As much as it pains me to put it into words, summer is coming to an end, which means school is right around the corner. For some of us that means big changes are on their way. Going from high school to college is daunting for the best of us, which isn't unlike the change from college to university. Here's what you need to know (or wish you had known) to adapt to the transition.
1. Don't overspend
Yes, obviously, try to be frugal in general if money is an object, but more specifically don't over do it when it comes to school supplies. You probably have binders and note pads left over from, oh I don't know, the last decade of schooling you attended (give or take). Recycle. Upcycle. Whatever floats your boat. Moreover, be smart while shopping for text books.
Maybe you won't even use them for some classes. Your school will have a used books store but there are also students flying solo trying to sell their old material, so keep an eye out on social media and relevant websites.
2. Don't make the schedule you want
Make the schedule you need. Does having your classes start at one o'clock sound appealing? Of course! Does that mean you'll be waking up in the PM and wasting half your day away? Probably.
3. Don't skip class
It's so tempting! Oh university gods, why do you test us so? You need to be strong and not do it, though. It'll set you back so much, it'll give everyone around you whiplash. Making up for a missed class requires extra hours. Emphasis on both 'extra' and 'hours'. That's why, unless it can't be helped, avoid ditching classes at all costs.
4. Don't procrastinate
Maybe you're the kid who didn't need to study in high school and who barely skimmed the material in college and still managed to get great grades. Heading into University, unless you're a strange breed of genius, that shit won't fly. It's unfortunate and it might bruise your ego a bit, but it's the reality. The sooner you accept it, the smaller the blow to your GPA will be. The key to getting through university without having a mental breakdown during exams is to do the work consistently. Figure out what works best for you. Do you get distracted at home? Go to a café or the library. Do you tend to delay your workload? Do it right after the class. Find a way to enjoy getting it done. You're a student. Study.
5. Don't fear your teachers
You're in larger groups. Your professor doesn't know your name. He has a permanent scowl on his face... Stop caring about that! Your teacher's job is to teach. (I know, groundbreaking). That means his job is to have you learn (again with the blowing of minds). He might not know that Ruben isn't your name, but if you don't ask he also won't know that you dont understand why the answer is 2. And that's something he does know. Raise your hand in class, go to office hours and minimize midnight freak outs while you study.
6. Don't be shy
Not everyone attending university wants to make new friends. But not everyone wants to not make friends either. Go ahead and fraternize. You might not meet a new bff but at the very least it'll make group projects a little easier. Not to mention that it could save your life (your actual life) if you miss a class.
7. Don't think you'll remember
This is something we're all guilty of that is applicable outside of a school setting, as well. Someone gives you a piece of information like the time of an appointment (the date of an exam perhaps) and you convince yourself that you'll remember it. You won't. Write it down. Do it in your phone or in an agenda. Future-you will thank you. Hopefully they'll thank me too.
8. Don't stick to what you don't like
It's not uncommon for people to endure a major they don't enjoy to ultimately have a career they don't appreciate. Don't be that person. It's OK to admit that what you're studying isn't for you. Sure, making that change is scary, it might feel like you've wasted some time. But trust yourself enough to know what's right for you. Pursue what you like because that's what you'll be doing for just about ever.
9. Don't forget the importance of balance
In all seriousness, that's probably the secret to life. It's all about moderation and equilibrium. Go out. Get drunk. Party. Read. Binge watch Friends. Eat brunch with your real friends. Go for a run. Sleep. Picnic on the Mont-Royal. Shop. Indulge in a bubble bath. Sleep. Do the things that will keep you happy and healthy, not just your course work. Though the latter should excite you and interest you, it shouldn't be the sole focus of your every day.
10. Don't stop bettering yourself
This ties in very easily with number 9. It comes off kind of like BS but it's not. Most bachelors are three or four years, not to mention post-grad. You don't want to come out of it the same person you went in as. Outside of your major, learn about you. Try new things and figure out what you like. Grow from relationships. Learn to be more positive. Pick up a new skill. Teach yourself to code. Get back into playing the guitar. Remember that you aren't on hiatus from being you while you're in school. Life doesn't start once you graduate. It's an ongoing process.