Outside the classroom: finding college life balance
BY ANTON LUCANUS
When you’re going in university, you’re more scared than excited. Just like any first day at school, you don’t really know what to expect. In addition, there’s a lot more riding on you then when you went to elementary school. Universities aren’t grading you with gold stars and a snack-size bag of animal crackers, instead, they’re grading you with intense essays, class participation, and exams. But, this isn’t the moment where you need to freak out. In fact, your university experience, for the most part, is going to be a great one. However, there are some helpful advice you should take with you before university. That way, you don’t make rookie mistakes.
Know your downfalls
Before going to university, you want to mentally prepare yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to meditate on a daily basis, but walking into university being self-aware will put you ahead of the rest. Knowing where your personal downfalls are will help you become more aware both your studies and social life. For example, if you’ve known for some years that you struggle with math, then going to a facility such as Kids Academy Talented & Gifted, which is a learning support facility will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, you’re able to work on the areas which need improvement.
Don’t be scared to try new things
When you’re in high school, there’s an unwritten code you abide by. You wear what’s trendy and popular, you eat certain foods which your friends approve of, and you follow what the influential people are you do. We’ve all done this, so, it’s nothing new. However, when you enter university, you’re unshackled from that mindset. Your friends all went to different schools and most likely you don’t know anyone in your classes. Which is a great advantage to you as you’re now able to think freely about your hobbies and interests. University is that place where you can try different activities out, experiences different cultures, and meet a diverse group of people.
Take time off
You may be feeling immense pressure to enter university and complete your degree, however, this shouldn’t be something you’re forced to do. For many people, they feel that they’re simply not ready to take post-secondary education seriously, so, instead, they opt for travelling or working. Taking time off between high school and university can help you bring more self-awareness to your future goals and dreams. Most of us don’t know what we want to do with our lives, so there’s no need to rush.
Focus on your relationships
Of course, you have to study and there will be plenty of time to do that in the next four years. But, don’t forget to build relationships. You need to meet new people and make friendships. You’ll need to find the balance between socializing and studying, however, it’s completely possible. You will rarely have the opportunity to be surrounded by people that are like-minded. This is the time to build relationships with people you actually want to spend time with. Remember, this isn’t high school anymore.
Keep your finances in check
When you’re a student, money isn’t pouring in. Instead, you may be working a part-time job or have your parents send you a small allowance every month, so you want to maximize your finances as much as possible. Well, schools and financial institutions are all aware of this. Many institutions offer support services and discounts for students. In addition, use the other supports available to you. Record your budget via a mobile app and ensure that all your banking is accessible on your phone.
Talk to the profs
You may be thinking that officer hours is for teacher’s pet, but those hours is where you’re getting one-on-one attention with your professor. Build a rapport with your professors and communicate effectively with them. Professors aren’t there just to regurgitate information to you, they’re there to help you understand the material that’s given to you. Spend the time in speaking to your profs, going to their office hours, and, building a rapport. When you’re applying for a grant or a job, having them as a reference will certainly do you justice.
You may be living with a roommate and depending on how it goes, you may not be having that roommate for too long. Here’s the thing though, most of our problems can be solved with communication. In high school, this tool is rarely used, however, now it’s the time to start working on this skill. If you’re able to walk out of university with the ability to communicate effectively and conflict resolve, well, then you left with a valuable skill in your hands.
You’re not the only one
You’re going to feel a spectrum of emotions ranging from happiness to sadness, however, this is completely normal. Of course, you’re going to experience ups and downs, you’re entering into a new environment without your usual support team. Yes, your parents are still by your side, but they’re not literally by your side at school. So, when you’re feeling down, just know that everyone else in university has felt the same way as you at one point.
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 share the lessons learnt throughout his degree and to guide current students to achieve personal and educational fulfilment during college life.