7 Tips for Surviving University
Your first day of semester will be disarming, disorientating and often, dependent on your lecturer's view of the industry you are preparing yourself to enter - quite bleak. "They are 400 of you here today, I will come to care for about 40 of you - and 4 of you will become journalists", this was the statement I was told lovingly by a scary man with a coffee stained beard as I was introduced the next four years of my life.
There are lessons to be learnt and coveted after your first year at Uni, and by no means can they be found in any text book, briefing or handout sheet that's on your course requirements list. Yes, there are steep lessons in being organised but if you can pack anything more into your carefully chosen over-the-shoulder carry bag that says just enough about your personality without attracting too much unwanted attention from second years, please take the crucial points below with you:
1. Most lecturers hate their industry but love to teach about it - take as much insider experiences or industry advice as you can get your hands on, though be aware of the bitter, biased and angry few. Its good to break away from any preconceived fairy tales about your future career within your first year, hecs fees will kill you later on.
2. As delightfully timely and convenient as it is, avoid cafeteria food - its overpriced and before you know it you'll have spent $80 that week just on lattes, donuts and sushi. Take a sandwich, its not as cool and lunchtime sexy, but it will help your wallet out no end. That money has better use in the uni bar on student night.
3. Uni life - not such a keg party. Don't misunderstand my statement, there will be parties, and you will need a lifeguard T-shirt or wonder woman outfit to get through the carefully thought out dress codes, however most universities are not very social - its more difficult to meet new people than you think because cliques exist from orientation day, and many students live in their own introverted world of self-boredom. Thus, pay attention to the over-friendly foreigners - they've come to our glorious country, already in the mindset to drink and make out with as many of us as possible, or alternatively get some more friends on facebook.
4. Buy your pens by the hundreds. Ditch the groovy, expensive sort, and bulk buy. 10 pens won't make it through your first week. Everytime somebody asks you for a pen, you'll be too nervous to decline - even if its your favourite one, which glides through your pages with ease, minus the leakage. Always lend your pen to the cute guy which sits behind you in film studies.
5. Take every bit of bad feedback you get from your professors with a grain of salt, unless you're the next Einstein, you'll be getting a lot of it. Humble yourself, whatever you thought prior to uni, whatever your nurturing, favourite high school teacher told you, be prepared for some brutal but mostly constructive criticism.
6. Get to know your campus map extremely well. This is an old mum's favourite - but it's true. You'll be excited, fresh, and picture-perfect in your cute first-day-of-uni outfit, but by the end of the day you'll be sweating from running to-and-from opposite sides of the campus, and hating everyone - including yourself. Also, it's not the nicest feeling on your first day to walk in late to an auditorium of 300 people staring at you, and the lecturer making a 'late-joke' at your expense. You'll think to yourself, "300 people couldn't remember my face?" They will.
7. Try to keep your cool and avoid calling your parents or best friend after lunch crying because you've realised you totally hate what your studying and now you'll be working at your Sunday job for minimum wage for the rest of your life. It takes most people at least a few months to settle in and to have fully analysed their course and if they think their heading in the right direction. Also, its best to avoid panicking your parents who wished you had of gone into medicine like your Uncle Harry did, and the 'I told you so argument'. Give yourself some time, this is your degree, your career - your life.
About Liz Bowen
Elizabeth is currently a journalism student at Newcastle University. With great loves for the mediums of film, music, fashion, and popular culture; she spends her time researching and reviewing artists who have succeeded in their mission to inspire and connect with audiences.
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