Before getting a university degree and choosing university frames to put on your degree, you have to survive the uni life. Life is different when you are in a university. It wasn’t the same as the life you had when you were in high school. In high school, everything is spoon fed. In the institute of higher education, you are taught to on how to be independent. It is not at all scary; you just need to know some things for you to survive.
Did you know that more students dropout of college within the first six weeks of school then the rest of the year combined? Think about it. You’re in a new environment; you’re away from home for the first time. You have new roommates and a very intimidating workload.
University is nothing like high school. Expectations are extremely high, the workload is phenomenal, and you have much less time to get everything done. In fact, you need very specific survival skills, or you’re at serious risk of dropping out. Most high school students can get into college, but their chances of sticking it out, well, they are pretty slim in most cases because high school students don’t tend to have proper study skills drilled into them. They say that surviving uni the first weeks is the hardest and for many students, that’s true. To embrace all that life as a university student has to offer, there are many rituals you need to participate in and observe. Here, we hand you your survival guide for getting through your first weeks of university.
1: Making friends
Its definitely one of the most difficult things to do, but there are many ways to meet new people. If you’re living in a college style of accommodation, try to spend your time in the communal areas of the house like the lounge room, kitchen or dining hall. Take the opportunity to socialize with people either at uni bar parties, college pub crawls, meal times or join a sporting team. You could sign up to be part of a club like a reading group, a film society or a wine community. It’s also important to know the guys and girls in your course. They help with homework, introduce you to other people, and you’re studying the same degree, so the chances are that your interests will be quite similar.
2: Going out
Surviving uni is all about embracing everything new and different about being in a new place with new people. Sure, we expect and encourage you to hit the books once in a while, but letting your hair down is also a huge part of being a university student. Don’t just think the explosion of pub crawls, uni bars, parties and game nights are only in the first week. Let me inform you; they are on through the entire semester. Remember to drink stacks of water between drinks and just before you head to bed. Take some vitamins like Berocca and have a substantial meal before heading out on the booze.
For most of us, starting university means moving out of home and away from mom’s lamb roasts. While I’m a fan of the frozen dinners, others get take out, but if you’re like me and finances are limited, cooking is your best option. You don’t have to be a master chef to survive, keep it simple. If you are up in time for breakfast, toasts are cheap, quick, easy and don’t require a plate so less washing up. Universities usually have cheap, healthy meals on offer at their cafes and meal halls for five or 10 bucks. Pasta and rice with a few vegetables or chicken are easy and cheap as well. Best of all, they are dishes you can reheat and eat the next day, share with others and are healthy.
4: Have fun
Uni isn’t easy, not for anyone. Remember to manage your time, get a good balance of food, sleep and relaxation into your day. Study hard – that is what you are there for in the first place. Do what makes you happy, don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t ever feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with – uni is your time. Don’t waste it, use it wisely!
5: Take Classes You Enjoy
Most degree programs have openings for electives. Electives are slots in your degree that you can fill with just about anything! For example, you’re taking a commerce degree, but you love to travel to Central America. Fill in one of those elective slots with a Spanish class. It’ll go towards your degree, and you’ll have another language you can lean on for the rest of your life! This also has the added benefit of having a class in your schedule that you enjoy going to. There’s a HUGE difference between classes you don’t enjoy and classes you do, and your performance in it will show.
Just remember that what you put into your University experience is what you’ll get out of it. Forgive me for sounding like a mature adult, but if you want to be successful academically, then you need to grow up quickly and get focused on your classes as soon as possible. If you find yourself more interested in going out to beer nights rather than your morning classes, then perhaps a year or two of “maturing” is what you should be doing instead of wasting thousands of dollars on a failed education. You can fit in lots of fun into your busy schedule, just keep your priorities straight and always take care of your classes first. Good luck and keep it classy.