe away your worries. Here are a few tips to help you cope with the new situation and start your first year of studies successfully.

1. Attend Your Classes Every Day

Whether your classes are traditional, online or hybrid, showing up on time is still essential to get the best out of the courses. Professors may explain concepts in a way better than your textbooks. They may also add some comments that do not exist in your textbooks and ask questions about them in the final exams. So, taking notes is of crucial importance to understand the subjects so that you can study them on your own. Make sure you wear a face mask if you have to attend offline lectures, clean your hands regularly and keep a 6-feet distance from others. 

2. Balance Your Life

Time management is a key factor in maintaining a healthy study-life balance. Always try to complete your assignments early and do not procrastinate. A recent study shows that procrastination may lead to stress-related health problems, like headaches, colds and flu. Order tasks based on their importance, minimise distractions and set a timeline to get your work done. You may want to apply the POSEC method, which stands for: Prioritise, Organise, Streamline, Economise and Contribute. 

3. Develop Your Communication Skills

Communicating with colleagues, professors, university staff, and advisors helps you understand your courses and department policies. Do not be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone. If you face any problem, do not hesitate to ask for help. Some universities offer their students courses in communication skills, why not register at one if you feel that you are not good at communicating with others, whether written or oral. Learning how to communicate with the people around you at university will help you communicate with your coworkers and managers after graduation.

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4. Declare Your Major/Minor Properly 

Pursuing the major that interests you is an important factor. Many universities do not let you declare which major you are going to choose until you finish your first year. Research possible majors and read more about the courses that interest you more from your university website. When it comes to choosing, do not choose courses that you think are the most popular or common ones. Instead, choose the courses that you are interested in because you will be amazed how well you do in these courses and how well you apply their information into your real life.

5. Make and Follow a Budget

Throughout the year, you will spend money buying food, books and transportation tickets. To avoid being penniless, set a budget and get an online job as a freelancer to increase your income. To set a budget, calculate your earnings and assign yourself a certain amount each month, add the amount of the first month in a credit card and pay for your needs using your credit card. You can track what you have spent using the mobile app that is attached to your credit card to make yourself stay within your budget. When the first month ends, put another amount. Do not overuse your credit card or you will end up borrowing money. 

6. Make New Friends

Universities are not only for studying. You can make lifelong friendships in university. It is important to socialise with your new colleagues, but give yourself time before deciding who will be your new best friend. Hang out with different groups and get to know as many colleagues as you can. You will then be able to determine the colleagues who share your same interests and live a similar lifestyle. 

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7. Get Enough Sleep at Night

Night sleep plays a vital role in your physical health. There is no doubt that staying up late is a lot of fun, but your brain needs rest to function properly. If you stay up late regularly, you will not be able to study well and produce high-quality work. Try to sleep 7 to 8 hours at night to refresh your mind and avoid health issues.

8. Maintain Healthy Lifestyle

To be able to study well and achieve your goals, you should keep a healthy lifestyle. Drinking water is essential as it improves your memory and mood, and keeps you energetic. Eating healthy food is extremely crucial too. You should eat three meals a day, that include carbs, proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables. These will affect the way you perform during the day and keep your energy levels high. Furthermore, going to the gym, working out, walking, running, and biking are very important to keep you fit. They also help you relax and relieve stress.

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9. Plan for Your Future

Your future is wide open, and the sky is the limit. Planning for your future helps you achieve your goals. Gathering information from reliable sources, like the university website or its advisors and counsellors, helps you know more about your university and your field of expertise. This accurate information helps you set your future goals and energises you to do your best to achieve whatever you dream of.

Lastly, always remind yourself why you are in university, whether to obtain a bachelor's degree, get a certificate, secure a better job, improve your skills, or be more knowledgeable about a specific field. Throughout university, give yourself some time to play games, discover new places or dine out with your new friends. However, do not put off your assignments and waste your time. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Sleep well, eat healthy food and stay fit. Make your years studying abroad as productive as they can be. 

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