You’re finally made it out of high school, and your first semester of university was probably nothing you’ve ever experienced, but I'm sure there were lessons from your first semester of university you'll never forget. After the first 4 months, you’ve certainly learned some lessons - lessons that will greatly improve the rest of you university life. Here are the 16 lessons from the first semester of university... let's see which you learned, too!
1. Go to Class
This one is kind of a no-brainer. A lot of university lectures are recorded and you can easily watch them later, but if you have small lectures with lots of discussion, go to them! You don’t want to miss out on some valuable participation marks or interesting ideas from your peers just so you can sleep in or hang around with your friends. College is for fun, but it’s also for learning, so it’s essential that you keep up with your classes, which is why this tip made my list of lessons from your first semester of university.
2. Make as Many Friends as Possible in the First Week
This is a very important lesson from your first semester of college because once classes start and everyone settles into a routine, it’s incredibly difficult to make new friends. Sure, you can discover new people in clubs and activities, but good friends that will stick with you for all 4 years will most likely be made in the first few days.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
This is a very important lesson from your first semester because fun and crazy experiences usually come from trying new things. Dip your feet into that club that’s always alluded you, or try out for the soccer team that you’ve never got the chance to. If you’re too used to the way high school was and all you try to do is replicate the experiences, you won’t meet different people or try different things. College is all about trying new things!
4. Make Friends outside of Your Comfort Zone
At least for me, one of the most important lessons of your first semester is to make friends that you usually wouldn’t make friends with. Talk to the girl with the shaved head. Introduce yourself to the guy with the ukulele. You’re finally in the ‘real world,’ so there’s absolutely no reason for you to stay in your high school cliques. Branch out and you just might find your new best friend.
5. Don’t Pile up on Readings
One of the worst things you can do in college is let your reading pile up. Come finals, and you’re going to be the one pulling all nighters, chugging coffee like water, and wishing you had done the readings earlier. The days before a test should be spent studying, not trying to catch up. As much as you’d liked to party seven days a week, it’s important to keep focused and remember why you’re at college.
6. Communicate with Your Authorities
This incredibly useful lesson from your first semester of college makes sure you’re communicating with your professors and advisors and letting them know how you’re doing. Introduce yourself to the faculty advisor, talk to your profs after class- let them know how things are going. As you familiarize yourself with them, it makes it a lot easier for them to help you if you ever need their assistance. They’re there to help you, so don’t be afraid to talk to them.
7. Eat at Regular Times
Missing a meal or two in high school wasn’t that bad, but having your stomach grumble during a midterm could be detrimental. Because you’re constantly using your brain and body, you need to properly fuel up at all times. Try to fit in healthy meals at regular intervals despite your hectic schedule, and your body will surely be thankful.
8. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead is something I believe all first years will learn to do in their first semester of college. Because you’re in a new and unfamiliar setting, it’s crucial that you know how to make your way around campus, your dorm, the dining hall etc. For next semester, make sure you know all the times of your classes and where they’ll be held at, because there’s nothing worse than missing half a lecture and having to catch up later because you got lost.
9. Have a Detailed Planner
A nice and detailed planner/agenda is especially important in college. You have your classes, your club meetings, your activities and your social life. How are you going to remember all these events and your to-do list without writing them down. Look for a small, pocket-sized notebook you can easily carry in your book bag or back pocket, because in university missing out is the worse thing you can do.
10. Join Activities
Another no-brainer lesson from your first semester of university is to join activities. If you have exciting hobbies or something you’re passionate about, now is the time to act on them. In high school, you may have had to join activities you weren’t too happy about to please your peers or to look good on your transcript. In college, it’s all about you and the things that interest you. The whole world’s your oysters, so there’s no reason to stay in on the weekends!
11. Take up Leadership Roles
Leadership may not have been a great part of your life in high school, but now that you can finally do the things you’re passionate about, it’s time to take up some responsibilities and conjure the leader in you. Join the campus council to see the changes you want to be made, or nominate yourself to be your faculty leader- do the things you love, and be the change you want to see.
12. Save Your Money
Something many university students face is a lack of finances. A lot of students take out student loans or get government bursaries, so it’s evident money is a often an issue in college. Save your money. You don’t need a fancy latte every morning- they could add up and really put a dent in your already small savings account. You’ll need lots of cash for your textbooks and/or even groceries, so it’s important to be wise when spending your hard-earned dough.
13. Don’t Forget to Call Home
Another important lesson from your first semester of university is that it’s important to call home and let your parents and siblings know how you’re doing. College is an exciting and eye-opening experience, and your family and friends would love it if you shared your experiences with them. It meant a lot to your parents when you took off for college, so remember to call them once in awhile so they know you haven’t forgotten them!
14. Stay in Touch with Your High School Friends
You may have already made a large handful of friends, but why not call your high school buddies and let them know how you’re doing. It’s rare that all your friends are in the same college as you, so why not video chat them once in awhile. You can post photos of yourself on social network sites, but there’s nothing like a nice long call from you high school best friend.
15. Get along with Your Roommate
A incredibly important lesson from your first semester of university is that you should do everything in your power to get along with your roommate(s). Living in such close proximity for months on end can easily make you turn on each other, but it’s important to at least try to get along with him/her. There’s a reason you and your roommate were paired together, so at least to find a friend in them.
16. It’s Okay to Miss Home
Lastly, once in awhile, it’s okay to miss your friends and family back home. University is probably the first time you've been my yourself for such a long time, and it’s okay to miss your old life. Give your folks a call, I’m sure they’d really appreciate it, and chances are, they really miss you too!
University is the beginning of a whole new world, and it’s important to learn from your experiences. What did you learn in your first semester of university? What would you add to this list? Share away!