What first year varsity experience has taught me

By Farah Nisa Sa’adon

First year in university is an important time frame as we are entering a new phase of life. First year can be miserable, happy, sad or excited depending on how one defines it. There are a lot to learn in this short period of time.

Family, friends, lecturers, group mates and classmates are all important people in our first year. I learned that every one of them has taught me something that one would not often get especially in the first year at varsity. They taught me experiences that were beyond my imagination.

I found my emotions were always subjected to the ups and downs. There was a time I felt happy, there were times where I felt very stressed out. Crying after a long difficult day was normal, but that did make me grow stronger. In addition to that, online classes were stressful as well, but I really had no choice but learned to cope with that.

Good circle of friends

In high school, they never taught us like how university life experience had taught us. Unlike in high school, we are pretty much independent, far away from parents and family. Friends are like families. First year had taught me that choosing the right friends can mean so much in surviving university life. A good circle of friends can guide you not only in life but also in your studies. I was blessed to meet friends who were always there when I needed them in different circumstances.

How to manage time

First year also taught me how to manage my time especially because I spent the rest of my second semester through online remote classes which many of us had not expected that to happen. Home is my comfort zone especially my own room where I like to mostly chill and watch Netflix. The last time I studied in my room was during my SPM year, hence I did not feel the study vibe in my room.

Note that we were having almost two months of semester break. Hence, I needed to adjust my time, my lifestyle and work around online classes. I tried not to skip breakfast and got ready in front of my laptop with a glass of iced coffee before the first class of the day started. Of course, there were times that I did not have the time to do all that but Alhamdulillah, I survived my first year.

Note taking

example of cute notes

Next, I also learnt that finding your own comfort ways in studying does matter. As for me, I am not the artistic type to do cute notes or pretty notes. I kept it simple and easy for me to read by writing printed lecturers’ notes, highlighting the key points and adding whatever additional information that the lecturer shared in class. During examination period, I looked back at the notes and revised from there.

Our own effort matters

The next thing I learnt during my first year is that I was on my own. In high school, you had teachers to push you to study and to excel in SPM. However, in the university, your own effort is the one that determines where you are going to stand in the future. There is no one who is going to care or push you to do this or that.

For future freshies

To all new first year students, my advice is to study hard or study smart, find you own comfort way to survive university life. Have fun, but at the same time, strive harder in your studies because that will make a difference who you are in the future.

Try to score during the first year and maintain your GPA well because once it’s going down, it will be much difficult to raise it back.

Everyone has his or her own ‘first year’ experience, embrace it and do keep in your memories as it reminds you who you are today. As historic Roman statesman, Julius Caesar said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” ***

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