Starting university or TAFE can be a bit of a challenge, it’s a new experience, with new teachers, new friends, a new campus – everything is NEW and with the unknown, naturally there will be stresses involved but if you can harness that nervous energy and change it to excitement then you will find Uni and TAFE will be some of the best years you’ll ever have.
Here are my top tips for surviving your first year at Uni and TAFE.
Get to know your campus like the back of your hand
Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore… telling your professors or teachers you are late because you couldn’t find the lecture room isn’t going to fly at Uni or TAFE and you don’t want to start the year off on a bad foot with your teachers so make sure you get well acquainted with your surroundings. Start with the main buildings where you will have most of your classes then make a mental map of the library, your favourite café and the computer labs. There will probably be a map on the campus website so don’t be afraid to print that off and use it as your Uni bible until you are familiar with the grounds.
Make an effort to make new friends
You will begin to see a few familiar faces in class as the months go on and making new friends is all part of the Uni/TAFE experience, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation or make plans to catch up with these familiar faces after class. You will meet some lifelong friends at Uni, you just have to be open to it.
Ask for help if and when you need it
We as humans put a hell of a lot of pressure on ourselves, to the point where if we don’t understand something or we just aren’t getting the class we tend to internalise our feelings rather than speaking up and asking for help. This can not only be detrimental for our future learning but also detrimental for our growth into adulthood. You should never be ashamed to ask for help, reach out to your lecturers, classmates, tutors and support staff – trust me they want to see you succeed and will do everything in their power to help you do so.
Don’t use being busy, tired or stressed as an excuse to let your health falter. Make sure you are finding the time to exercise and eat healthily, it’s possible you will be going out more and on a stricter budget but that is no excuse to drop your fruit and vegetable intake, without your health you have nothing so ensure you are keeping your body healthy so your mind is also in tip top shape for your first year of Uni or TAFE.
Learn to balance your work/life/school commitments
It is so easy to become burnt out in your first year of Uni or Tafe (see why the above point is so important) so you must learn to prioritise your commitments, and while school must be top of that list you must also find the time to de-stress relax and take some YOU time. It’s OK to say no to dinner out during the week or no to the party that’s on Friday night because you are tired. Learning to say no is powerful and it will also give you the chance to prioritise what’s important that week and recharge your battery for the week ahead. Depending on your course you may also find you have a lot of free time up your sleeve, so make sure you use that time wisely. You will need to balance working, seeing your friends and all of your study time and assessments so learning to plan out your week will help you make sure you have time for everything including some down time to binge watch Netflix or head to the beach.
Just remember not to be too hard on yourself, there are going to be days when you feel like giving up but just remember it will take some time to settle in to your new life, be organised, motivated and prepared and you will love your new school life!