These 15 Tips Will Prepare You For University Life
People often think of the university as this large community capable of only instilling academic knowledge which is in its entirety very false. In my two years in university, I have learnt more outside the classroom than inside the classroom.
When I got into the university, I had a few of mom and dad’s pieces of advice. However, I quickly realized I was away from home and those words could only do very little if I really wanted to make the wrong choices in this new phase of my life.
In my final weeks in high school, I was to a great extent excited with the idea of finally staying away from my parents and making my own decisions on a day to day basis. I was ignorant of some little things I should have known, learned and done before I moved some of my things from my parent’s house to the unpredictable world of adulthood.
Do not get me wrong, my GPA is doing fine, at least the last time I checked 😆 . The truth is that I really wasn’t prepared for what the university threw at me in my freshman year.
Nonetheless, the journey so far has been good but slightly rough. I almost slid into academic probation twice after misjudging the intricacy of university exams. Let us not even begin to talk about the parties and constant distractions.
I have decided to write this piece to properly guide you on some useful things. You should know these before you begin your journey to what I call a compulsory self-discovery and identity.
1. Self Discipline
This is usually the first major test in the university environment. You might be 17, 18 or even be 25 when you start out as a university student. Whatever your age is, if you do not have self-discipline, you might fall prey to bad choices on campus.
Personally, I am not a type that stays out late so observing that particular self-rule was pretty easy. I have friends who were so excited about staying alone in school and started doing things they normally won’t dare to do in their respective parent’s homes. Even with all these rules, I still had my discipline tested almost every time I left my hostel.
Generally, you will meet people from different class and personalities. Drug abuse and addiction are literally very common in universities now. It’s a serious epidemic that authorities are trying to curb in their respective schools. You will experience peer pressure like never before. Hence, you need to be self-disciplined to avoid excessive partying, drinking, smoking and even doing drugs.
2. Focus On Your Primary Goal
As a college student, you really need to allow the school to pass through you, and also allow yourself to pass through the school. What I mean is this – you must be able to achieve a balance between your academic and social life. Both are quite important, but one of them is more important. It’s the real reason you decided to come to the university in the first place.
You did not come to the university to party, and you definitely did not enrol in the university to just hang out with people. You came to the university to secure a better future for yourself. Once you are in sync with the reason you came to school in the first place, you will be a little more focused on your studies than social activities.
It is important that you balance these two aspects of your university life because, if you have no social life in the university, you might have none when you graduate from school.
I have seen many similar cases of people who completely neglected their social life, made no friends, and disregarded social hangouts completely.
One of them is Prince, a senior staff of Shell oil and gas limited. He is financially ok & was able to build a massive structure in the village. However, according to my father, he was so studious that he forgot to make friends.
He completely neglected simple things like a get-together for newly admitted students and felt he had no business hanging out with people who didn’t know exactly what they came to school to do.
He graduated with first-class honours from his department and even got a handshake from the university chancellor. Mission accomplished! However, he started seeing the effects of not socializing in school when he wanted to get married. He figured he had very few male friends and no female friends.
Even the people he called friends weren’t that close to him, they were more like acquaintances he met briefly at reading spots. Generally, Prince had no real social life. In fact, he asked my father to help him find a wife when he was ready for marriage.
Hey, I am not asking you to ignore your academics and act like you are on a vacation 😆 . You must be able to strike a balance between your academics and social life respectively to have the best of both worlds. A wholesome university experience will help you socialize and network properly in the future.
3. Keep A Tight Circle
Another lesson I learnt in university is to keep a really tight circle. By keeping a tight circle, you make negative external peer pressure virtually impossible. Preferably if you have a full circle or a set of friends you hung out with in high school, and they were admitted in your university, it’s best you stick with them rather than trying to form a new clique in the university.
Believe me, it’s very easy to make new friends. The real test is finding the right friends. Friends that are able to caution you when you start making bad decisions in your life. Such that can encourage you to make better choices and have your back in trying times.
Speaking from experience, your friends at the university will greatly determine if you would leave the school with a good result or fail to graduate.
4. Prepare for your new accommodation
Before you leave for the university, you need to settle anything regarding accommodation especially if you live far away from the university. The last thing you want is moving from place to place when you’re meant to have settled down.
It can be very exhausting to search for accommodation whilst school is in session. The normal thing to do would be to go to your school two weeks before your resumption date. Within these two weeks you’ll be in the school environment, try to do some real estate survey.
By real estate survey, I mean you should let an agent show you around and advise you on various accommodations you can consider moving into. If you are lucky, you might find accommodation within a week and use the following week to arrange your room. If you still have time, you could take a self-tour around the school.
5. Plan your Finances
In a situation where you are the one sponsoring yourself in college, you have to understand the gravity of the financial commitment you are about to enter into. You need to organize your finances and set a budget to school. It is very easy to overspend and go broke within days at the university.
All over the world, going to college is one of the most expensive educational journeys anyone can embark on. For this reason, many parents or guardians like to start saving up for their children’s college even while they are still in their elementary school.
Without a proper budget and discipline, money that is supposed to last two weeks might last for only three days.
6. Maximize the Fresher’s Week
This is the week that is usually dedicated to freshers. This is where you get to meet people and make friends that might even be in your life for a long while. It’s a week that you experience no tension or stress, so make the best use of it before activities take over.
In my own university, a party is usually dedicated to newly admitted undergraduates. It is a tradition and I attended my own fresher’s night where I met the girl I am currently dating.
7. Take What You Need
Once you are leaving your parent’s house, you need to take everything you need with you. You will need the basics like a table, a chair and a shelf for your books. Of course, you can buy all these things in your school, but that is just added expenses especially if you live in the same state your university is located.
Alternatively, you could purchase these items from people who are graduating or about leaving school. They are more economical and you should really go for THE cheap options while at university.
8. Be Tolerant
I don’t know what might work for you, but personally, sticking to a routine can make me become very complacent. I don’t know if you have heard this before but you are going to face lots of challenges at the university.
There is no need to sugar coat my words. You need to be flexible especially when it comes to your study preferences. Let me tell you a brief story of a little event that happened in my hostel three weeks after I moved in, and five weeks after I was admitted to the university.
An acquaintance of mine had a hot argument with a final year student over loud music. According to him, he doesn’t like reading in a noisy environment. Unfortunately, the final year student opposite his room kept on playing loud music even after asking him to stop. The situation was getting really ugly and it seemed a fight was going to ensue until our caretaker intervened.
To the disappointment of my acquaintance, the final judgment was given in favour of the final year student after the caretaker insisted that it was an off-campus hostel and anything anyone decides to do in his room is their choice.
He went further to say that if the boy in question wanted serenity, he could take a bus to the school library and he can only ask him to reduce the volume of his music set, not turn it off completely. It became clear to the complainant that he had to be a lot more tolerant of the university.
9. Budget for Transportation
After one year at university, I decided to calculate how much I spend on transport fares per semester. My school is quite big and it is really difficult to get around without a car or a bus.
After my calculations, I realized that I spend about three thousand naira on transport alone per month and over twenty thousand per year. In my sophomore year, I decided to buy a bicycle to help me move around campus effortlessly.
It was meant for me to exercise as well as save more money. I don’t remember a time in my freshman year when I visited the gym even for once. So you can consider buying a bicycle if you are the bicycle kind of person, it will make your movement in school faster, cheaper and a lot healthier.
10. Prepare to Attend Lectures
Regardless of whatever you hear from others, attending lectures is not a waste of time. In fact, your lecturer might give you a clue of what is expected in tests or exams during classes.
Moreover, lecturers take attendance in class. In my school, if you have less than 70% attendance, you will not be allowed to take that semester’s exams. Your university’s case might be more or less than that percentage. Hence, you shouldn’t bunk off classes except it is really necessary.
11. Dress Properly
This is my favourite part of this article. I am a huge fan of fashion. The simple style of fashion, not the bogus or colourful style. However, I am here to tell you that whatever your style was in high school, it will most likely not fly in college.
Hey, I respect everybody’s style. In fact, I love people who rock avant-garde combinations with confidence. Nevertheless, you don’t want to look like a clown on your first day. You can actually upgrade your style to look more mature. If you like the simple style like me, you can make your simple still look very presentable.
Personally, I could throw on a hoodie sweater on a dark neat jean plus sneakers with my black sling bag to look a little more official. Whatever works for you is fine; just try to get rid of anything that will give you off as a fresher or seen as unapproachable.
12. Avoid Security Issues
Except you want to volunteer as student security, I will advise you to stay away from any problem that will drag you to the school security office. Any issue with the school security, no matter how petty, might get make the school authority suspend, expel or even transfer your case to the police custody.
Trust me, I am speaking from experience. It really doesn’t take the dean of student affairs anything to sign an already printed suspension letter and fill in the blank space with your name.
13. Do Not Cheat!
If I was speaking to you in person I would have shouted this, but I guess an exclamation mark will do for now. It doesn’t matter how difficult an exam is, or if you didn’t read for the exam at all.
Not only is it dangerous to cheat during a final exam or even a quiz, but it is also belittling for someone like you to resolve to cheat to pass an exam. In my school, getting caught cheating can get you a three-year suspension. Here are other consequences of cheating.
14. Be yourself
The university like I said is not only a place you go to seek knowledge, it’s a place you can discover who you are as a person and what you can give back to society. You will learn a lot at university.
Yes, more than you could ever learn in academics, you’ll ever learn some lessons of life. Do you want to know a fun fact? Most people who are best friends today in the world, probably met in the university.
15. Use The Library
If you plan to pay to use the library, make sure you use it optimally to help your academic life. The library of a standard university should have books on almost anything you want to read.
My school, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, split her library into two – one is an E-library and the other is the manual library with physical books. You could talk to some skilled librarians hanging around to direct you to wherever you can find a particular book.
The university is literally the most diverse community in the world. In the university, you meet Christians, Muslims, gays, bi-sexual, the party monsters, the book worms and the influential kids. Everyone with his lifestyle and routines.
So, I had to set my own rules. I had a set of rigid rules – not more than one party a week, no partying before or during a test and no parties two weeks before and during my exams. I also added a rule to curb staying out too late. You should also have your personal rules to guide you as you prepare for the university experience. Prepare your goals, plan ahead and make the best of the experience! Good luck 😉