22 August 2019, by Nicholas Quek

How to survive your freshman year

The new semester has just begun and the university is buzzing with activity.

The canteens are flooded with crowds of enthusiastic first-year students, all eager to try the different food stalls that us seniors have long grown weary of.

There’s also a student life fair where booths are set up for the school clubs to promote their individuals interest groups. I noticed a student signing up for at least 10 different groups. I looked at a friend I was with and together we laughed, reminiscing the days when we too had signed up for more than 10 different interest groups.

View from the suite I'm staying in

View from the suite I’m staying in

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting out of your comfort zone and testing your limits, especially in your freshman year of university. Rarely will you get the kind of freedom that university life provides, to explore a varied range of interests, hobbies and disciplines.

But I’ve also seen countless freshmen burn out after the first 2 weeks, once classes begin. Some tried to stay committed to both their studies and interest groups, only to finish their semester half-deceased.

So what advice do I, a fumbling but perhaps slightly wiser senior, have for university freshmen?

1. Don’t try to do everything
It’s great that you want to explore your options! But the more things you take on, the less time and energy you have for each activity.

While you might develop a passion for some activities very quickly, other interests take time to develop, and you may find yourself giving up on particular activities before giving them a real chance.

So go forth and explore your options, but…

2. Invest proper amount time in each activity
You’re not always going to fall in love with an activity the second you start doing it. Interests can be grown and developed, and you may find yourself falling in love with an activity that wasn’t your favourite when you first started.

So pick a few key activities you want to try and invest adequate time with them. There’s no hard or fast rule to this, just keep in mind that passions can be grown.

3. Be accountable
It can be really easy to flake as freshmen. Seniors usually have a hard time keeping track of sign-ups, so it can be very convenient for you as a freshmen to simply not show up for meetings whenever you’re not free.

However, seniors really appreciate it when members make their availability known in advance. It really helps with our planning and gives us a good impression of you. Making friends and connections is the cornerstone of any university experience, and little actions like this go a long way.

University is a really exciting time with a myriad of things to try out, so make the most out of it!

Gonna miss this sunset when I graduate

Gonna miss this sunset when I graduate

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