Surviving University Life 101

By Najwa Shahirah Binti Rosdi

As I approach the end of my days at the university, I feel rather sentimental. And feeling regretful too (sometimes)… There are a number of things that I have learned during my time at the university that I wish I would have known during my first year.

Truth to be told, freshman (first year) year can be an intense adjustment period for most students. This is because first year of university is a phase of character building in the journey of getting a scroll. Along this wonderful journey, certainly, we might have made plenty of mistakes and have to learn hard life lessons.

Without doubt, university life can be a rollercoaster ride (but it does not have to be).

Thus, I have list down a few tips and hacks to get all of you to go through the most exciting yet frightening years of your life. 

Academically, you will need to do these:

  1. Make an outline for your papers. It does not have to be detailed but having one will help you keep on track when writing. It will only take you a few minutes to brainstorm one. 
  2. Set a smaller deadlines and stick to them. You might flounder if you decide to have your 2,000-word essay all done and edited for 20 December. But you might have an easier time deciding to have 500 words written by 1 December, 1,000 words by 8 December, 1500 words by 13 December, 2000 words on 17 December, and to edit it on the 19 December. These smaller deadlines have really helped me to get my work done and to not stress about deadlines. Splitting up my assignments into smaller chunks makes it more manageable. 
  3. E-mail your lecturers if you have questions. I used to find this so awkward. But. If you’re struggling with your work, inform them. Set an appointment with your lecturers and go to their office when they are in. Do not just simply sit there in confused silence. Knowledge do not simply fall on your lap. Seek them. If you don’t let them know, then they can’t help you. 
  4. Put important dates in your calendar. Whether it’s a psychical calendar on your journal or one on your phone/laptop, write down major dates on your calendar. It helps you to remember exam dates and assignments deadlines to hand in. 
  5. Revise constantly. During exams, everything is equal. Isn’t it frustrating to not being able to remember what you have read on the textbook the night before taking exam? Yes, revise, even just for ten minutes. It will help you to remember points. 

“Reading all these tips makes my brain hurts!

Well, don’t worry. Here are the tips to help you improve your well-being:

  1. Practice self-care. Most. Important. Thing. You. Need. To. Take. Care. Is. Yourself. Treat yourself. It doesn’t always have to be full days off with a spa day. It can be putting a face sheet mask after studying for hours. While waiting for it to dry, listen to some music or watch a movie. Always bear in mind, do not stop but know to rest. 
  2. Take hot drinks with you. Take hot drinks to your lectures or to library. Do not spend all your money in the library café. Bring a flask of tea and loads of study snacks in a packed lunch box. 
  3. Travel. If you’re not staying in university campus, do not let your life revolve around that one place. If you’ve travelled away from home to go to the university, then make it worthwhile. See the sights, be a tourist, get on a bus and go to random town and buy bubble tea. Make sure not to overspend your money!
  4. Eat well. I just said that you should not spend too much of your money but I think that food is one exception to that rule. Try and save money where you can, obviously but don’t go for days without fresh vegetables and fruits because you’re saving money for holiday. Your mind and body need food. 
  5. Be kind to everyone. You’re going to meet a lot of people at university. So don’t be mean. This isn’t high school. You’re all here to learn and there’s just no need to make people feel bad about themselves. 
  6. Reach out to friends and family. People tend to isolate themselves during exam season. While you definitely need to study, you also need to have social connections. Make a study date at your library or even get a coffee with a friend. 

With that being said, by reading these tips, I hope all IIUM students can get through university life with flying colours!***

Iylia Marsya Iskandar

Aspiring writer, books > movies.

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