Gaining admission into a university of your choice, especially for a course you are passionate about, is indeed a wonderful experience. Jumping that hurdle in your journey through life is worth a grand celebration, especially if you live in a country where gaining admission into a higher institution can feel like a herculean task. However, your first day at college/university also marks (i.e. serves as) the very beginning of a very critical journey in your life. The choices you make from thereon will significantly influence the outcome of your stay in the institution. If you make excellent choices, you will reap excellent results. However, if you take your academics and life for granted, you may be sorry for your actions later on.
Here are ten things you should know before starting your first year in a higher institution.
Learn to be an independent learner
In universities, there are no mentors, teachers, or parents to tell you what to do. You are assumed to be ‘of age’ and capable of navigating your life wisely. Therefore, if you choose to procrastinate and study in the last minute, no one is going to scold you for that. What you get is a final result befitting your input. Your final result becomes your greatest punisher. It is advised that you learn to read on your own, because you may never find guidance or support from anyone. No one cares about your result and your life.
Learn how CGPAs are being calculated as soon as possible
CGPA stands for Cumulative Grade Point Average. It is the mean value (i.e. average value) of all the numerical values of your grades with respect to the units of each of the courses you have registered and completed. It determines the ultimate result you get after all your studies in the university. In other words, it determines whether you get a first class degree, second class upper division degree, and so on. Bear in mind that getting poor grades in one semester can ruin your entire CGPA for the rest of the years to be spent in the university. Therefore, if you desire excellent results, do not take your studies for granted.
Choose your friends wisely
There are different kinds of students in a university, as there are different kinds of people in the world. There are students who are conscientious with their studies, and there are those who are generally lazy with academics. If you hang out with people who have been forced all their lives to study, you may eventually get infected by the plague, plus, they will never embolden you to study your books. The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages (if there are advantages at all).
Attend lectures and try to keep the front seat
Although, you may be intelligent enough to self-learn (i.e. to study on your own), not everyone is. In addition, even the smartest people at schools still require lecturers’ explanations and exhaustive discourse to further reinforce what they have already learnt. This allows for greater understanding and a much better perspective of the course. Some schools may award marks for attendance, while some may not. Regardless, attending classes and being punctual is vital to your life as a student.
Do assignments to perfection
Always attempt assignments, do them to perfection, and submit them as at when due; no delays! Assignments allow you to gain mastery of the course. Lecturers may also decide to prepare examination questions from those assignments they have given you. Marks awarded to assignments in some universities make up a certain percentage of the total mark for each course. Therefore, you can’t afford to play with them.
Impromptu tests can happen
Develop a studying habit. Study each day; enjoy the process. Some lecturers have a preference for giving impromptu tests. If you are the studious type, you will not be submerged.
Minimize foreign activities
Foreign activities are activities that are not associated with academics, which you enjoy engaging in. They may include such activities as watching T.V., playing computer games, clubbing, doing businesses, friendships, religious activities, etc. While you may engage in foreign activities, do not make them take precedence over your academics. Your academics should always come first; always!
Communicate with the key individuals
Keep in touch with your class representative, the serious students in your class, and those who seem to be informed about vital things associated with your studies. There is also a lot you can learn from the class/level ahead of you (your seniors). Information is power. You cannot afford to be uninformed.
Get as many past questions as possible. Search for them as though you are searching for gold. Attempt them all. But do not depend on them alone.
Keep away from examination malpractice
If you are caught cheating in any examination, you risk being suspended for two years, or worse, expelled. In addition, taking short-cuts like this has a way of making you a half-baked university graduate, which is not worth it.