So you've done it - after what's likely been years of relentless preparation, research, studying and maybe even interviews or entrance examinations, you're entering the realm of higher education at last. When you first start out at university, it can very much feel daunting, and that's inevitable - but the fear doesn't have to be all-consuming. While the university experience differs from person to person, here are some tips that should help whoever - and wherever - you are.
It's your first year of university - nobody will expect you to know everything about everything, and neither should you. Though you're likely just a few years older than you were when you left secondary school, the gap between the two stages can feel too wide to bridge. Take it slow! Don't push yourself too hard when the stress of adapting to a completely new environment is enough of a burden.
Put In The Effort (But Don't Burn Out)
You'll probably have to slog through an early-morning class at some point in your university career, and it'll not be fun at all. The temptation to just sleep in and skip class will be all too strong, but don't give in. Simply showing up to class is the bare minimum, even if you don't engage in discussions or ask questions, and being absent will almost always negatively affect how your professor sees you. Splash your face with cold water and take a nap later in the day, but be there and do your best and you're already halfway there.
But don't sacrifice your well-being for academic excellence. No matter whether you resorted to them in secondary school, all-nighters are just not worth it - never have been, never will be. Sleep is essential to staying alert and ready to learn, and going with too little of it can deal a blow to your health.
In the same vein, know how much effort to put into all your assignments so you don't burn yourself out. For example, it's okay to skim a reading instead of examining it in detail, but not to throw a research paper together the night before it's due.
Take Care Of Yourself
If your diet was poor in secondary school from juggling classes and deadlines, don't let it get any worse in university. Get your fair share of fibre, protein and vitamins, and try not to go to class with your stomach empty. There's enough to think about without a growling belly. Be sure to drink water every hour or so - actual water, not soft drinks or several cups of coffee. It can be a challenge to stay healthy when there's already so much on your plate, but snacking on an apple every other day does more than you think.
Self-care isn't just indulging in something you enjoy once in a while, but doing something you might not like because it'll help you in the future - and nowhere demonstrates this as much as university. Much like self-love, you'll be freer than you've ever felt before in university, but that freedom will come with responsibility. As long as you maintain that balance, you're all set.