How to survive your first semester of university

Are you excited, nervous and terrified about starting your first semester at university? There’s so much to think about, you wouldn’t be judged for feeling this way. What are the people going to be like? Will you make friends? When are the social or sporting events and how do you get there? How will you get through the first semester ?

When you start university it’s like you have a clean slate. You’re starting afresh with your new sense of independence but also with a countless number of critical decisions that you need to make. The first few weeks on campus are critical for all new students. It’s during this time you make critical decisions that will affect the rest of your life. The decisions you make and actions you take during the first semester, will also have a major impact on the rest of your university experience.

Once the excitement of this brand new experience disappears, the real work starts. Attending daily classes, studying for exams and potentially managing homesickness begins in earnest. At times, you’ll feel some stress and anxiety but you shouldn’t let these issues bring you down. Whatever you do, be sure to be yourself and try to enjoy your university experience as much as possible.

Here are a few things to do in order to get through your first six months of university.

Learn to be organised

Academics in university are way different from those from high school. Lecturers want you to be organised. It’s expected from you to follow the course outline and deadlines given in the beginning of the semester. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete projects or assignments. Set up a planner and write down a list of what you have to do. You might have left assignments to the last minute in high school but in university, things don’t work that way. Delaying your work will just leave you stressed out. In high school teachers tend to move the due dates of assignments and help you with homework if you’re struggling. In university, the due dates of assignments are posted and it’s expected that you’ll complete your work by the expected time or ahead of time. Therefore it’s very important for you to learn how to be organised. You can make use of an app or get a wall calendar to help you stay on top of your work.

Time management

If you’ve never used it before, then this is the time to start using time management to your benefit. This cannot be stressed enough. You’ll have to use these skills for the rest of your life. Whether it’s while you’re at university or in your future job. This is one of the most important skills you should master and there’s no time like the present.  When in university, you’ll find yourself with lots of free time. How you choose to spend it can be the determinant of your future success as a university student. It’s important to have fun and enjoy the varsity experience but it’s just as important to know what your first priority is. You should always make enough time for your studies. Therefore it’s very important to learn the skill of time management. You’ll learn to make time for everything, from sports, socialising and your studies.

Set up a study schedule

It can sometimes be difficult to find the time to study for every subject. One way to ensure study success is to set up a schedule. This is another reason why time management is so important. If you structure your time outside of class properly, not only will you get your work done but you’ll also allow for time to relax and enjoy the social part of university. Set up weekly or monthly schedules and work out the best times for you to study and have a l of all the subjects you need to study for. For instance, if you’re doing a computer course then some of your majors will include applied mathematics, computer science and computing. You need to include each subject on your study schedule. Listing your obligations on paper will help you get a better idea of what you have to do.

Get involved in extramural activities

One of the biggest obstacles or difficulties many students face is homesickness and a feeling of not belonging. A solution to avoid this is to join societies on campus or by taking advantage of extramural activities. Doing this can introduce you to new friends, relieve you of stress and help with time management. You can start by seeking out organisations related to your major or interest. Extramural activities play an important role in the shaping and structuring of your future. You should look forward to doing these activities without neglecting any pitfalls. At almost every university there are several student organisations that you can join. So don’t delay and sign up.

Take advantage of the resources available from your institution. As mentioned earlier, remember what your main priority is but also try to have fun. The next few years will be the greatest of your life.

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