Whether you choose to go to university in Edmonton or decide to go far away, university is an incredible, life-changing experience. Surviving the first semester of university is a big academic, social, physical, and emotional hurdle that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Approximately 14% of students drop out of university after the first semester. Here are three tips on how to survive, and enjoy, your first semester at new university!
Unless you stay at home in Edmonton, you will likely be out on your own for the first time in your life. Whether you live in dorms or an off-campus apartment, it’s easy to take advantage of this new-found freedom and put yourself being the eight ball as a result. As tempting as it is to stay up until all hours of the night, eat junk food, and abandon studying, resist the urge. Get a good night’s rest, eat well, exercise, maintain social connections, do your homework, study, and stay organized. The benefits to your life and career will be far more beneficial than the temporary enjoyment of stereotypical college kid behaviour.
This is especially important for students who have travelled away from their family to go to university in another city, province, or country. Although the excitement of moving out of your parents’ house may get the best of you for the first few weeks, you will quickly notice a void in your daily life. Take time to call or video chat with your loved ones back home as frequently as possible. With FaceTime and Skype, this has never been easier. This will keep you from feeling homesick and allow you to focus on your studies. An added bonus will be that your family misses you just as much and will always be thrilled to hear from you.
Although the urge to party might frequently come over you, it’s important to remember why you are at university in the first place: to get an education. Making friends with people in the same program as you is a great way to retain your focus and ensure that you stay on top of school work. University is an amazing place to make friendships that can last a lifetime, so when choosing your friends, make sure they’re people who fit with your life goals. If you make friends with people who have no interest in their studies and are too caught up in the party life, you may find yourself losing focus and failing courses.
For most students, the first semester of university is their first time living away from home. This is a huge pressure on a young person. Add in the added stress of courses and assignments and things can get scary pretty quick. Knowing when to ask for help is an important survival skill. Help can be provided in any area of your life, you just need to know who to ask. If you need some extra help in one of your classes make a point to talk to your professor or your designated teaching assistant (TA). That’s what they are there for and they want you to succeed in their classes. You can also hire a private in-home tutor to assist with classes and help equip you with study skills.
If you need someone to talk to about feeling overwhelmed and are maybe experiencing signs of depression, talk to the medical staff on campus and someone will absolutely be able to help you. If all you need is help with your laundry, there is likely someone at home who would be more than happy to help, all you have to do is ask. Keep all lines of communication open and you will succeed beyond your own expectations!
On behalf of the entire Mobile Tutors team, we wish you the best of luck with your first semester of university!