Maybe you were class prefect in secondary school. You may have graduated in the top percentile of your graduating class; maybe you were even valedictorian. Possibly you were in a class or group of high scorers. On the other hand, maybe you didn’t do so well in secondary school. Really, it doesn’t generally make a difference what you could or couldn’t achieve in secondary school as you make the move to university. Secondary school achievement (or the absence of it) doesn’t just consequently apply to your university experience and this should serve as a form of assurance for those who had it rough.
You begin school with a clean scholastic slate, alongside a great deal of freedom and a bunch of discriminating choices as you start the move into adulthood. The choices that you make and the moves you make amid your first year of school will have a noteworthy effect on whatever remains of your school experience.
According to some statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), just around 700,000 students get selected in all Nigerian universities in any year. Another 600,000 are enlisted in polytechnics and schools of instruction in any year. These statistics are not intended to drive away or remove any of the delight, fervor, and expectation you feel about attending a university. An incredible inverse! Having made it to your school’s admission list, the statistics prove how lucky you are to be a fresh undergraduate student despite the difficulties associated with getting admitted into school in Nigeria.
This article is about the things you have to do to survive your first year of school, as well as to flourish and thrive in school. Also, a hefty portion of the important tools, abilities and skills mentioned in this article can not only be utilized to help you succeed in school, but in your future vocation as well.
The initial couple of weeks on the school campus are to a great degree critical for every single new student. It is during this time that you settle on a lot of critical and important choices that will have an impact on the remaining part of your life. Some of these 25 tips are basic steps to take during your first weeks, while the others are implied for long term direction and survival. Whatever you do, attempt to make the most of your school encounter as much as you can. Expect to feel some anxiety and itchiness to want to be home again, but don’t let these initial feelings of homesickness to wear you out.
Strategies to Help You Survive Your First Year in School
1. Go to all introductory ceremonies and orientations organized by the school authorities.
Do you truly need to attend yet another school orientation or tour? Yes. The quicker you learn your way around the campus – and around all the formality – the calmer you’ll feel and the better set up you’ll be when issues emerge.
2. Become more acquainted with your room mates and others in your residential area.
The individuals you live with, a large portion of whom are experiencing comparable and similar encounters and feelings, are your primary safety net – this first year, as well as for every one of your years. You may change room mates as time goes on, yet, simply take the time to become acquainted with your kindred first-year undergraduates.
3. Become more organized.
In secondary school, your tutors had a tendency to lead you through all the homework and deadlines for submission. In the university, your lecturers will not give a damn whether you do your assignments or not and this can cause a lot of students to lack seriousness in school. Lecturers post the assignments – frequently for the whole semester – and anticipate that you will be ready. Purchase a big wall calendar or plan book – whatever it takes for you to plan more effectively and be organized.
4. Locate the perfect spots for you to study.
It might be your hostel or apartment or a comfy corner of the library, yet discover a place that works best for you to accomplish your work effectively – while evading as many distractions as possible. Once you discover a place that works best for you, use this place as often as you can for your studies.
5. Go to class and attend lectures.
Self-evident and obvious, isn’t that so? Possibly, however resting in a little more on your bed and avoiding that 7 am class will be enticing on some occasions. Stay away from the temptation and ensure you don’t miss classes as much as you can. Other than assimilating the material by going to classes, you’ll likewise get basic data from the lecturers about what’s in store on tests or exams, changes in deadlines, and so forth.
6. Turn into a specialist when it comes to course necessities and deadlines.
Lecturers especially university professors put in a long stretch of time planning course syllabi and timetables so you will know precisely what is anticipated from you – and when. One of the lamest reasons an undergraduate student can give a lecturer for not being able to meet a deadline is: “I didn’t have any knowledge that it was due today.”
7. Meet with your lecturers and get to know them.
You can be guaranteed that there are many advantages of becoming acquainted with your lecturers. This will be particularly helpful if later in the semester you run into a few obstacles. Lecturers plan available time called office hours for the sole motivation behind meeting with students. Exploit that time as much as you can and you won’t regret it. One caveat is that some lecturers are not so friendly, so unless you can figure out away to bring down their defenses and get them to give you some of their time, it might be best to just focus on being present in their classes.
8. Become more acquainted with your academic adviser.
This is the individual who will help you with course clashes and conflicts, adding or dropping courses, booking of classes for future semesters, deciding on specializations. This individual is a key asset for you – and ought to be the individual you swing to with any academic issues or clashes. What’s more, don’t be apprehensive about asking for another adviser in the event that you don’t click with the one initially allotted to you.
9. Endeavor to find a balance.
School life is a blend of social and academic happenings and events. Try not to tip the equalization too far in either bearing. A particular student constantly used to say her mantra was to “study hard so she could play hard.”
10. Be involved on campus.
A major issue for a considerable measure of new undergraduates is a blend of nostalgia and an inclination of not exactly having a place. An answer? Think about joining a select group – and be mindful so as not to go over the edge – of student associations and clubs. It is also advisable to join a religious group depending on your religious inclinations. You’ll make new companions, learn new aptitudes, and feel more connected with your school.
11. Do your best to get good grades from the start.
Another clear one here, isn’t that so? Keep in mind the expressions in the opening section of this article; while good grades might have worked out easily for you in secondary school, you will need to acquire them with more effort in the university – and that implies setting a few goals and objectives for yourself and doing all you possibly can to accomplish them.
12. Exploit the study assets and resources available on campus.
Pretty much, all schools and institutions have libraries, learning labs and mentors accessible. In case you’re having a few troubles, these assets are another apparatus accessible to you. Another thought: form study groups.
13. Set aside time for you.
Put aside time and activities that help you unwind and take the stress of your day or week. Whether its enrolling in a gym or fitness center for weekly exercise, viewing your most loved TV programs, or writing in a diary, be kind to yourself.
14. Don’t feel compelled to make any hasty decision about a selective course.
It doesn’t matter if it seems as though everyone else seems to know what they’re doing with their lives, many actually don’t. The university is the time and place for you to really discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. It’s not a race; take your time and enjoy exploring your options.
15. Take complete responsibility for everything you do.
Don’t look to place the blame on others for whatever mistakes you make in school while trying to find your bearing in life; own up to them without over-personalizing or trying hard to justify them and move on. Being an adult means taking responsibility for everything that happens to you.
16. Make connections with your classmates.
A particular student said his technique in the first week of classes was to meet at least one new person in each of his classes. It expanded his network of friends and was a crucial resource at times when he had to miss a class and needed to be kept informed or update his notes. Besides, no one knows tomorrow, you never know when you may need the other person’s help.
17. Start preparing your career path on time.
Regardless of whether you are entering the university with your entire future mapped out, don’t hesitate to seek and explore fresh information about yourself with professional advice as well and get started on planning, preparing, and acting on your future.
18. Don’t procrastinate; prioritize your life and manage your time.
It may have been easy in secondary school to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment and still get a good grade, but that kind of stuff will not work for you in the university. Give yourself deadlines — and make sure stick to them. You are now responsible for yourself.
19. Eat right and stay healthy
A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiraling effect. Get enough sleep, make some time for exercise, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven’t heard the jokes about university food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or junk food. Stay healthy and try as much as possible to eat balanced meals. Manage the money you have no matter how little in such a way that you can at least one healthy balanced meal a day.
20. Learn how to cope with homesickness.
It’s only natural that there will be times when you miss your family, even if you fall into the category of those who couldn’t wait to get away from home. Find a way to deal with those feelings of home-sickness, such as making a phone call to those at home often.
21. Stay on campus as much as you can.
Whether it’s wanting to get a better feeling of independence, homesickness, a job or business, or a boyfriend or girlfriend from home, try not to leave campus too soon or too often. The closer you are to the hub, the easier it will be to cope and thrive. The more time you spend on getting to know the campus and your new friends, the more you’ll feel at home at school. And why not take advantage of all the educative, cultural and social events that happen on campus?
22. Seek professional help when in need of it.
Most universities are expected to have health and counseling centers. Some actually have these facilities and some don’t. If you’re sick or feeling isolated or depressed, please take advantage of the many health care services that are available to students. You don’t have to face these issues by yourself or prescribe solutions based on speculations.
23. Keep track of your money with as much discipline as possible.
If you’ve never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money – and as best you can, avoid all those unnecessary expenses that come as a result of temptation to “try out”. Spend frugally and wisely. Managing your money well is a skill you will benefit from in the future, so take the time to develop it now.
24. Don’t cut corners for any reasons.
University is all about learning. If you procrastinate and cram, you may still do well on tests, but you’ll learn very little. Even worse, don’t cheat on term papers, tests and exams. These things have a way of catching up with us in future. Discipline yourself to do things the right way.
25. Be prepared to feel overwhelmed and overstressed.
There’s likely going to be a lot going on in your life right now as you make the transition into the university. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way and feeling optimistic that you can survive and thrive.
You’ve done all the preparatory work — you’ve gotten good grades in your secondary school certificate examinations, scored well on on your UTME and post UTME screening examinations and have been accepted into the university you want to attend — so enjoy all your hard work while laying the groundwork for a successful university academic career. Don’t be a statistic; be determined to make it through your freshman / first year — and beyond. Take advantage of your social network of classmates, new friends, lecturers and professors, have fun while learning as much as you can, and get the most out of your university experience. Most of what you get from the university and what the university imparts on you are what will make or mar you for the rest of your life.