As I write this, I’m currently sitting in the last university class I’ll ever have to attend (sorry, Sir!). Over the past three years, I’ve complained about assignments, stressed over exams, spent all my money on the campus cafes and made some amazing lifelong friends along the way. I’ll be graduating with a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, and a major in Journalism and Professional Writing. Although I may not possess the same passions that I entered my degree with, looking back, I’ve absolutely loved every second of it.
University life can be a big adjustment, with a larger workload and closer deadlines. It’s incredibly intimidating to begin with, so in order to help out some of you future (or current) university students, I’ve put together a list of things to remember throughout your years of studying:
- Reference. Reference. Reference. I cannot stress how important it is to learn how to properly reference your sources at university. It seems like such a tedious inconvenience at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will come naturally.
- Don’t leave everything until the night before. I know you’ve probably heard this hundreds of times and I sound like a teacher right now, but trust me, if you put everything off to the point where you have 3 or more assignments to do in one night, you’re going to hate yourself. Getting organised is going to help you so much in the long run.
- You don’t need to look on-point 24/7. It may be hypocritical of me to say this because I have been known to overdress slightly at uni, but no one will give two shits if you turn up in your pyjamas and slippers. If anything, they’ll only be jealous. I’m saying that from experience.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Your teachers love any contribution to discussion, and considering you may also be marked for class participation, try to involve yourself in debates and don’t second-guess yourself. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to suggest an answer in class, only to keep quiet out of fear of being wrong, and what I was about to say was right. Talk to your classmates, too. I’ve made more friends in my last semester than I have throughout the rest of my degree because I realized how little time I had left to do so. Try as much as you can to put yourself out there.
- Attend university events. I’ve missed out on so many university events and parties because of work commitments, and I wish I’d made more time to attend them. They’re a great way to meet people and become more comfortable in your surroundings if you’re feeling intimidated by the adjustment to uni.
- Go on student exchange. Everyone I know that’s gone on an exchange has loved it, so if you can, please consider it and let me live vicariously through you.
- Make sure your teacher actually plans to use the textbooks assigned for your subject. Textbooks are waaaaay too expensive to buy only to find out they were a waste of money.
- They’re there to help. If you’re struggling with some personal issues or just need to talk to someone, most universities have counsellors on hand to help you, and they can usually help with deadline extensions if you need it.
- Try to avoid paid parking spots. Parking at university is ridiculously expensive, so if you can, go for a spot in the streets surrounding the uni, or get a few friends together and use the carpool parking if your university offers it.
- Appreciate it. Time flies so quickly when you’re studying. I actually don’t know where the last three years have gone. It might be a pain in the arse 75% of the time, but there will come a day when you’ll wish time had slowed down a tad.
University can be extremely stressful at times, so if you can get through a degree, you can get through anything.