As my first year of university comes to a close, I realize that I’ve become very reflective. So much about what I thought I knew about campus life turned out to be completely different, untrue, or simply not emphasized enough. Everyone gives you so much advice about what to expect in university, though I personally found only a few things to really ring true. Here are 6 things that I found to be pretty accurate about first year college life!
1. There’s a very good chance that the program you picked is simply not for you. Don’t force yourself into one specific major just because it’s what you’ve always wanted to do or what your parents want you to do. College is a time to try out different things, and if you find the major you chose is not right for you don’t be afraid to switch things up! I know many people who have switched majors after realizing their true passion lies elsewhere. Afterall this will ultimately lead to your lifelong career choice, so make sure you love it!
2. You and your roommate may not be best friends, and that’s ok. The odds that you and a random stranger will become soul mates in a few short months isn’t all that high. As long as you both respect each other and your space you should be just fine. Just don’t go into the relationship with too high of expectations.
3. Your grades will drop. This rule applies to pretty much everybody. High schools and universities grade on completely different ranges, so if you enter into uni with a 95% average, prepare to drop anywhere from 10-20%. At first this will make you question yourself, but you will soon get used to the fact that an 80% is a damn good mark and a 70% is totally acceptable.
4. In order to do well, you must have wicked good self-discipline. That means forcing yourself to wake up at 8 am every morning to go to class, spending hours in the library to do your readings, and completing every assignment on time. Chances are you won’t always be perfect, because you will get sick or exhausted or really, really homesick, but as long as you put in 100% of the effort most of the time, you should be just fine.
5. When everyone says you should get involved, you should actually listen. Maybe you got away with not joining groups or clubs in high school, but in university extracurriculars really do matter. They look great on resumes for jobs and grad school applications, plus they keep you busy and help you make new connections and friends.
6. As much as you do have to put in a lot of effort to do well in university, some well deserved breaks are totally necessary. If there’s one skill that’s crucial in university besides self-discipline, it’s time management. Allocate your time so that you can go to class, get your work done, then go out or spend some time with your friends, or even stay in and watch Netflix. Anyone who tells you you can’t work hard and play hard simply hasn’t learned how to do it right.
Good luck in your post-secondary adventures! Xoxo, Ana.