BY ANTON LUCANUS
All over the world, going to university or college is a rite of passage for millions of students each year. There are a lot of moving pieces that shift and switch when students uproot their lives and go to university or college. No matter how well suited an individual thinks they are for life as a university student, there will be at least one point in time where they feel the pressure, where they start to crack. Learning to balance and give enough to studying, working, loved ones, and time alone (along with all the other spinning wheels and cogs that turn up) is so incredibly important. Whether it is something as simple as moving into one’s dorm and deciding which mattress for college students best fits their needs (and budget), or something more complex like struggling to keep their health in check while committing time to studies, balance is key.
As with everything in life, studying moves along a little easier when one knows the value and actively practices balancing the different aspects of life as a student. No matter how much a student prepares and organises for this drastic lifestyle change, there will inevitably be bumps along the way – that is unavoidable. It is also how we learn. Take a step back, the bumps in the road in stride, and everything else will more than likely fall into place. And if it doesn’t…it will probably make for a good story one day.
For a lot of college students, going to school is the first time that they have had financial independence – handling money becomes more of a responsibility and less of a novelty. It also becomes an absolute necessity if one is to survive live as a student. While a lot of students live on campus or move into their own place when they go to university or college, there are also students that prefer to live at home and commute into campus (or even study online, effectively taking the commute out of the equation). If a student has moved into their own plus they are rendered entirely responsible for their finances. Others still live at home but previously had more free time to work more – the cull to leftover time away from studying can be substantial, so students must learn to handle their finances responsibly and diligently.
One of the best lessons that anyone can learn before even going into university is that, despite what everyone tries to tell you, professors are not the enemy. Some students feel like their educators are on a power trip and while sometimes this can certainly appear to be the case, most your professors genuinely just want to help their pupils.
If students communicate, get their assessments done in time, and actually show up to classes (there is nothing worse than getting to the end of the semester feeling like you smashed it, and then failing because you did not attend enough classes to get the attendance marks to pull you over the line), chances are that their professors will not only learn their name over time, but treat them kindly in return. If students are lucky enough, their professors and tutors might even have some contacts in the industry if students are interested in taking on a paid placement during their studies. Paid placements can be tremendously useful once students graduate, so if a student has the time and energy to commit to an additional facet of their studies, it is advantageous to do so.
Another thing to note with educators is that they are obviously there to help students academically, but they are also more often than not open to helping their students with health concerns, whether it be agreeing to extend an assessment deadline by a few days or taking the time outside of the classroom to set up a meeting during office hours to answer any questions their students may have. Your mental health must be a priority always, but this is especially true when you are a student. Do not (repeat: do not) skim on taking care of yourself in all aspects of your health just to push your grades up by a few marks. To be able to succeed academically, a student must be able to take care of themselves first and foremost – no one produces their best work when they are off their game.
University and college are known for being not only places of esteemed, higher education, but breeding grounds for stress, anxiety, and general unease. With so many moving pieces constantly in motion, it is inevitable that the wheels fall off even the most well-oiled machines sometimes. Nobody will get through their years as a university student without being tested in some way or another. The key to getting through the stress-filled haze and out the other side is hard work and patience. As Robert Frost said, “the only way out is through”. Fight for your right and your place to educate yourself – in a world that is constantly being trailed and tested, the world needs more fighters. Be one of them – starting now.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life. You can contact Anton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org