Uni Life

10 Things I Learned In My First Year At University

Hello, again my fellow beauties,

As my first year is winding to an end and I am entirely in “exam mode”, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about my experience at University during my first year. University can seem overwhelming yet exciting so I thought that by sharing my personal first-year experiences I could help other first-year students and put them at ease. So here are some of my experiences and what I learned in my first year at University.

1. My high school teachers didn’t lie. You do need to study more. I know that your high-school teachers will constantly say “University won’t allow this” or “University will be way harder than this”. It is, but what I learned the hard way is that I can’t use my old study habits and expect the same results in University. You really need to apply yourself and study effectively. Ugh!

2.  If you go away to school, remember to explore the city you are in. I go to Western University which is located in London Ontario and for me, this is a 7-hour-drive away from home. Although studying, and attending classes are important, try to make sure you make time to enjoy yourself and explore the place you are in! I did get the chance to go to some restaurants, but I really wish I had taken more advantage of the city I am in. But, there’s always next year I guess;)

3. Just because you woke up at 7 am every day for high school, doesn’t mean you will want to in University. I think this is a common first-year misconception that everyone makes. But I cannot reiterate this enough – Do NOT sign up for any morning classes if you don’t have to! You will say you can wake up early, but you won’t. You will mostly skip this class. Take it from me, I know from experience. (Sorry, mom)

4. Don’t be afraid to try new things. University holds so many opportunities for you, but if you don’t start experiencing them in first-year you probably won’t start in second or third. So don’t be afraid! Join a club, sign up for a gym course, join a dance class. I signed up for cardio kickboxing with my roommate and it was so much fun! Plus it was a great stress reliever too!  So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

5. Do not stop exercising. I cannot stress this enough. Going from high school sports to none in University can be very devasting on your body. Not only will you gain weight from the horrible first-year diet, but you will be more stressed than ever before without the exercise. So stick to a fitness regime and work the plan.

6. You will eventually learn your ‘study system’. What I mean by this is that transitioning from high school to University means that your old study habits may not cut it. So don’t stress if you feel like your system of note-taking and study strategies aren’t working out in your first semester. You will find your groove and may have to wait until the second semester to master what ‘study system’ works for you.

7. You are not Superwoman or Superman- and that’s okay. What I mean by this is that of course, you are awesome, I mean all of my Be-UNI-ful followers are. However, don’t be discouraged or make yourself feel bad if you can’t go to the gym, work, go to class, do homework get full hours of sleep, have a social life…and blah blah blah. No one can do this unless they are crazy. So just prioritize what needs to be done and the rest will work itself out.

8. Take advantage of study groups and on-campus learning centers. When I first got to University I didn’t realize my school had free presentations on how to take multiple choice tests, exam stress, and so much support. Indigenous services at my school offer free tutoring and you can also have meetings with academic counsellors on how to improve your study habits. So take advantage of these study supports and remember you are not alone on your academic journey.

9. Take advantage of student pantries, community kitchens… and free food. In the first year, if you are on a meal plan, so many of my friends ran out of food before they finished the semester. However Indigenous services at my school have a community kitchen where you can eat free food, and they also held free dinners and lunches for students. So connect with your school to see which department might offer the same and score free food when you can.

10. Don’t forget about your support systems. Often when you go to school as a student in the first year your first thought is ‘INDEPENDENCE!’- freedom from your parents! But please don’t forget to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. They are the ones who will be there for you when you are homesick or stressed and it will mean a lot to them if you keep in touch.

Well there you have it, 10 things I learned in my first year at University. I hope these help any upcoming first-year University and College students and remember that University will be tough but is also a whole new amazing experience. What do you wish you knew in your first year? Comment below! 🙂

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