Freshman survival guide: How to make it through your first year

By in Culture

Starting university is both exciting and scary, so don’t worry if you feel nervous — that’s totally normal. It can take some time to get used to university so in the meantime, the Sheaf is here to help. Here are some tips to help you survive your first year of university.

Learn to manage your time: University is busy, it’s hectic and it’s chaotic. Just the workload alone is enough to send a person into overdrive. Pair that with a part-time or full-time job, clubs, commitments and wanting to have a social life, and university becomes one big ball of stress. Being able to manage your time and prioritize tasks throughout any given day is important and will help keep the stress to a minimum.

For the first little while, you might not know how to deal with it all but don’t worry, eventually you’ll find a rhythm that works for you. If you don’t learn to manage your time, you’ll be handing in late assignments and asking for extensions often. The sooner you can get a handle on time management, the better off you’ll be. 

Find your favorite study spot: Whether on or off campus, it’s important for you to find a space for studying where you can do your best work. Some people unnamed-7prefer being around others and having some background noise while studying, whereas others need complete silence. Can you study at home, or does the TV distract you too much? What about at a coffee shop or the library? Take the time and find a place that works for you.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors: I can’t stress this enough, whether you need clarification on an assignment, help with a paper or want to look over an exam you have written, just ask. It’s important for you to know what professors expect from you as a student in the class. Simply taking the time to ask questions can have a huge impact on your success in the class.

Don’t procrastinate: You’ve probably heard this before but I’ll say it again: don’t procrastinate. University consists of a heavy workload, and leaving it all until the night before it’s due is not realistic. Of course, some assignments or essays may be slightly rushed — you can’t avoid that — but think ahead. It’ll help keep your stress levels to a minimum when assignments, essays and exams all pile up.

Take notes in class: Always take notes in class to supplement the powerpoints or assigned readings. Those extra bits of information professors add in in class tend to be on exams, so be prepared for it.

Get involved on campus: There are so many ways to get involved on campus, such as clubs, rec sports teams, choirs, plays and events to attend. Whether you want to run a committee or watch a basketball game, getting involved will enrich your university experience immensely. It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends, to discover new interests or further previous ones. So keep your eyes and ears open for different ways to get involved and just go for it — I promise you won’t regret it.

Find a balance between work and play: This may be the most important part of the survival guide — don’t forget to have fun along the way. Time flies in university. One moment you’re starting your first day of first year and the next, you’re graduating. Don’t forget that although you’re here to study and pursue your academic goals, you’re also here to have fun. University is a time where you get to meet new people, make new friends and find interests you didn’t even know you had. So don’t let opportunities pass you by, get out of your comfort zone, explore and have fun!

Bridget Morrison / Culture Editor

Graphics: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor