Heading to university can be very daunting and stressful. Students need to find their balance between schoolwork and social life, so they do not fall behind or overstep boundaries when it comes to living life on campus.
Getting the most out of your time at university should be a top priority for students, no matter where you are studying or what topic you are studying.
Whether you are a first-year student, a third-year student or a fifth-year student, strategic and simple preparation can go a long way in helping you adapt to university life.
Making The Great Transition
Not every student will experience the same stress that comes with the transition to university, but there are some common experiences that all students have to face.
There is no one solution or strategy for every student and figuring out which strategies work for you is key to your success in university.
University can be hard for everyone, but your pastoral support team is there to help make sure you are prepared for everything that comes with it.
There are some great advice articles out there for students who are not sure about what to do, but the tips in this article are about how to make the best possible way to make the most of every single day.
Choose The Right Program
University is an incredible time of learning but it is normal to feel overwhelmed and perhaps a little bit lost, especially at the beginning of your program.
One of the best strategies to help make it through this stage is to study and build your knowledge base while focusing on your personal development, but the key here is to choose the right program for you.
Do your research before embarking on your university course. If you want to become a lawyer in Canada for example, you will need to know what qualifications a Canadian lawyer needs and which bachelor’s degrees are the best choice. If you want to know how to become a nurse in the US, the qualifications and requirements will be different once again.
Regardless of where you are studying, take the time to learn about your university program as this will help you make the best decisions throughout the year.
Do not make any decision that you are not happy with and do not be afraid to change programs once you have an understanding of what it will take to succeed. There is no shame in changing universities or programs if you decide that they are not for you.
Focus on Developing Your Skills
The best way that you can learn a new skill is by doing it, so write out a plan and break down all the things you need to do during the day, every week, and then do them.
Maybe you need to be enrolled in an English class and a Math 101 class, and you will need to schedule two social events a week to diversify your social and soft skills. This might seem overwhelming at first but if you break it down into little pieces, it becomes much easier to figure out how to tackle the year.
If your goal is to get a job upon graduation, you might want to start by trying out some volunteer work within your community. This will help you develop important skills for your future career that every employer wants in their employees.
Plan Out Your Study Time
Planning how to get the most out of your day is an important factor in deciding how you should plan out your weeks and months in university.
Plan out a weekly schedule that will help you get the most work done in a minimum amount of time. It can be tempting to spend hours on end partying every night, but this can burn you out very quickly if you are not careful. Break down your plan so it fits with what is important to you.
Remember that you do not have to cram everything into one day.
You can spread your work out over several days then take a break on the weekend when you get a chance to relax and go outside. You do not need to be a workaholic during your university years either; it is important that you take care of yourself physically and mentally as well.
Tackle Your Exams The Smart Way
Exams have always been intimidating for a lot of students, but if you plan out your study time accordingly, there is not much that should intimidate you.
The best thing you can do to prepare for exams is to have a study plan and stick to it. If you are going to study for an exam, then make sure you are studying the right material and that you have done enough work beforehand. There is no point in studying at all if you are not prepared.
You might find that once you have organized your study plan, there is more room in your schedule for more fun activities as well, but if exams are the only thing on your mind, there will not be much room for anything else.
Make sure that once exams come around again, you are fully prepared when it comes time to take them.
Make Friends All Over University
Finding friends all over campus that will fit into your group and that you can count on is vital to making the most out of your university experience.
If you are trying to find a friend to study with or to help you take notes in class, then make sure they go along with what you are trying to achieve. If this is not the case, then find someone new who has the same goals as you do.
It also helps to make friends with students on completely different study programs than you, to make sure you are not stuck doing the same things as everyone else.
You need to make friends on each of your programs, not just one or two. A friend from three years ago that you might not even speak to at this point may become your greatest supporter when it comes time to apply for jobs after graduation.
Join Societies and Clubs
Once you get into your first semester, try joining clubs or activities that will put you in a group of students who are going through the same thing as you are; they will help motivate and inspire you along the way.
Try joining a debating team or learning to play an instrument. Meet people who are interested in things you also enjoy doing and get involved in some extracurricular activities as you will be able to learn a lot from other students and share your own knowledge with them.
This is also a great way to make friends, as you will be meeting new people outside of your classes who are interested in the same things that you are.
Friends with similar interests can help you feel more comfortable and ready to take the next step in applying for jobs or perhaps pursuing a graduate degree. The connections you make through extracurricular activities often become lifelong ones.
Do Some Sports
As you go through university, it is important to find something that you enjoy doing and to focus on that. If you have tried out a lot of different hobbies but have not found the one thing that makes you excel at something, then try playing some sports.
Sports are a great way to make new friends and to learn valuable skills along the way. Joining a team is a good way to meet people who share the same interests as you and it can also help with exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking.
Some universities and communities even have specific sports clubs or teams that you can join easily. Try to get involved in one; whether that is playing on a team or joining a league, it will be fun while also giving you the chance to improve your skills as well.
Do Not Be Afraid To Say No To Unnecessary Things
You might not always be busy, but too many life choices can leave you with no time whatsoever to do the things you love, such as playing video games or spending an hour watching YouTube videos every week.
You want to make sure you are getting the most out of your time, so do not be afraid to say no to commitments that you do not think will add many benefits to your studies, career or to your social life.
If you join too many clubs or get involved in too many activities, then you might find yourself facing burnout as you will start to have less and less time for anything else. If this happens, only focus on your top priorities and leave the rest behind.
Get Your Books And Stationery Organized In The First Week
When you are deep in the midst of study, you will not have much time to put into stocking up on stationery supplies, which is why you should start organizing your supplies as soon as possible.
This tip could save you hours over the course of the academic year, so try packing all your materials in your bags or backpack as soon as you get them. If you already have a box or bag in place to store everything, then make sure you use it instead of leaving empty space on your shelves.
To keep things easy to find for yourself, try labelling all your supplies according to the courses they belong to. This way, you can easily get the materials that are needed when it is time for an exam or when you need something for a project.
Do not Neglect Your Faith
Your spiritual life is just as important as your academic and social life, so try to find time for your religious practices no matter how busy you are.
If you do not know what to do, visit your faith centres for your religion if you have time. They might be able to offer you a few suggestions on where to start or what to do.
As well as attending on a regular basis, try reading or watching religious videos online to stay connected with your faith. You can also use these as an opportunity to grow and become more involved in your faith, even when you are stressed or busy with other responsibilities.
Keep Your Residence Room Clean And Organized
You will need a place of your own when going through university, such as a dorm room or apartment that you will call home during your studies. You will need to keep your residence organized and clean, as keeping tidy will not only make your life easier but will also help you avoid unnecessary stress.
Hang or pin up a whiteboard on a wall in your room for each of the different courses you are taking with a list of what needs to be done and when, or you can use online tools such as Trello to help keep you organized.
You can use these tools to plan out your weekly and monthly schedules, as well as how you are going to complete assignments over the next few weeks.
Keep Talking To Friends and Family About Your Mental Health
There is always a chance that you will get distracted, overwhelmed and stressed out over something. Your friends and family are going to be there to help you when things get tough.
As time goes on, you will learn how to deal with difficult situations more effectively, but always tell someone if you need help rather than waiting until it is too late.
Reach out to your roommates or others who will listen if you feel like your head needs a break from all of the studying.
Take Regular Breaks From Studying And Do Not Over Study!
While studies can be very enjoyable, they can also have an adverse impact on your mental health if you are constantly studying all throughout the day. Overstudying is not the best thing you can do if you want to optimize your time and energy towards important activities.
Do not be afraid to take a day off from studies every now and again so that your mind can relax some. If you are working on an assignment that is due tomorrow, try to work on it early in the morning and then leave your space and come back to it later to focus some more.
Setting time limits on studying is also important, especially if you are a full-time student who has to balance schoolwork with other obligations.