Lessons Learned From My First Year of University

To say that my first year of university was not exactly what I expected would be an understatement. After spending years in a system of education that dictated much of my behavior, the move into university from high school was difficult, to say the least.  However, in spite of bumps along the way, there are several things that I’ve learned in surviving uni.

  1. Make Friends in Each Class

They need not be your best friends for life, but in the likely case that you either miss a class or need to split into groups for a project, having people that you are somewhat comfortable conversing with can prevent a multitude of unnecessary and awkward exchanges. These people will be your lifesavers on more than one occasion, without a doubt.

2. Attend Your Classes

Now, I know this may seem obvious, but from experience, I know exactly how easy it is to miss a lecture and promise yourself that you’ll watch the recording later, even though deep down you also know that you’re lying to yourself. Please don’t do this. Of course, if you have scheduling conflicts, you will have to make allowances but in the long run, the more lectures that you miss, the more of the detriment it will be to both your grade and overall education. Physically attending lectures also ensures that you interact with the content of your class at least once, which is fairly useful for exam revision further down the track.

3. (Try To) Do The Readings 

Readings are important in providing background information to what is learned during lectures and tutorials, but not always. More often than not, the readings set for class can be dry, lengthy, and repetitive, so it is recommended to at first read through the abstract in order to identify the most relevant points of the piece and determine whether or not it is pertinent to your learning. In a nutshell, try to do your readings, but don’t work yourself into a ball of stress if you can’t find the time to read the whole piece.

4. Plan Your Time Wisely

Whilst having a balance of both work and play is important in avoiding becoming burnt out and exhausted, it is also necessary to learn when to say no to others and yourself. You should set aside time for going out with your friends, for staying in for a chill night alone, but you must also recognize when this behavior becomes avoidant of your responsibilities.

Make time for doing your readings, for studying and for completing your assignments.

If finishing a degree is your goal, you have to push yourself to follow through and put the effort in.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

Whether or not you were a perfect student in high school, you are going to make mistakes. It is not the end of the world though. One grade does not define you, just move on and try again.

Always be prepared for and willing to accept constructive criticism of your work, otherwise, your time spent in university will become harder than it needs to be.

In the end, your mistakes will guide you in improving your knowledge and abilities.

Each person will experience their time in university differently and there is no right or perfect way in making it through, but hopefully what I’ve learned can assist you in making it a bit easier. So good luck to everybody who has made it into their first year.

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Michelle Goodwin
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Based in Australia, currently studying at university and looking to major in sociology and geographical science.

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