I just finished my 3 weeks summer break about a week ago which means… I’m back to the daily grind of learning and studying. Lucky me, for the next 8 weeks, I’ll be studying in the Burnaby campus so it’ll be a closer commute to/from home and to work.
|This was taken back when I was still into photography. Project 52!
I realized a lot of people are going back to school in the next couple of weeks, or you can be like me and already is in school. I have about just over a year until I graduate so… does that qualify me to give advice?
I’m your average full-time student, with social circles & events, and working part time.
Over the past few years of studying, I’ve managed to balanced it all but I did learn a few things the hard way.
Always prepare ahead of time. I thought the first week of all my courses was easy and easily assumed that the rest of the course will breeze by. I began slacking off on my readings, picking up extra shifts and committing to social plans… little did I know, I actually didn’t have time for that. No matter how easy the course may seem or how many people bragged about how easy it is, you have to plan ahead no matter what. Plan what chapters or work needs to be done and their due dates. Plan your work schedule (I was luck enough to have my work schedule posted 2 weeks in advance). Plan your social outings – it’s okay to say no to a few if you’re caught up on work/school. It’s a hard habit to get into (I wasn’t much of a planner) but trust me, things will get organized and you will have free time for friends or extra shifts.
Wait until the first day of class to buy textbooks (and buy them off students/online or ebooks!). A lot of my friends and I included, made the mistake of buying textbooks before the class started… and from the school campus too. Why wait? Because you’ll come to realize that some classes don’t need textbooks and professors will mention this. 90% of the time, you’ll probably would have removed the shrink wrap from the book and make it non-refundable to the bookstore. Also, join your school’s Facebook group on used textbooks. I have about two FB groups that I joined so search out for classmates selling books I need (and when I’m done with mines, I sell mines to them for $$$!). It’s a lot of a heck cheaper than bookstores and normally in good condition. Also, if you’re tech savy, consider switching to eBooks formats on textbooks… light and cheap too.
Join social groups. It’s a no brainer that post-secondary is also the years to make new friends… and most likely these friends are the ones that will last a lifetime. Sign up for clubs and teams that you’re interested in. Go to freshmen gatherings, or networking nights for non-freshmen. Go to sport games, pep rallies (although my school didn’t have those). If you live in dorms, drop by the lounge during the first few weeks to meet new people.
Save up. If you’re not starting school soon, I recommend you to save up. Not only is tuition and supplies that are expensive, your social habits will be too. I learned to manage my finances a few months into university when my bank account was dropping and I cut my hours back to study. I carried all the tips I’ve learned from my bank and on the internet and saved a tons of money throughout my studies. Everyone knows that university is expensive and nobody would judge you for being “cheap”.
School comes before work. I can’t stress this enough because I learned the hard way. I failed a few classes because I thought work was more important. I cared about making money than my degree. I hated myself because not only are you NOT earning money in the long run (because when you fail the course, you gotta pay for it AGAIN with the money you earned from blowing off class), but you’re also prolonging your graduation date. Work can wait – you have a lifetime to work fulltime. Cut back your hours if you feel overwhelmed by work.
Ignore bad distractions. Another reason why I failed a few classes was because I was also distracted by social interactions with a few friends. These friends didn’t care for their studies and I realized they didn’t care about mines either. My emotions were all over the place whenever I hang out with these people which made me sleepy or distracted during class hours. CUT these people/things out of your life. Your true friends will not stress you out and will understand your priority of school first.
Keep your friends. I sound like I prioritize school and work before everyone else but that’s not true. School, work, and life is all surrounded by friends so I’m never actually ditching anyone.. you know? But sometimes that’s not the case for everyone. A few of us may not have friends at work, or at school, etc. It’s hard to balance and to be honest, this advice is hard to give because all of our friends are different. But you have to know that sometimes balancing school and work can be a handful and we might forget about our friends. That’s when you should give yourself a break from either work or school and have a night out. Even if it’s just a few times a month, your friends will appreciate the time spent with you.
And there you go, some of my tips of post-secondary. It’s a fun adventure, nothing as scary as it seems. I went to a school where I knew NO ONE (my high school friends went to a local college) and I ended up meeting new friends and having a blast.
Remember, university is fun, but it’s also a blessing. A lot of people can’t afford to go to school… so work hard, and don’t get caught up in the fun. Failing a class will happen (or may not) but don’t fail a class because you wanted to do keg stands every night.