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Marguerite Offline
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Starting Uni. - February 19th 2012, 02:06 PM

This is just a general thread. I have no specific question but just wanting to see if people had some advice for me anyway. A week ago I moved states and next week (well a few days next week and then properly the week after that) I start university. I got accepted to one of the best in the country with a pretty good scholarship under my belt. It's all new to me and I don't really know anyone here. I'm pumped but also nervous.

I was just wondering if anyone had any advice? I remember thinking when I finished years 11 and 12, "I wish I could go back and tell myself x or y at the beginning".

So does anyone have any general advice they want to throw my way about starting uni? Anything from meeting new people to handeling the course load is good with me. If it makes any difference, I'm doing an Arts degree majoring in English Lit and History.

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget

~Arundhati Roy
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Re: Starting Uni. - February 19th 2012, 05:17 PM

1) Get involved in as much as you can. One of the first things that I did as soon as I began university was scope the available clubs, sports teams, etc. In my first month at university, I was a captain for an intramural soccer team and was selected as the first year representative on my Residence Council and my Faculty Council. Since then, I've gathered new opportunities and experiences that have helped me grow and develop as an individual. In addition, I've made friendships through all of these activities - and I've had a lot of fun. Last, but not least, getting involved looks fantastic on a resume. It gives you something to talk about in an interview and whatnot.

2) Take advantage of opportunities available to you. A lot of people don't do this, for whatever reason. Many people don't know of the opportunities available to them. Do your research. I can't stress that enough. This can be tied in with the advice to "get involved at university", but there are also other ways to take advantage of the opportunities available to you. For example, I applied for an exchange to England at my university this year. Over 300 students applied for an exchange to England, and only 1.6% were selected. I was one of those people, and now I will be going to England for year. Don't let opportunities pass you up!

3) Study hard. Even if you don't want to go to graduate or professional school after your undergraduate degrees, good grades can only help you in the long-run. I know so many of my friends who have a GPA around 55%-60% and they're now finding out that 1) They won't be able to graduate with honours 2) This doesn't look good on their transcript 3) They won't be able to get into graduate/professional school after they graduate with their undergraduate degree. Yeah, working hard can suck at times and it can become overwhelming. I've worked extremely hard to maintain an 85% in university, and now, hopefully I'll be able to achieve all that I want to achieve - by pursuing Law School after my undergraduate degree. If you get high marks, you will keep all doors open to you. You want this.

4) Play hard. Don't forget to have a lot of fun. I also know students who study 24/7. Sure, they may get very high marks but at the end of the day, it's so important to live a balanced life. This year, a professor told me that it was so much better to be an 80% student who was involved at university and partied with their friends every so often, than the student who has straight 90%s and does nothing else. Live a balanced life. Join clubs that interest you, hang out with your friends, and study at the same time. Time-management is vital in university (and in life, in general).

5) Get out of your comfort zone. I know that going to university can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you're not living at home. I went to my university knowing absolutely no one. And sometimes, this is a good thing. You can start fresh, on a clean slate, knowing no one at all. You can finally be the person you want to be. Sometimes, you're going to get homesick and feel that you made a mistake by choosing the university you did. And that's normal. Just learn how to cope with those feelings and not allow them to take over your life. This also applies to the "get involved at university" point. So many people refuse to get involved because they're scared or some other reason. Get out of the comfort zone you have and, when you do, I promise, it'll be worth it.

6) Dream big. No matter what happens, have high hopes for yourself. Sure, your initial grades in university will probably suck. Everyone's do. But even if that happens, don't give up on whatever dreams you have for yourself. Think about your goals and dreams for the future, and continue to strive for them. Even when times get hard, and you feel like you're never going to achieve your dreams, stay focused and keep trucking through. If you want something bad enough, you'll get it.

Good luck and PM me if you have any more questions.

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Re: Starting Uni. - February 20th 2012, 07:12 AM

I'm graduating with my Honours Bachelor of Science soon so I cant offer advice for your particular degree but I can give general tips.

First, study groups are amazing, especially if you have rules set up. For example, each person has to pull their own weight, it's unacceptable if they don't do the work unless there are reasonable excuses, such as very ill.

Second, take a diverse set of courses. People often find they excelled at a certain area in high-school but perform far below their expectations in university, it's a whole other ballgame. By taking courses in other areas, you may find you excel. For example, at my university I have to take 1 credit in science, humanities and social science. For social science, I took sociology which I wasn't too thrilled about as the other social science courses were full. I did minimal studying and pulled off an A+. I took a few more sociology courses, again didn't do much work and got an A to A+. On the other hand, in high-school I was amazing in physics but come first-year I died on the large mid-term and large assignment, so roughly 40% of my total grade was a F. I had to drop the course so it wouldn't be on my transcript. In high-school, I was fairly good in biology although better in physics yet come first-year, I was pulling off A to A+ again. You may also change your field of study, either from Ancient History to more Modern History, or as one of my best-friends, he changed from philosophy and linguistics to computer science and math. Like me, he did a computer science course for fun and got an A+ whereas he was failing philosophy and borderline passing linguistics.

Third, of all the years in university, first-year marks tend to be the lowest. I'm not saying this to discourage you. I remember my parents telling my first-year is when people get weeded out and your marks will be the poorest. I thought they were trying to scare me but I found out they were serious and correct. In the first 1-2 weeks, it often is review from high-school material so most people, myself included, slacked off and thought it'd be a breeze. Don't slack off because once the review is over, first-year hits you like a train full-steam ahead and you've got to be prepared.

Fourth, try to get past tests, often from academic clubs. They are extremely valuable especially if the professor is the same from the previous years as they tend to re-use test questions. New professors tend to model tests from previous years as well.

Fifth, don't be afraid to speak up to the professor either during or outside of class. First-year courses are very large and professors are very busy but they still are very eager to help. From personal experience, I found professors look more favourably upon you when you accept responsibility for your grades and don't blame the TA as a ball-buster even if they are. Getting to know the professors is great not only for first-year but for courses down the road. They can give excellent advice for areas that fit your interests, recommend who to talk with, etc... .

Last, get involved with what is going on at university and be healthy. Studying hard and getting high grades is without a doubt your priority but you'll get worn out if you constantly study without a break. It can be anything from playing table-tennis to participating in the student union. Unfortunately, lecture halls for first-year courses are jam-packed so you may get ill, it sucks when it happens. In my third year I was unable to attend class for a bit over 1 month, I missed several tests that I had to re-write, nearly missed a major research presentation I was preparing with a group I had to communicate via e-mail and missed valuable time to work on a few papers. Part of staying healthy for lectures involves getting to sleep early. There's often a night-life and as much as you may want to stay up, tough shit, you need your sleep. If you have to stay up late to work, which will happen, don't push yourself to the point of almost falling asleep because your work at that point will be poor. I've stayed up well over 48 hours without sleep doing research papers and studying because I was so far behind. After I finally got to sleep, I looked over my work and many parts were poorly constructed I had to re-do them. You don't want yourself in that situation.

I can rip you off, and steal all your cash, suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh. Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack.
- Danko Jones (I Think Bad Thoughts)
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Re: Starting Uni. - February 21st 2012, 12:53 AM

I agree with everything that has been said, but I just have a few to add:

I'm assuming that your university grades are 1-7 like mine. I wish that someone had told me early on that a 5 is actually really good. I was very much used to being a high-achiever in high school, so when I was getting 5s and 6s at uni, I felt like I was doing something wrong. It wasn't until half-way through my second year that a tutor mentioned that if you were getting 5s, 6s, and/or 7s, then you were doing great.

Check your emails every day to make sure you aren't missing any important information. I'm doing a subject this semester where we had to put in an application to do volunteer work. There were heaps of options, but it was based on a first-in, first-served basis since there were only a few spots at certain locations. I applied the day that the applications came out, but a lot of my friends didn't even know that they had to apply until a month later because they hadn't checked their emails. I'll be doing volunteer work just down the road from my house, whereas my friends will have to drive quite a distance to get to their locations.

PM me!

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Re: Starting Uni. - February 21st 2012, 04:39 AM

I have no advice unfortunately but I can say you are not alone in being nervous.
I don't go to college for a few months but I am nervous about it.
Thanks to those that posted tips of advice, it really helped and was useful.

"i don't care your intentions. I just want you to know my self-hatred never took me where I wanted to go. At the end of the day...I can pick at the pain but I can't cut it away."
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Re: Starting Uni. - February 21st 2012, 04:51 AM

Looks like everyone has already covered everything, but just get involved with anything and everything that you think you could handle and would enjoy being part of. This will help you get to know people and it can help with the stresses of school.Take advantage of everything that is there for you such as tutors, study groups etc. Priorities. This could be your worst nightmare and your best friend but is very important - going out to parties, or with friends is all fun but if you can't get your school work finished or meet that deadline because you aren't making time for it then you could be in trouble. And lastly, just have fun and enjoy yourself every chance you get!

Rescue is possible. Love is the movement ♥
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