Starting college was an extremely daunting experience for me. I had always found secondary school work handy enough but that was down to the fact I was able to rote learn for exams. However college is a different ball game. You had to understand the work and add to the conversation with you own findings and viewpoints. The academic readings where so difficult to understand too, and I found it was a bit much for me.
But here are things I wish I knew as a fresher to that would have helped move things along.
1. It’s Not School
Well Duh. Obviously it’s not school. But I still bared the same mindset that the lecturer was the authoritative figure and I was the child. It’s totally different. The lecturers see you as an adult with the responsibility of your own learning. For instance, most lectures will have 100s of students. They don’t know your name or your abilities yet. Therefore, it is down to you to approach them if your slipping through the cracks and struggling. They have office hours and will happily see you if your finding things hard or are struggling to settle in. A really good tip I was told recently is to make yourself known to the lecture and build a relationship with them. This way when they are grading your paper; you just aren’t a student number to them! You’re an actual person, which should swing to your advantage.
I really got stuck into the MU Drama Society in second semester and some of my best friends are in there now! I wish I had started earlier as it has really boosted my confidence, especially in groups of people and has lead to some wild nights out! It honestly is the best thing for you! I love MARS.fm, (the radio show) as I study media anyways, but it was my comfort zone. I was in a room with my friend chatting. Now for her it was a push because she hated public speaking! Be adventurous and really don’t hold back! It’s too amazing to miss out on!
3. Second semester is a Bitch!
Nobody prepares you for second semester. So I plead with you to make the most of your 1st semester. The workload doubles after Christmas and you don’t get the same amount of time to study for your exams. They really take things slow in the beginning so you’re not spooked by the reality of college. So go be free and make an eejit out of yourself. Remember- the more your progress in college, the tougher and the more work you get.
4. The Reading
The most difficult aspect of college for me was all of the reading. Scientific journals are not easy to read my friends!! It felt like I was trying to read the same page for centuries and it just didn’t make any sense in my head! However I seen the light! And it looked like “Text to speech reader online”. This got me through the year (I swear). All you have to do is select the text you want to read and it highlights it and reads it aloud for you to follow, You can pause it to take notes too! It’s free to download as a toolbar on google chrome so you have it sitting there whenever you need it! Definitely an essential.