Updated: Aug 14, 2020
We hope you are all taking care of yourselves!
Before everything: Congratulations to the class of 2020! High school is a challenge, and you made it through! You should be proud of yourselves because this is a significant accomplishment!
This is a list of the things that we all wish we knew before our first year at university/college. Whether you’re entering college or university, it is a little gift from us! 😊
- Get to know your school: indeed, this year it will probably not be possible (at least during the fall) because of the pandemic. However, when we are back in classes, get a map of the school, and take a tour. Some schools have mentors that can help you with that, but if your school does not, you can do it too! Ways you can get to know your school on your own is to start by finding your classrooms by using landmarks to get there without getting lost. Look for your favourite coffee shop or that building with the unique architecture!
- Look for the essentials: make sure to look for the closest bathroom or water fountain near your classroom. You might need to use these facilities in a hurry during a test or without missing an essential piece of information in the lecture! You can also look for microwaves, libraries and other study places that you’re going to need. You can probably look it up on a map found on your university/college website and then find them in person.
- Don’t be afraid to ask: as a first-year; you might need a lot of adaptation. There are many other people in your situation or that have been in your situation, and they will be happy to help. If you get lost, have a question, or need something, you will eventually find someone with the answer.
- Read your class syllabus: there is a lot of information on there: your midterm dates, the teacher’s email, office hours, books you might need, and where to get them.
- Teachers are here to help: no, you’re not just a number. There might indeed be a hundred other students in your classes. But if you have questions for the teacher, contact them. To write a proper formal email to your teacher, make sure to: write the class code in the subject, introduce yourself in the email and address the professor by their preferred title (some might prefer Dr., others might prefer their first names). Then, ask your question or request an appointment (if their office hours are by appointment).
- Use an agenda: they can be your best friends. Write down your exam dates, assignments due dates reminders, and tasks to do. It’s crucial to stay organized. We are sure that you heard before that organization is the key to a successful first year (and upper years). Make sure to include breaks, lunchtimes, and study time in your daily planner.
- Don’t overload yourself: It is easy to get caught up and want to register in all clubs and activities. Choose the ones you are the most interested in and made sure they fit into your schedule. Also, don’t take too many classes: start by four or five classes, and if later you feel like you can take more, do so. 😊
If you are also a university/college upper-year or incoming student, and have some advice to add, feel free to do so in the comment section.
Have a great weekend!