The First Year at the university is always an exciting moment for anyone and it can make or mar your education experience depending on how well you prepare for it.
Like a breathing exercise, take a deep breath with me. As you inhale, think about all the movie scenes about the university that you’ve watched, think about all the stories you have been told. On exhale, dump them all into your mental trash can. Done?
Good. We’ve all had different experiences with school, you will too. Different things have worked for different people and nobody can say for certain what is going to work for you but I’m certainly going to give you tips that would work for you till you find what you need.
TIP 1: CLASSES ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY IMPORTANT
In secondary school, my teachers somehow always made sure to chip in how it wasn’t compulsory to attend classes like African mother chips in marriage in every conversation with her daughter. It is absolutely untrue. Yes, nobody is going to make you go to the principal’s office for skipping class but, the whole idea of freedom is kinda defeated when you might get into trouble with a lecturer if you miss his class or miss a test the one time you didn’t attend class. It’s not freedom, it’s more like you’re being dared.
TIP 2: FIND YOU A SCHOOL MUMMY OR DADDY
Don’t call them that. Lol. Find someone who is ahead of your class that knows everything you should. Did I say, someone? Find people. They become your go-to for advice. They make sure you don’t make the same mistakes they did, you’ll make completely new ones and they’ll be there to help you through them. Warm-up to them, make sure you add value to their lives too, don’t just ‘use’ them.
TIP 3: LEARN TO COOK
If Food is not life, skip this tip. Food is going to make you miss home five times faster if you can’t whip up something yourself. And do not get me started on how much money you’ll spend on food.
When I was in high school, my teachers used to tell me how I had to leverage on my cooking skills because university students do not cook, and I could make money off of them.
I didn’t take their advice eventually, but it was good advice and I assure you that someone is already making arrangements just like that, to make money off of you.
Bonus reason: you’ll be sure you’re eating healthy.
TIP 4: GET READY TO BE BORED
Yes, there are parties but they are not as many as the media is saying. Sometimes, all you’re going to do is hostel, bathroom, classes for weeks.So, get ready to be bored, but ‘thankfully’, you’d have a lot of reading to do.
TIP 5: PARTICIPATE IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Contrary to popular opinion, they are not for the unserious. This is where you’ll build your network,where you’ll blow off steam, where you’ll be learning something that might end up being your career, unlike the one you’re currently spending all of your time on. Not to mention its benefit to your curriculum vitae (CV)
TIP 6: TAKE UP LEADERSHIP ROLES
There are a ton of benefits of taking up responsibilities in the university. It will get even easier for you if you start in your first year. Some of the benefits are:
The recognition you get from it, a university is a place you could build your network from. Give people something worthy to remember you for.
You’ll develop some very important life skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, team management, etc
You’ll become a lot more responsible. You’ll be amazed at the tasks you can handle
Something to add to your probably empty resume right now.
TIP 7: NETWORKING
I’ve somehow managed to incorporate the importance of networking in the previous tips. It’s however, so important that I had to really emphasize. Develop relationships with people in your field and other fields as well. Networking is a tool for your success and that is putting it lightly.
TIP 8: COME PREPARED FOR YOUR FIRST YEAR AT THE UNIVERSITY
If you attended a boarding school, then you probably already know how to wing it if you don’t go to the university fully packed.
If you’re new at things like this, make a list of things you’d need to survive your first year at the university, Atleast till you become rugged 😂
TIP 9: YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THAT EXAM
If you plan on winging it like you did in high school, then I’m afraid you’re in for getting disappointed.
The most deceitful thing about the first year at the university is you’re taught things that you’re completely familiar with and you feel a little more confident about winging it.
You need to read twice as much as you would have. Pay attention to details and read outside your lecture notes. You’ll think you know it well enough but how you know you’re ready for an exam is when you’ve read so much, yet you feel like there’s more to read.
TIP 10: CHOP LIFE
I didn’t chop life and I regret it. Have fun, make memories, don’t tight the world to your chest(oops). If you think you’re too busy to have fun in your first year at the university, that’s how it’s always going to be. Make time out to treat yourself.
You’re an adult and you should have the ability to draw a fine line between fun and outright neglect.
To round it all up, I know so many people will probably try to fill your head with the ‘there are no jobs’ story. Always remember our exercise, breathe in, mental trash can. You will find what you’re looking for if you put the effort it requires. Undergraduates get paid for jobs because they put in the work. What’s to say a graduate would not?
If it’s your first year at the university, drop your questions in the comment section.
You’re welcome to add more tips that have worked for you