It is no secret that many undergraduates lack a variety of skills before embarking on that road towards higher learning. As a current sophomore at university, I have still yet to master many of these student life hacks. Nevertheless, in this University Survival Guide, I compiled a list of life skills that I picked up during my first year of university so that your own transition to a post-secondary institution may happen more smoothly. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions and by no means will they apply to every university or college.
Take Advantage of University Resources
Many universities offer free tutoring services for various subjects. These tutors are often upper year students who have already taken the course that they tutor, so they can give you tips about completing assignments, and preparing for tests and exams. If you want a deeper understanding of the subject, it may be better to ask your professor during their office hours instead of going to a tutor.
Free counseling services are often available. Some of the issues that counselors can help with include relationship difficulties, bereavement, anxiety, depression, stress, and eating problems.
Career centers offer advice about getting jobs or internships, acing interviews, improving your social media presence, and even writing a great resume or CV.
Some other centers on campus to visit include the financial service center, the student health center, and the writing center.
Academic advisors will help you with course selection and keeping on track for completing your degree. Many of them will also be able to give you advice about internships and additional credentials (like a minor, certificate, or a second major) that you can pursue.
Student discounts! You can find them at events, movie theatres, stores, and so on. Take advantage of them!
Take advantage of office hours. If you find that a professor doesn’t explain well in class, you may find that they teach better one-on-one. Getting to know your professor also means having someone who can write good references or recommendation letters and the possibility of volunteering or getting paid to help out with their research.
Sit near the front of the class. The professor will recognize you as a dedicated student and if you are sitting at the front of a classroom with 300 other people, you will be able to actually see and hear what’s going on. Also, you will less likely be distracted by the people around you.
Get to know people who have already taken the classes that you are going to take. They will be happy to lend you past assignments and tests that you can use to study. (Beware of plagiarism though.) In addition, they will be able to tell you who the best professors are, where you can buy things like textbooks for cheap, and other things you need to know as a student.
In order to fight procrastination, tell yourself that you will do five minutes of studying or work on an assignment, and you’ll find yourself doing more, since you’ve gotten over that initial dread of doing it. Also, use incentives to motivate yourself to study. For example, treat yourself to a nice dinner out with friends only if you feel adequately prepared for the test you have to write the next day. Trust me, you’re not going to want to wake up early to get things done; do it the night before.
Auditing courses that you have to take later on in college can give you a head start, as you will get an idea of what to expect before you actually take the course.
Coming next on University Survival Guide: Make your college life colorful and get involved in extracurricular activities.
Download the digital copy here.