10 Tips for a Successful First Year

Image by clpo13, Flickr

Image by clpo13, Flickr


1. Eat well

Being a victim of the Freshman 15 is never good. Since you don’t have a schedule that starts and ends at the same time like high school, you may end up skipping meals or eating at abnormal times. If you don’t watch what you eat, you’ll end up a few pounds heavier. Not only will it make it more difficult to fit into your favourite pair of pants, but it will also have detrimental effects on your health. You’ll become lethargic and irritable, making it more difficult to concentrate on your studies.

2. Exercise

In university, you’re always going to feel tired. This will make it really difficult for you to muster up the energy to go and exercise. Force yourself to find the time to exercise every week. It can be a 30 minute jog or a full workout session in the gym every few days. Students who exercise do better on tests and exams than inactive students. Combined with a good diet, it can help keep the lethargy away and keep you motivated to study.

3. Relax

You’re not in high school anymore. University is extremely stressful. When you feel like you’re being suffocated by all the work, take a moment to breathe. Grades and staying on top of your work are important, but keeping your mental sanity is even more so. When studying, take a 10 minute break every hour. It helps keep you from stressing out too much and also helps you retain information. If you feel too stressed, take the day off or seek professional help. This is only your first year of university. Enjoy it!


4. Introduce yourself to the person sitting beside you in class.

Not knowing anyone else in class is not fun, especially when your prof decides to give you a group project. Before class, introduce yourself and chat with the person sitting beside you. Follow up by meeting up after class for a cup of coffee. Having a friend in each class is really important in case you miss a class or need help on an assignment. Outside of class, you’ll always have somebody to grab a bite to eat or drink with. Everyone is different and it may be more difficult for some people to warm up to you. You will meet people who don’t like interacting with others at all. If someone is not agreeable, sit somewhere else in class and introduce yourself to someone new.

5. Join in

There is a club for everything in university. Sign up for clubs that interest you and you can meet plenty of new friends who have the same interests. Attend events around school like football games, concerts and film festivals. Not only will you meet new people, but it might also peak your interest in something new.


6. Get to know your professor

Your professor is going to be one of the most important people you know. You can ask them questions and get feedback so you can do better in their class. If you maintain a good relationship with them after the course is over, they’ll also help you get a job by giving you letters of recommendation, or even notifying you of opportunities.

7. Make use of your school’s resources

Your school offers plenty of free resources like career centres, counselling and workshops. Make use of these to help you get a job or improve your essay writing skills. It’s always good to find ways to improve yourself.

8. Take interesting electives

Don’t take a course just because it’s an “easy A.” Your GPA may be spectacular, but you wasted thousands on a useless course. Take courses that really interest you. Unless you’re actually interested in the “history of meteorology” or “contemporary gemology,” take an elective that you like. If it’s something you really enjoy, the assignments will be a breeze and good grades will follow suit.


9. Budget your money

Tuition is expensive. Transportation is expensive. University food is expensive. Everything is really expensive. A lot of students are thousands of dollars in debt after university and spend several years trying to pay it off. Don’t be one of these unlucky folks – start budgeting so you can more easily manage any debt you may accumulate. That doesn’t mean you should stop having fun altogether, but learn to be smart with your money.

10. Work hard AND play hard

The biggest regret of someone who partied too hard in university is that they didn’t study enough. Someone who studied too much wishes they would’ve partied more. Learn from their mistakes and find a good equilibrium. Enjoy your youth but also prepare yourself for the future. Good luck and have fun during your next few years of school!

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