Congratulations! You are about to start studying at university. The next few years will be full of new experiences, friends and learning. You will enter a stage where your personal development will soar and you will discover talents and strengths that you didn’t know lived in you.
However, it is also true that university can be a bit of a chore and challenging. Especially during the first semester. This is the adjustment period for students. Most of them are going through a lot of changes on a personal level such as moving house, new routines and new friends, so it is normal for them to be a bit overwhelmed.
On top of this, they have to face a more demanding level of education than they are used to. In short, to survive the first semester of university you should be prepared for some difficulties. These tips will help you overcome them:
Make an effort to socialise
At university, you will have to make friends again. And the truth is, people won’t come to you if you keep quiet and crestfallen. Be nice to your classmates and keep your best attitude.
When you have a chance to talk to someone, try to be friendly, get to know their interests and ask questions. The more you show interest in people, the more likely others are to show interest in you.
Don’t feel pressured. Just remember that everyone is new at this and everyone is looking for friends. The quicker you connect with other people, the better you will feel.
Get to know your flatmates
If you’re living in a student residence, your flatmates and the other residents will be like your second family. These people can be your most immediate support when you need a helping hand, so take the time to say hello and chat with them.
Bear in mind that you will see the same faces almost every day, so it would be awkward to have a bad relationship. Making friends, both at university and in residence, will go a long way to helping you feel better about your new lifestyle.
Get around campus
Another good way to feel at home at university is to start getting to know the campus. Locate the different buildings and facilities, the cafeterias, the classrooms, the computer labs, the library.
By having a clearer idea of where you are and where you can go, you will feel more comfortable in your new environment. Little by little, it will become part of your daily routine and you will stop feeling like an outsider.
Organise your time
You may not notice it for the first few days, but as the weeks go by, it will start to rain tasks, readings and essays to do. It is therefore advisable to organise your time according to priorities.
Set times to do your homework, spend time with friends and rest. It is important to balance your activities so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the situation.
Ask for help if you need it
College is a more demanding level of education than high school. Some students find it difficult to understand the content of subjects and if you are one of them, you should know that there is no harm in asking for help.
Ask the questions you need to ask during class. Stay longer at the end of the class and clarify any doubts with the teacher. The teachers won’t think it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, they will appreciate your interest and initiative.
In some places, there are support groups that cater to the academic needs of students. These groups are usually run by other students in higher semesters or courses, and they will help you clarify your doubts and serve as a guide for others.
Ask your teacher if there is an academic counselling or assistance group you can join. It is important that you make every effort to pass your subjects. Don’t leave it to the last minute.
At university, you’ll find clubs that deal with all sorts of subjects. From drama groups to Model United Nations. Join those that match your interests. Not only will you have the opportunity to develop in a field you enjoy, but you’ll also meet other students with similar interests to your own.
Moreover, if these activities are related to your career, you could include them in your CV later on. For example, if you want to become a journalist, joining the editorial team of the university magazine would be a good idea. Or if you aspire to go into politics, debate groups would be a good fit.
The first semester of university is the period that marks the beginning of your university life. The important thing here is to start to become part of the community around you and adapt to its dynamics. You will soon see that the faster you assimilate the changes, the better you will do.