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5 Things to Remember When Starting University

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When your first day of university finally does arrive, you will no doubt be extremely nervous. It is the first time that many people have to be “independent”. Although most US students are about as far from independent as it is possible to be, starting university often means the safety of home is no longer close at hand. But with a little courage and bravery, you will make it out of these next four years with some of the best times in your life! To help you get started, here are some tips for your first days of university.

1. Try to start university with an open mind.

If there is ever a time in your life when you should question everything you believe, it is now. When starting university, you will encounter lots of new people, ideas and ways of life, and you should try not to arrive with ANY preconceived notions about them. The habits that you might look at as weird at first, you could end up adopting and become a lifelong believer in.

2. Don’t be a social recluse.

My friends are always so proud about how they brought a full gaming platform and the biggest TV that can physically fit in their dorm. Whoop-de-do. If you define your happiness in college by the success of your World of Warcraft character, you are going to have a very miserable time. My advice would be, just don’t play video games. Or if you really want to, don’t play video games alone. Join clubs, talk to your dorm-mates, be sociable.

3. Take classes you are interested in.

This is actually pretty obvious for most US students. But it is still something worth mentioning. When starting university, don’t only take classes pertaining to your major. If you take the opportunity to sample different subjects, you might just stumble across something even more interesting. See what else is on offer, and if you’re not sure, speak to a lecturer to get some advice.

4. Take (calculated) risks!

You will never have the same sort of freedom as during your time at university. If you want to try mountain biking, do it! If you want to try your hand at comedy stand-up, do it! If you want to go paragliding, do it! You may never be able to take on these sort of risks again, and you don’t want to graduate without a good stock of good stories you can tell at cocktail parties for the boring post-college life.

5. Have fun.

I really tried to end with something less clichéd, but this is true: having fun is an important part of being a student. That said, as with all things in life, moderation is key. Its seems that there are two types of people in college: those who have too much fun at the cost of bad study habits, and those who spend too much time studying at cost of no social life. Both are equally bad. So when starting university, try to find a balance between the most fun you can have, while still maintaining your decent/good grades.

There you have it! The five things you need to know before starting university. This really could be the best years of your life, so don’t mess them up, and do awesome things!

Laura Bridgestock's profile image
Written by Felix von Wendorff
Felix von Wendorff studies econometrics as an international student at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. He grew up in California and moved to Germany to take advantage of the great (and free) education system. In his increasingly shrinking free time, he enjoys running, budget traveling and reading. 

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