So you’ve found the right university, and have already picked out your major. Amazing! But now comes the difficult part. Actually going to uni and surviving. (*Sweats nervously and gulps down an entire bottle of water*)
Starting university can be pretty scary for some, it is a MAJOR change after all! But hey, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there and somehow managed to survive without falling apart. And, if done right, it can be some of the best years of your life.
Here’s how you, too, can get through uni life like a pro and graduate like the smart human being you are:
1. Do your research and explore
You might think all you need to do after getting into university is just show up for the classes. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! There’s more to university than just attending classes. Get on your laptop and do some research about the university and everything it has to offer. If you have any mutual alumni or friends that already go there, get talking and asking questions that might not be available on the uni's website. If possible, head to campus before class and spend some time exploring. Familiarizing yourself with its surroundings will make you feel more at home on your first day and a bit less like a lost little puppy!
2. Be yourself
There’s no place more perfect to be yourself than university. Here, you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. Nobody cares about who you were in high school or, before you joined here. Need a fresh new start? Or, a wardrobe makeover? Start new here and, get comfortable in your own skin. Whether it be the way you style yourself or the clubs you’re a part of, stay true to yourself and, you’ll attract a similar crowd who like you for who you are. Unless you’re one of those people who love pineapple on pizza.
3. Try to make a friend or two
Everyone needs a buddy to lean on when things get rough or, when you want to share something exciting that happened to you. And no, this does not include your study group. Friends are not just going to show up at your doorstep. No matter how daunting it seems, you have to get out there and socialise. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you and make plans to catch up after class. Tip: Don’t skip out on Orientation or Fresher’s Day/Week, because that’s when you’re most likely to meet people, who are also looking to make new friends. And, once you find your squad, you can hang out at these amazing places that isn’t your university campus.
4. Get involved with a club
Some of you might think that clubs are over-rated. But, hear me out. Joining a club or two can be a sure-fire way to make new friends that are not part of your inner circle. It's also a great way to network with seniors and others in the industry. It could be a club related to your course or, it can simply be a fun extra-curricular activity or hobby that you enjoy. Put yourself out there and, I promise you that it’ll be worth every hour of sleep you miss. Plus, it’ll also look great on your resume.
5. Stop procrastinating, and work hard
Yeah, we all get those Sunday blues, where we want to do nothing except go on a Netflix binge fest! But hey, that degree you’re here for is important and to get there, you need to stop putting off those essays for later and work really hard. Getting up in the morning for that 8am class is annoying but whatever you do, never skip a lecture unless it’s an emergency or you’re actually sick. Find that perfect balance between your work and social life so, that you don’t get too overwhelmed later.
6. Find a Part-time Job/Internship
Okay, let’s be real. We all need to get some sort of work experience before we graduate and set out into the real world to become full-time adults. The extra money also really helps. And, an internship or a part time gig is a great way to get some career exposure and add to your CV. Working while studying isn’t a bed of roses. Cramming for tests and meeting work deadlines might not be your idea of a fun college life but, this is the real world, honey and life gets hard sometimes. Experiencing a short-term mental breakdown is completely normal, but try to get back on your feet as all your hard work will definitely pay off later on.
7. Stay healthy
When the stress hits, the cravings begin. Guilty as charged! Those takeaways sure are tempting and, it’s hard to get by without indulging in your daily junk fix – looking at you McDonalds. Being a uni student in Dubai, it’s pretty hard to say no to eating out or ordering every other day, especially because of delivery apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. All that late-night studying and binge snacking can make you feel pretty exhausted and bloated, which will only makes you lazy and tired, and unable to study or do anything productive. Cut down on unhealthy snacks like crisps and candy, and up your fruit and veggie intake. You don’t need to turn into a gym rat to get active, just incorporate some simple cardio into your everyday routine to get your blood pumping. As for the mind, a quick yoga sesh ought to do the trick. And, don't forget to stay hydrated.
8. Get saving
One second, you have Dhs1,000 and feeling you’re as rich as Kim Kardashian and, the next, you’re left with a Dhs5 note and some coins jiggling around in your purse. University can break your wallet and expenses like housing, food and transport, can leave you broke to the core. It’s impossible to not spend any cash when you go out – have you seen all the sales on?! To help with this, I suggest you learn how to budget to walk really fast past shop windows...
I'm going to leave you now. But, hang in there and really try to make the next four years, the best years of your life.