- Put God first in all you do
Matthew 6:33 says seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Then all these things shall be added unto you (NKJV). My relationship with God has to be priority. Just because I have entered a new season in my life it doesn’t mean I should neglect God. University showed me that I need God more than ever. It showed me that I must honour God in all my ways. Be set apart. Be obedient. My relationship with God has definitely had its downs (especially first year) but walking with Christ is a journey.
- First year does count
You have heard it numerous amount of times that the first year of university doesn’t count towards your final grade… which is correct, but it can account for so much more! First year is the perfect time to nail your academic skills such as note-taking, essay writing and referencing. It is also the best time to work and save money, get an internship, travel and work on your own projects. You will have less time each year to do these things so use this time wisely.
- University is going to be a test of your character and endurance
This is where your character is formed. This is where you really get to see who you are and how you react. Situations make you realise that you don’t know yourself as well as you thought you did. On the flip side, you can choose to take those situations and let them make you a better person… so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve failed or made mistakes. Which brings me onto the next point…
- Don’t go crazy with your student loan money
I am guilty of overspending, repeatedly. Receiving a loan (and grant) was the first time I have ever seen so much money in my account so naturally, I got a bit excited. But, overtime I have learned to budget and apply some financial discipline (I’m still getting better at it). As Hebrews 12:11 puts it: Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (NKJV).
- Believe in yourself and your abilities.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- It’s okay if everyone is not your “friend”
Don’t take it to heart if someone says ‘hi’ to you one minute and the next they act like they don’t know you. Our energy and time are too precious to worry about sometime-ish people. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
- Stay away from/avoid drama at all costs
Don’t do it. This isn’t secondary school anymore. Leave the beef and gossiping behind. If you can’t reason as adults then you need to grow up. Nothing is worse than petty arguments with people who aren’t even really worth it.
- Prioritize your time
This is so important to being productive at university. Make time for everything you need and want to do, remembering to include your ‘down time’.
- Make sure you enjoy your course
I wrote an article for Kettle Mag called ‘5 things I would tell someone considering studying journalism‘. The same principles apply for all courses in terms of researching your degree beforehand, choosing a degree you are passionate about and being aware of what to expect and what is expected of you.
- Get involved
Don’t just come to university to get a degree and go. There are so many things to do and opportunities to take that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. Go to events, join societies or volunteer. Especially, go for opportunities/roles you don’t feel qualified for. You never know what may come from it!
- Don’t follow the hype
Or in the words of Gucci Mane, don’t get ‘lost in the sauce.’
- Make investments in your future
Try to balance your university work with your side hustle. Of course, you need to remain focused on your studies but, you won’t get this much time and flexibility if you’re working a 9-5. Set aside a couple of hours to work on your blog, podcast, business or whatever it may be.
- Get to know yourself
Spend some times getting to know who you are, your weaknesses and strengths. The more self-aware you are, the more resilient you become.
- Take advantage of resources and contacts. University is the hub of talent, professionals, resources and opportunities. Make use of them! You are paying £9k per year, after all.
- Don’t neglect your life before uni. Make quality time for your family, friends and other activities you used to do before you came to uni. If they mean that much to you, you will invest time in them.
- Pick yourself up from failure. You will come up short at least once in your academics or in one area of your life whilst at university but it is not the end of the world. Choose to take a positive perspective. “A failure is never just a failure, it’s always a lesson.”
- ALWAYS do assignments once you get them
I’ve learnt this the painful way. Staying up until the morning, knowing your work will be mediocre but still trying to submit something anyway – it’s a losing battle. Make up your mind on the topic, start to planning and reading as soon as you get it and discuss ideas with tutors and get on with it. If you start early you have the opportunity to write many essay plans/drafts as you need with constant feedback.
- Ask for help
Don’t feel embarrassed about anything. We’re all students in the same boat. You wouldn’t have made it this far if you didn’t have some knowledge in you. No question or comment is too silly. Don’t let a supposed know-it-all intimidate you. I’m sure you’ve come across that one person who speaks with so much confidence but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know it all.
- Get a study group or partner
Trust me, you don’t want to do this alone. In fact, it’s not wise to struggle all on your own. Find at least one friend you can work with in the library.
- It’s great to be enthusiastic about your course!
Over the years, I have watched my course mates shamelessly beg friend tutors, ask a ton of questions in class and flaunt their knowledge. You don’t have to go to the pub with your lecturers (especially if that’s not your thing) but you can have casual chat and discuss your work with them during office hours. Show them that you care about you studies. Lecturers secretly love when students seek their help because it demonstrates your enthusiasm and ambition to do well. It can be beneficial to create a good rapport with your lecturers in the long run, expecially for positive references!
- Have fun!