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Adjusting to university life: Practical tips for first-year students
By Abeer Khan
The shift from kindergarten to elementary was not easy, the shift from elementary to middle school was no joke, and the shift from middle school to high school was difficult, to say the least. Similarly, the shift from high school to university will bring with it numerous challenges. However, things are easier than they seem, if only you do not push yourself to cope the hard way. You might feel lost and alone, especially if you have moved from another country and do not have friends or family around. Academics might seem daunting because you are suddenly asked to conduct your learning in newer advanced ways. You might become anxious and lose motivation.
These feelings and issues are normal, and normal problems have normal solutions. There are people in this very university whose sole job is to make sure you remain well throughout your time here. You just have to ask for help when you need it.
As a student that faced problems of my own, I thought it useful to write a list of things I would have found helpful if I had considered them when I first joined AUS:
- Accept change: Even before one begins to adapt to change, it is useful to acknowledge the fact that things are indeed changing. University will not be like school, but change is essential in life. If someone remains in denial about this new stage in life and does not accept that it will bring new challenges and rewards, then it will most likely be very difficult for them to cope with the inevitable changes.
- Stay connected: It is good to keep people close, both your old friends from school and newer friends you make in university. Even if you do not consider yourself an extremely social person, it is always beneficial to have a support system of close companions that you can trust to unconditionally love and support you.
- Know your priorities: With all the new found freedom, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important. However, in all likelihood, a university studentâs first priority needs to be performing well academically and honing their skillset, so that it might translate into a successful academic career.
- Take care of your health: As a first-year student in university, it is most important to take care of your well-being. It is extremely essential to keep in mind that well-being includes mental and physical health. Create a healthy sleep, nutrition and exercise routine. Not every situation will cushion you, which is why you proactively need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. The University Health Center and the University Counseling Services are two resources that can be used in this regard.
- Talk to your professors: Professors give out the final grades. It can be quite helpful to talk to them in class about questions or doubts about the lecture and during their office hours about any other personal concerns relating to the course. This will help them understand and know their students better.
These are only some of the things to consider in order to have a smooth start in university. I am hoping my humble advice reaches readers in need and makes them a little less lost in their first year. It is crucial to reiterate that all feelings are normal and nobody should feel anything alone. I found that the Academic Support Center, in the Main Building, was the most helpful resource for me to cope with my freshman year. Maybe you should pay them a visit!
Abeer Khan is a Sophomore I in the Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication Program.