Top 5 Tips to Survive University

Starting university can be one of the most significant moments in your life. However, you have also landed yourself into a world of stress, anxiety, caffeine and a lack of sleep. University is undoubtedly an exciting time, but it is certainly a journey full of ups and downs. Many people struggle as they work countless hours to catch up on assignments, projects and examinations. Hence, it is always wise to find the best strategies and ways to gain the upper hand at this new academic level. Here are the top 5 tips for surviving university life in Singapore.

Tip 1 – Attend orientation camp

The orientation camp is a highlight for many people when they arrive at university. You must join orientation because that will be the first group of friends that you meet. They are the people that you can reach out to if you need help in any way, especially if they are from the same faculty like you. It is challenging to have a monopoly on deadlines and knowledge about modules before coming to university, and sharing information amongst friends will make university life a lot easier. Having an early understanding of how modules, examinations and group projects work is essential for surviving university in the next 3-4 years.

Making friends with the right people is also vital so that you do not mix with the wrong company. Additionally, you want to have people that complement you that you can work well with if they are to be your future group mates.

Tip 2- Find out how the university works online and what student tools you can use

Gone are the days where a teacher hands you a report card that shows your grades. You have to be familiar with how everything works online; academic transcripts, examination results and module planning. Get comfortable using the websites which will seem like a maze at the start. Additionally, there are plenty of tools that can assist you on your journey.

  • Grammarly – checks your spelling mistakes, grammar, etc.
  • Zoom/Microsoft Teams/Skype – Perfect for group meetings online so that you can minimise time travelling
  • Canva – For presentation slides and other designs
  • Pexels – Stock images that you will surely need in your reports or presentations

These are just some of the handy tools that students always use to produce better reports and illustrations. Keep an eye out on what your peers are doing and ensure you do not miss out.

Tip 3 – Study smart but do not study hard

Nobody is going to spoon-feed you at university, and you have to work things out on your own. You will get bombarded with tons of readings and information every single week, which may shock you if you compare it to your times in junior college or polytechnic. Knowing what kind of learner you are will help tremendously; are you an audio, visual, reader or a kinesthetic learner. For example, if you are an audio learner, then recording lectures or tutorials will be beneficial because you can always refer back to those audio files when you are studying. This can be extremely helpful before examinations as you can re-listen to the lectures to get a quick refresher. Universities have been catering to various types of learners as some modules come with recordings or class engagements that can expose you to different kinds of learning.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Tip 4 – Learn how to navigate the university campus

Identifying your favourite study spots will be crucial as you may be spending a tremendous amount of time on campus. During examinations, you will realise that many of the popular places such as the library or seminar rooms will be crowded with students cramping knowledge in short periods. Since the schools tend to be relatively large, it is wise to take a brief tour around the school to check it out and find a cosy spot where you can study.

Additionally, finding out where the best food is located and where to print your documents are also essential. Schools such as Nanyang Technological University or the National University of Singapore have swimming pools and other amenities available for students so you can enjoy some recreational activities amidst the hectic school semesters.

Tip 5 – Burnout problems

Do not stress out too much early! The first two weeks of university are usually add-drop periods where you can drop modules that you deem unsuitable. Take the time to explore the modules, and if you would like to take them at the current semester. Just because everyone is taking module A in semester one does not mean you have to do likewise. However, there can be advantages to having all your friends in the same module because you can share information or tips amongst yourself.

Remember to take regular breaks between your study sessions, develop hobbies and meet friends in university! This is the best place to build connections, and you do not want to waste it solely on academia.

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