As my time at UBC comes to an end and I’m facing the real world, I figured I’d share my tips for surviving college as someone who’s been through it all! I really felt that my time in UBC was the best few years of my life, but it certainly had it’s ups and downs. For any of y’all out there about to start university or on track to graduate, I figured I’d share some of the best tips I’ve learned along the way!
- Put yourself out there! SO cliché, but it’s true. University is scary for everyone at first, even for those who look like they’re handling it well. Having friends in university, apart from the obvious social benefits, can really help when you need support in class or in life.
- For those of you who are super shy, I was totally in the same boat in when I first started at UBC. My best tip is to swallow your fears for 10 seconds and just say SOMETHING. It’s a lot easier once you’ve gotten the conversation started.
- It’s never too late for anything. I joined my sorority in my second year, and didn’t finalize which major I wanted until my fourth. There’s no problem with being a little late to something! Age in university doesn’t really matter. Just go for it.
- Try something new. Whether it’s a club or a class, you’ll never know what you’re interested in if you don’t try. I started university dead set on going into film, and finished with a degree in psychology looking to be a wedding planner! I would never have discovered either of those things if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone.
- Failing one class, or doing poorly in your first year, isn’t the end of the world. I’ve failed classes in my time in university and I still made it through. So many of my friends who struggled deeply in first year ended up with amazing grades and job prospects. You’ll be okay.
- Make your dorm/apartment feel like home! Because at least for right now, it is. You’re more likely to feel comfortable and less homesick if you feel at home where you are.
- Meal prep is key. Obviously if you have a cafeteria in first year, this won’t apply to you right off the bat. But it’s nearly impossible to stay in the habit of eating healthy if you’re cooking every meal every day. University is busy–use your time wisely.
- Take a break every once in a while! Mental health and reducing stress is just as important to doing well in school as studying is. You’re not going to ruin your life over one night off.
- Sleep is just as important to doing well on an exam as studying is. If it’s the night before an exam and you think that pulling an all-nighter will be more beneficial than a good night’s rest — it probably won’t be. You need sleep to stay alert and maintain at your best mental functioning, as well as the fact that we appear to consolidate memories in our sleep — meaning you may not know as much, but at least you’ll remember what you know better.
- Stick to a schedule! It’s your first time on your own and it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by all the freedom. However, creating a routine will improve your overall functioning as well as scheduling study time/work outs/cleaning days will help you stay on top of things. That being said — your schedule shouldn’t be too strict that you’ll miss out on what could be a great memory just because you were “supposed” to be doing something else!
- Things that seem like the end of the world in the moment likely won’t matter in a day, a few weeks, or by the time you graduate. Hell, you may not even remember whatever it was somewhere down the road. We all mess up sometimes, just remember to keep your chin up and keep yourself accountable. Especially if it has to do with another person’s feelings — being kind is always the most important thing.
- If you think you don’t have time for making friends, or that grades are the only thing that matters, just remember: one day you’ll graduate and need to find a job. Connections are key.
- That being said, it can be easy to get caught up in socializing and forget what you’re here to do–get a degree. Make sure you have a good work/life balance.
- Keeping a clean room helps to keep a clear mind.
- Unsure if you want a roommate or not first year? It might seem like a good way to have one guaranteed friend, but let me tell you: that much togetherness puts a lot of strain on anyone, especially in such a novel and turbulent time of your life like first year. My first year roommate and I got along so horribly in first year that I almost switched rooms, but 5 years down the road we’re now friends. If we hadn’t had to share such close quarters we honestly probably would have never had issues with each other. Consider this carefully if you’re considering living with a friend.
- Everyone acts like everyone matures instantly when they arrive at college and suddenly drama doesn’t exist anymore. This isn’t true and honestly no matter how old you get probably never will be. Just try your best to stay out of it and focus on being the best version of yourself. It’s always better to take the high road.
- And above all, this is your time to figure out who you are. College is a short but definitional period in becoming the person you’re meant to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others expect of you, but odds are you won’t be the same person after college as you were when you started. Try to stop focusing on what people want from you and take these years to learn what you want from yourself. And of course, most importantly, have fun!