If you want to have a great first semester, there are a number of steps you must take when you go to university for the first time. These will help ensure that things run smoothly and help you make the most of your experience of higher education.
Add the following to your checklist and you’ll remove a lot of the stress which comes with launching yourself into a completely new life experience.
Familiarize Yourself With the Curriculum
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you are going to be studying in your first semester. This might seem obvious, but many students don’t pay a lot of attention to the big picture and can come unstuck when assignments are due or exams are on the horizon.
University is not like school. Your tutors will not be reminding you to do your homework and they will not come looking for you if you don’t turn up for class. So it is important to know what your classes will be covering before you start skipping lectures. Starting out with a clear overview of the course work for the next few months will help you keep on top of things and avoid nasty surprises and sleepless nights later on.
This is especially important if you are far from home and don’t have old school friends and family for support. Being away from home for the first time is exciting and gives you the opportunity to enjoy plenty of freedom, but it can be lonely. So when you plan your studies, plan some free time and join societies or clubs where you will meet other students with similar interests.
Manage Your Budget
If you are like most students, you will be on a tight budget, and will have to work at one or more part-time jobs to make ends meet. You will probably also have one or more student loans. So it is really important that you keep a note of what you are spending and set aside enough to pay rent, bills and food costs each month. Pay your bills on time, because if you don’t, you could end up paying interest. Buy a notebook or create a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your income and expenses. Make sure you also set aside some money for beer, movies and other spare time activities.
Learn to Cook
You don’t need to become a gourmet chef, but you should learn to cook basic meals. This will help you to save money and it will also be good for your health if you can produce at least a few nutritious meals each week. It can also be a good way to make friends if a group of you take it in turns to cook. And when you can’t afford to go out, an evening in with some food, friends and a bottle of wine is more fun than watching TV on your own.
Register with a Doctor
Even if you do manage to eat a healthy diet and take part in sports, there is a chance that you will come down with some sort of illness, usually minor but occasionally in need of medical attention. So it is a good idea to find out in advance if the college provides medical care or if you need to find your own doctor. Then you can make sure you are registered to avoid any problems if and when you need help.
When you first go to university, these steps will help you to be as well prepared as you can to cope with day to day life and you should have a great time.
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