6 Tips to Prepare for University Life

You’re about to start your first year of university. Many feelings are passing through you-excitement, joy, maybe even a little bit of anxiety. But hey, that’s totally normal!

Leaving your parents home for the first time, entering a completely different environment and making a bunch of new friends? It sounds scary, but with solid tips to help you prepare yourself mentally and academically, it’ll be a lot easier to handle.

1. Join your class’ social media group

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One of the easiest ways to quickly connect with your fellow freshmen is through social media. Look up your class’s social media group and swap IG handles. Don’t be shy! It’s a lot easier to get a conversation going through a screen and helps avoid some of that awkwardness in real life. It’ll make conversation so much easier when you finally meet face to face!

This allows you to get a feel of your coursemates and identify who you can get along with for a lasting friendship. You might even be lucky enough to find a potential roommate (one that keeps personal hygiene, preferably!)  

2. Check out the list of clubs and societies

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All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The same concept applies here! While your academics is important, holing up by yourself in your room all semester is not how you want to spend the best years of your life. 

Get out there and mingle! It’s a good idea to join the university’s orientation programme on the first week. That’s when you’ll be introduced to all the active clubs and societies. If you’re a sports person, join a hiking group, or if you love reading, join get those discussions flowing in the book club! Clubs are a great way to connect with peers your age with similar interests. Imagine, a whole weekend dedicated to a Harry Potter movie marathon…isn’t that the dream?

Each society you join will increase your chances of meeting new people and making friends, so don’t miss out!

3. Note down the courses

If you want to give yourself an academic advantage, read up on the courses you’ll be studying so you have a proper understanding of the subject. This will do wonders on the first week of classes, so you won’t be rendered clueless with your poor classmates when the lecturer starts briefing you about the coursework. At least you’ll know what to expect!

If you’re a huge nerd, you could also email your lecturer for a list of reading materials or references to the textbooks you’ll be using in classes. Those textbooks are expensive, not to mention heavy, and are quite the drag to carry around. You could borrow them from the library, but I bet a hundred other students will have the same idea by then. Better to get them early, right?

4. Research on professional development opportunities


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It’s every student’s goal to land that dream job. But how?

Well, work experience is always beneficial to any employer. Be on the lookout for organizations that offer professional development activities, such as improving communication skills, learning soft skills, and performing community service. For example, Toastmasters International trains their members to be a confident public speaker while building strong leadership skills. That can help you to score in that class presentation!

If you prefer to invest in your finances, look for a part-time job around the university. You can often find these posted on the student portal or on bulletin boards outside the classroom. These job opportunities are great experiences to put on a resume, and may even lead you to the career of your dreams one day!

5. Practice time management


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Balancing a social life and meeting the academic demands of the university will be challenging, but not impossible.

The average student takes 4 – 6 subjects per semester. This is a lot more workload than what you’re used to in high school, so time management is very important. It’ll do you good to plan ahead and prioritize your tasks according to the deadline. You don’t want to end up panicking at the last minute and running back and forth to the printing shop only to lose marks just because you submitted it a few minutes late! (Trust me, it’s happened before).

Also, always remember to take note of the deadlines for each submission. If you miss the due date, you miss the marks!

6. Make amazing memories!


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This is your big year, so don’t be camera shy! While you’re out there organizing your first major event or collaborating with friends on a new project, photograph every moment. These moments are a big part of the formative years of your life. Make the most of it while you can!

You might be tempted to quit halfway if it starts to get overwhelming, so be patient. It’s okay to not excel in every subject or perform the best in class. University is where you’re learning to make the best parts of yourself shine, after all. So take your time.

You may get homesick time to time, and be tempted to call it quits and head home. But keep one thing in mind: while living alone may take some time to get used to and the workload is more challenging; the gains are far more rewarding and satisfying.

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