There’s about one word to describe freshie year and that’s insane. From camps to Sem 1 and then 2, it’s madness. Here’s my advice/opinion to incoming freshies.
Fear not, and try everything.
I cannot overstate this. I think my one advice to incoming freshmen would be, don’t be afraid of the unknown. Well, in my experience, most people are. But here’s the deal. Just try it, step foot into the unknown and try it, even if it is uncomfortable, weird or maybe you’re awkward. Just try it, whatever catches your eye at the Student Life Fair booth. Maybe it’s a sport that sounded interesting, or like how you’d always wanted to dance but never got to. Try it because you never know what might become of your interest toward it. The worse thing that can happen is that you figured you didn’t like it, well at least you picked up some lessons from that, even if they are negative. When I mean try everything, I mean this in the academic sense too. Try modules that you have never seen before, things you aren’t familiar with. Of course, risks are calculated as well, take it with mods you do know about/have background in. The new incoming batch of freshies are now allowed to have up to 32 units of SUs in their first year, make full use of it – and I mean study hard of course, (it’s NUS are you kidding me if you say don’t study?!) but also play hard. Play to your hearts content, join everything and anything, push your mental and physical boundaries. I never knew I could pull off 5-6 CCA whole term commitments on top of studies and a social life but it can be done.
Everything can be done if you set your heart and mind to it. Ride the waves of the uni life, enjoy every single day, because it’s such a great opportunity to. Really, carpe diem.
Keep asking questions
Ask yourself, ask others. As freshmen, we are more often than not, blur. Ask, and never be afraid to look stupid. If you don’t understand the lesson, ask the prof, ask your friends, ask for help. If you lost your way, save the time, just ask. If you need to know which buses go to wherever, ask. There is nothing to lose when you ask questions. Drop the save-face attitude and just enquire. No one will judge you (even if they give you judgmental glances does that really matter??). It’ll work out for the best.
You determine who you choose to keep as close friends, so choose your friends wisely.
There are a 1001 things to do, commitments to schedule and friends to meet. In Uni, sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of the friends you made in that specific circle, whether in CCA or that tutorial class. The important lesson I learnt was that unless you take the effort to make time for that friend/group of friends, it’ll be hard to maintain the friendship in the sense that it’s hard to find time to meet and stuff. If you really want to maintain friendships, you’ve gotta work on them or you’re just gonna lose them. Sounds like common sense, but when you realise how hard it is to coordinate a simple meet up because everyone has their own schedules, you’ll understand. Furthermore I’ve also come to the understanding that not everyone is good for you. There are many kinds of friends and you alone know that some are just not as good for you as others. Learn how to say no and when to say no, and don’t feel guilty when you’ve said no, don’t feel bad, your time is precious and you have every right to decide what to do with it.
Don’t forget your studies
In the madness of the semester, when it seems the finals are so far away…no they are not. 13 weeks passes in a jiffy and before you know it, Central Library would be so full you’d be barely able to find a seat anywhere, and so will all the other study spots in UTown and Starbucks. So for heaven’s sake, don’t forget that you’re a student. I tell this to myself because sometimes I actually get so caught up in deadlines of CCA and proposal submission etc that I forget to catch up on the lectures which I sat through but didn’t actually pay attention to. You’ll not want to regret later when there are 3 essays due on the same weekend and you haven’t actually figured out how to wrap your head around the content for all 3. There’s this thing where during week 13 you can watch all the lectures (if there’s webcast) on 1.5x speed. – that’s if you decided to skip them all. Please don’t, if possible. Okay, exceptions given if the lecturer’s voice sounds like a lullaby.
Make friends everywhere you go, every circle. It never hurts to have more friends/connections.It can never be a bad thing to know people. Besides being able to have people to call on when you need help, some of these people would probably and possibly help shape what could be the best 3-4 years of your educational journey. Friends from your major can journey with you in the hell that is (insert major here). Friends from CCAs and other faculties grant you the perspectives and views of other people who may and won’t think in the same way as you. You get to work with people, live with people (if you stay on campus) and so much more. University life does involve a decent deal of networking I gotta admit and honestly, they’ll come in handy later on too. It’s better to start from year 1 than to realise near graduation that you didn’t network as much as you wanted to. However, I understand that some people also like to be by themselves and prefer less people in their circles. I totally get that, I mean I am surrounded by a decent number of friends who are introverts. That is not to say that you cannot make friends still, definitely it will be lesser than extroverts like me, but it should not stop you from talking to people, maybe just start with those in your tutorial group(s) or project groups, if you don’t know where to start from. Or join a particular event/sport if camps and hype are not for you. In Uni there is literally everything and anything you want to join/do, so use these opportunities and expand your social circles!
So yeah, that’s my two cents worth (: