Starting college or university is such an exciting time because we tend to have more freedom than what we had when we were in high school. Also, we are now officially adults, but do not have that many responsibilities yet.
It is basically the best time of our lives once we get used to it. At this point of time we will learn how to balance so many assignments, clubs, social life, and if you have a part time job, that too.
We also learn that every college or university student is on the same boat because we all have sleepless nights, some more than others, and we eventually acquire the ability to write bulls**t for assignments at the last minute.
One thing everyone experiences is that we all mature and learn something from pursuing tertiary studies - if somebody told you how to in advance, that is.
Now that the new year is just around the corner and a lot of you out there are probably preparing to go to college, here are five things nobody tells you about starting your new life away from home:
1. You will be overwhelmed on the first day, and the second … well, basically the whole first semester
College and university can be scary at first because there are so many people from different backgrounds and you would probably be there alone trying to find your footing in this whole situation. You are all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to start tertiary education with such excitement but soon, there will be a weight on you that you cannot quite shake off.
The weight of finding new friends, of getting to classes on time and understanding them, the weight of getting that perfect picture taken for your student ID, and many other stresses of starting this new phase - all in the first week or so. Don't panic, it's absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed. Join as many orientation events and other social events as you can. It would be fun, plus you’ll find more friends that way! You’ll get comfortable faster also.
2. Tutors will make you introduce yourself like you’re in primary school
When you think you’re done with those days when you embarrassingly stand up in front of the whole class and introduce yourself, think again. Instead of just saying your name and all that jazz, the tutors would probably ask you to do that and say one exciting thing you did before you started your tertiary studies, introduce the person beside you and say five interesting things about them, say something you look forward to in the subject, or all of the above.
It may suck but all of us have to go through it and this whole introductory thing only lasts for that first tutorial. The good thing is that it takes up half of the tutorial time anyway. And you get to know the name of the cute boy/girl you've been eyeing.
3. Everyone will ask you what you are majoring in. A lot!
One of the first questions you would get when you first enter tertiary studies is: “What’s your major?”. It is a good conversation starter and if you already have a major and you know you are going to stick to it for the next three or four years, then good for you. If you do not have a major yet, then it is fine. You usually do not have to be set on or decide your major until the second year (again, usually).
The most stressful decision you can make is choosing the wrong major because of the pressure from family members, friends or society in general. For some cases, with Asian parents, that can be very hard to do but it is ultimately up to you because it is your future but of course, do not disrespect your parents at the same time. Find a balance.
4. You will fall victim to 'Freshman 15'
What is 'Freshman 15', you ask? It’s the myth that in the first year of college/university, you will gain 15 pounds, which is about 7kg. And the scary thing about this myth is: it's real, and it could happen very easily. We guarantee that you'll pile up on the kgs if you do not know how to eat right. Tertiary studies are really stressful and all of us are bound to binge eat or do some heavy snacking whenever we have exams or assignments.
To avoid the extra weight, exercise regularly and take the time to eat healthily and remind yourself to stay healthy. Studying until late at night is very common so all those late night adventures to the mamak
will also add to your weight also. Add only three hours of sleep to the equation and you'll get the 'Freshman 15' in no time.
5. You will get lost on campus. A lot!
No matter how big or small your campus is, you will definitely get lost and you will definitely have trouble finding your way. If you are lucky enough, friendly people will guide you to where you are supposed to go. If not, you are bound to enter the wrong lecture theatre at one point and that is totally normal.
If you ever find yourself in that situation, just keep calm and composed and find the right lecture theatre. Don't be afraid to approach your
college mates to ask for directions. For the first few weeks or so, carry a campus map around. Also, it is better if you familiarise yourself with the campus and find out where all your lecture theaters are located before classes actually start.