Many say that the first year of university is the easiest, the pressure is low and you can pass easily. However what they do not tell you is that even though some claim that your first year’s grade doesn’t count, it actually does. So rather than counting on your second and third year to pass everything why not give yourself a head start and make the first year count. Yes I know everyone is telling you to relax because the first year doesn’t count but why wait to find out? You may be faced with adversities that may affect you later in your uni life why bank on the idea that waiting to pull your weight later on is a good idea! “Early birds catch the best worms”, start early and ensure that every hurdle you face is dealt with before the end of each year.
Let’s dive in deeper and discuss how to overcome the figurative hurdles you may come across in your first year;
1. Be an early bird
You’ve heard the saying early birds catch the best worms. Yes the same applies to anything in life, plan early to finish the first year with a 2:1 or even first class and spend the first year working towards it. Thinking that the first year doesn’t count will lead to not working harder! “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard”. Yes no matter how smart or intelligent you are without effort you could still fail, not saying there is anything wrong with failing. However the aim here is to finish university within the time frame of your studies no more than that. Ideally you want to finish uni in three or four years without additional years or retakes. So start early and keep the end goal in mind. That brings me to my next point.
2. Manage Procrastination
Now there is no such thing as good and bad, because with moderation everything in its proper place can be good. The same applies to procrastination, take your time read, research and give yourself time to understand your work. The goal here is understanding what you hear in your lectures and how to apply it into your work, because how can one work towards what they do not understand. So understanding your lectures will ensure you do not sink into procrastination. Sometimes all procrastination boils down to is lack of understanding or not knowing where to start. Not in all cases but most times if you understand and know what you are doing its easier to get on and be confident enough to start and see it to the end. Manage procrastination and keep in perspective the limited time you have.
3. Simplify everything
Now I can relate to this, you have to simplify everything in order to understand and take in information. How we speak on a daily basis is different from how we write. Your lessons may be intense with jargons, now how do you dissect and break it down so it’s easier to digest and understand? Simply break it down and simplify to the best of your ability. It may sound good but do you understand it? You may feel it’s your lecturer’s job to make you understand, but truthfully it’s actually your responsibility to take charge of your own learning and walk away from every lecture well informed ready to do your assignment. Keep it simply and aim to understand and find a mental short cut to the jargons you hear so you are not confused. Understanding what you are taught will allow you to be confident in tackling any hurdle that you may come across during and later on in your studies.
I remember in my biological and cognitive psychology lecture sitting there looking at my lecturer speak for two hours and then looking at friend blankly. We both laughed and walked out so lost. We had this assignment, a report to write and yet had no understanding how to go about it. It was until someone interpreted the lecture in the simplest terms possible that helped us to start our assignment and pass. So remember keep it simple; break it down if you do not understand as this will help you to manage procrastination.
4. Build friendships
University can be lonely and boring if you do not have friends and acquaintances to get you through the tough years. I remember vividly my early days in uni, sitting in my lectures clueless and confused. I wondered how I will make it, until I made a new friend who introduced me to other people and my circle grew. As my circle grew, I gained new understanding, we shared ideas and notes. My friends were by my side throughout and this helped me to successfully finish my studies. “No man is an island”, we all need strong connections to help us get to the next level.
Invest time in building strong connections; if you want friends then you have to be willing to be a friend to others. This will set the tone for the remaining years in uni. My friends recorded lectures for me when I was ill and couldn’t be at uni. Their support and encouragement help me to be up to date with my studies. In our final year dissertation the same friends were by my side as we took on the challenging final year research and on to graduation. My point here is the right connection in uni will make the difference between you passing, receiving an important piece of information during your absence in uni and enjoying your graduation party. Friendships contribute to success in university.
5. Make use of services available
Universities have services available dedicated to helping students manage their problems, make use of these services. These can range from money, housing to general support. You are not alone; if there is any help you need feel free to access the additional support available. Support can be found in the library or perhaps asking the staff at the library to point you to the appropriate bodies who may be able to help you with your particular concerns.
In conclusion there will be hurdles in your journey in uni, but these are not mountains that are out of your reach. You can overcome them successfully by starting early, managing procrastination, simplifying everything by breaking down and understanding your work. Building strong connections and friendships that will encourage and support you in working harder. Finally make use of services available, remember you are not alone, help and support is available. Universities understand that the stresses of life can sometimes challenge students, stealing their joy from their studies. This is why they have dedicated services designed to assistant and help students manage their life outside uni because they know a happy life also means happy focused students. Students who are happy to take on any challenges university life throws at them.
Written By Shereena Badu