Dear First Year Me

Written by Noa Bordan

Dear First Year Noa,

Here are 10 things you should know upon entering your first year of university.

  1. That other new student sitting beside you in class? They’re just as nervous as you are! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, and hopefully make a new friend. You can never have enough people to exchange notes with, especially around finals.
  2. Get to know your professors! Just saying hello and thank you at the beginning and end of class is a great way to start. Let them help you do your best, and build that relationship in case you have any problems during the semester. They’re also a great resource when you start exploring what you want to do after you graduate – it happens faster than you think! 
  3. That class you’re thinking about skipping? Don’t do it. Get in the habit, from the beginning, of thinking about university as the job you have to do now – you’re a student! You wouldn’t want to skip out on work, don’t skip out on school. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to use your connections! University is the best time to start working on those networking skills – your new friends and profs will be more than happy to be part of your journey. 
  5. Thinking about studying abroad? Do it! Take this chance to explore a new place, culture and language, with the added bonus of an awesome support structure at your host university. 
  6. Get involved! That can be anything from attending an event or joining a planning committee. There are so many amazing organizations both on and off campus who are looking for someone with the skills only you have. Show them what you’ve got! 
  7. You know how great pulling an all-nighter looks in movies? It’s almost never worth it. Keeping on top of your workload won’t always be easy, but maybe skip that party the week you have something big due. An amazing teacher of mine once said, better to keep up than to catch up. It’s even more true in university! 
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You aren’t the first person to be  starting university, and you won’t be the last. Learn from the people around you, practice your writing and learn how to reference – it’s a skill you won’t regret. 
  9. Not quite sure where you’re heading with your degree (or your life)? Find someone who you look up to! It doesn’t even have to be in the industry you think you’re interested in. People are more generous with their time than you might think – reach out! Worst case scenario, you don’t hear back but in the best case, you get a coffee with someone awesome and you can learn about how they got where they are. 
  10. Most importantly, remember how lucky you are to be here! Though it may not always feel that way (read: tests and papers), enjoy this amazing opportunity to totally immerse yourself in your learning, and be a little selfish!