Getting adjusted to first year of college or university is one of the biggest challenges you'll face growing up. It doesn't matter what you did in high school, or how well you did it. Post-secondary is a different ball game. You may have had top grades or represented your high school as valedictorian, but guess what? Chances are the people in your program have some pretty amazing accomplishments, too. You'll be competing with the cr├¿me de la cr├¿me from across the country.
In post-secondary, education and expectations are different. Here, everyone starts with a clean slate.
According to a recent Statistics Canada report, Persistence in Post-Secondary Education in Canada, about 14 percent of first-year students drop out and don't complete their studies. So, how can you make sure this isn't you?
1. Attend frosh week
Not only is frosh week an opportunity for you to meet other first-year students and have lots of fun, you'll also learn your way around your campus. By getting familiar with your campus, you'll know where to go and the proper person to speak to if an issue ever arises.
2. Go to class
The temptation to skip class is strong, especially if you were up late the night before, and have a ridiculously early class. Make an effort to attend your classes. In addition to learning the material, you'll also learn about what your professors expect for your upcoming essays and assignments, what to anticipate on your tests and exams, and changes in due dates.
3. Get organized and plan ahead
Every professor will provide you with course syllabus that include all assignments and due dates for the course. Take the time to add all your due dates into your calendar so you don't miss any of your deadlines. During crunch-time, you'll find that you have several assignments, tests, and exams all at once. It's imperative to plan ahead and begin your assignments and studying in advance so you don't feel overwhelmed later on.
4. Use the study resources available at your school
All schools have a variety of programs in place to ensure your academic success, like peer tutors and writing labs. Find out what's available at your school and take advantage of the services. Doing so can make a significant difference in your grades.
5. Visit your career centre
Seek out the assistance of the career professionals at your school. They're a wonderful resource that can assist you in planning and mapping out your career and academic path.
6. Eat healthy
In order to fulfill the academic expectations of university and college, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential. A healthy body is important not only to perform physical activities, but it's necessary in performing mentally stimulating ones, too. Stamina is important'you'll need it to endure the long hours you'll be spent studying to ensure you don't fall behind.
Getting adjusted to your new schedule and academic expectation is stressful. Schedule exercise into your weekly routine (and it doesn't have to be a rigorous one). Exercise will not only help you burn calories; it will make you feel better, allowing you to focus better on your studies.
Most post-secondary students stay up late studying, surfing the net, watching TV, or socializing. It's recommended to have seven to eight hours of sleep every night. So make sure you're rested for your lectures and, more importantly, your exams.
Although adjusting to life as a post-secondary student isn't easy, it can be a lot of fun. Some of my most cherished memories are from my years as an undergrad. So while you're taking the necessary actions to make sure you're on your game, don't forget to take time out for yourself and enjoy the ride.