So, you finally graduated from high school or CGEP and are enrolled in (hopefully) the university of your dreams. Your freshman year is going to be scary, exciting, memorable, and filled with plenty of new experiences and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, though, and forget to think about your future.Here are 5 tips from a senior to help you make the most of your university career:
- Join a club. One of my greatest regrets as a senior is not doing enough extracurriculars in my first year. Not only does it look great on your CV, being part of a club or society is one of the best ways to meet new friends—especially those with like-minded interests. Additionally, the longer you’re part of a club the better chance you have of moving up in the ranks and getting a superior position. This experience could be crucial when you finally start your career.Universities regularly have “Clubs & Societies” nights where you get to talk to the executives of each group and attend introductory meetings, so make sure not to miss out.
- Don’t skip class. Being in university may give you a false sense of freedom. Most student’s lives revolve around taking 4 or 5 classes, which, in comparison to high school or CGEP, seriously frees up a lot of time. What’s even more exciting is that the majority of those classes won’t require attendance. This technically means that you can spend all day lounging in bed surfing the internet—sounds perfect, right? Wrong. Skipping class is sometimes a necessary evil, but don’t let it become a habit. There’s nothing worse than falling behind in a class and having to catch up right before a midterm or final, especially when you’re juggling assignments from other courses. If you find that you just aren’t able to resist skipping class more than you should, make sure to find a good tutor that can help you pick up the slack in time to save your grades.
- Meet your profs. When you’re taking intro-level classes, you may be sitting alongside 500 other students in a lecture hall that looks more like an auditorium than a classroom. While it may be tempting to sit in the back and chat with your friends, there’s no better way to stand out to your professor than sitting near the front and asking questions, no matter how simple they may be. Even better, go to your prof’s office hours. Not only is asking questions about assignments an excellent way to boost your grades, it will also potentially help you secure a reference letter, as many profs will only agree to write reference letters for students they actually made some type of connection with.Although needing a reference letter might seem far off now, trust me, even if you aren’t planning on attending grad school, plenty of jobs and internships will ask you for one. There’s nothing worse than finding the internship or job of your dreams but realizing that there’s no one who can vouch for how perfect you’d be for it!
- Hone those study habits. Your GPA right now may not be the best. And that’s okay! First year is a time for you to figure out your interests. Hate economics? No problem. Finish the class and you’ll never have to take it again. Love history? Great! Consider majoring in it. What is important, though, is taking the time to decide what study habits work best for you. Some people, like me, work better in the morning. Others can’t crack the books open until the clock strikes midnight. Maybe you like to work cafés, or maybe you can’t focus unless there’s dead silence – whatever it is, figure it out and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later.
- And finally, don’t stress.It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of first year and forget to take care of yourself. Try your best to eat well, get enough sleep, and take time to relax. I remember the panic I had in my first ever semester at university when I realized I wouldn’t be able to breeze through all my classes like I had in high school. But it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of resources offered by both the university and outside institutions to help you get the best grades possible. Finding these services early on will boost your GPA as well as your work ethic. So, what are you waiting for?