You did it.
You defeated the boss called Advanced Levels. You vanquished the Demogoron that is known the HSC exams. Like the hero or heroine you are, you ride proudly towards that enchanted castle of your dreams, clutching your results triumphantly (or a bit sheepishly, it doesn’t matter), the magic words Uni life awaits, glittering in your eyes.
You’re free. You’re your own man (or woman). You dream of a life to live, a love to ﬁnd, and to make friends to last a lifetime.
Not so fast, sonny Jim (daughter Jill? This writer doesn’t know the female equivalent, apologies).
There’s a couple of rules that one might wish to impart on these such freshers’. The words of wisdom, your personal Yoda/ slightly more helpful Dumbledore, if you will. Alright, so maybe this writer may not be as qualiﬁed to help (she’s in her third year yet people still get surprised to hear this), but she will damn well try so you might as well scroll down and read through this.
You’re all procrastinating on your homework anyway.
It may not come as a surprise to anyone, but university life is all about the networking, and making friends. They’ll help you get the notes, the connections and basically make everything easier. Don’t be too scared if you don’t get your #squad immediately, give it time to develop. Trust me, I was worried the ﬁrst one month in my university because I seemed unable to make friends. However, the moment classes started up proper, I realized somewhere along the way I had made myself an entire posse of fellow human beings.
Nothing bonds humankind better than a shared suﬀering of pop quizzes, tutorials, mid terms, coursework and assessments.
There is no hierarchy of popularity:
Remember high-school and its cliques and food chains and the ‘popular’ crowd? Well, that is all eliminated in university. It’s all ground zero here, honey; you can start up from scratch. No one has to know what your ﬁrst form looked like, whether you were an awkward kid in school who barely had a friend or a congenital talkative child. The only thing you’re going to have to do is present your ﬁnal (ish) evolution to your new batch mates, who don’t, frankly, know any better. It’s all in the illusion; you gotta fake it fill you make it.
However, it will not really serve you to be seen as a show oﬀ. Don’t bring guitars to a class unless you can properly play it. There’s nothing more annoying that trying to relax in the cafeteria and have some fresher try to impress you by twanging at his guitar like he’s the next John Wayne. It usually makes the senior girls want to break that guitar into a thousand trillion pieces. So yeah, not a good plan.
Respect your seniors:
This is kind of contradictory seeing as I just told you there were no hierarchies of popularity, but there is a sort of boundary line between freshers’, juniors and the seniors. Sure, you could get a batch of seniors who are sweethearts and help you with everything from notes on lessons to dating advices, but it’s always a good idea to be respectful of your seniors. You never know when you might end up with a particular senior brother who takes everything way too seriously, including that time you forgot to say hello while on your way to your ﬁfth class of the day and decides to drag you out of class and give you a lecture on respect and “there is a system in this place and you must respect it, Adiba, how many times must I tell you this?”
Ignore that ﬂashback please.
Join clubs, teams. Volunteer:
As stated before, if you want to make friends in university, you are going to have to put yourself out there. And that does mean taking yourself out of your comfort zone. There’s a Boishakhi function coming up? Volunteer for it. Extend your helping hand for the deco, crafting or if you’re talented and brave enough, get up on stage and put yourself out there. The more you do this, the more chances there are of you being noticed by the professors, which will deﬁnitely help you in procuring a much needed character reference. Joining the debate team, MUN clubs, drama groups. All these introduce you to a bigger ﬁeld of people and seniors, thus giving you a wider net to cast, a wider network of communication that will ultimately help you more in the future.
Enjoy yourself, but remember to stay up to date with studies:
I think I have to be a bit serious now. Sure, university is pretty enjoyable as compared to what fresh hell school was (for this writer at least) but you also have to remember this is, for a lot of people, the very last stage because you have to go on and do adult things. Scary adult things. Like taxes.
Likewise, everyone wants their CGPA to look good; better CGPA means a better job and other adult things. So, while we may be tempted to bunk a couple of classes, to play table tennis or do something or the other, it really can be counterintuitive for you.
Classes are important. Don’t skip classes. This isn’t school; no one will force you to attend classes, do your homework, study. But guess what? Exam day will still be there; and this time expectations are higher. These grades might very well aﬀect your future.
Okay, wow that was a bit worrying, wasn’t it? Rest assured, existential crises are common in university, but try not to let that bother you too much. There is life to still be lived, holidays to enjoy, and often, the present fear of hunting for a job can be exhilarating. If nothing else, university opens up so many pathways, so many doors.
Don’t worry if you feel left behind. You’re not standing still; you’re simply lying in wait.
I was supposed to write only ﬁve points, and it really is diﬃcult to encompass the milieu of various life hacks and tips and trade secrets one needs to get by in university. But let me let you in a little secret: everyone is confused. Everyone is scared. Everyone, from the near-graduation senior and the freshest freshman entering the gates, are confused, scared, excited. You’re not alone.
So go out there, young padawan, good luck and kick some ass.