University.

University. That’s a big word which weighs heavy on you when you’re a student, especially a high schooler not knowing what the next step to take is (should I take a gap year? What should I study? Where should I study? Should I even go to uni at all?) My heart hurts when I see how anxiety ridden decisions surrounding university makes people. If that’s you right now, shake off those worries (easier said than done). I’ll never understand why we’re forced to make such important decisions, decisions that will affect the rest of our lives, at such a young age. I mean, helloooo I’m still the type of person who’ll look to my parents expectantly when the doctor asks why I’m there. It gives me comfort however, to remember that life has a funny way of working itself out.

 

Take a gap year. Choose a course that entails doing something that you love to do (you might as well, considering you’ll have to live and breathe this course, and school is hard enough as it is without you doing something you lukewarm-like).

Another thing I don’t quite understand is how a system outdated enough to have remained the same since our parents’ days in school up till now can hope to stay relevant and equip us well enough to thrive during these ever changing modern times. But that’s a discussion for another day.

 

Changing courses down the road in university is so common, so don’t fall into thinking that it’s the end of the world. You also don’t always end up in the career field that you went to school for in the future…. life’s just weird like that.

I still find myself questioning (almost 1 year into my course), whether I made the right decision about what is best for me. It’s mighty frustrating sometimes, it’s scary, and confusing. But, so far so good. Although it wasn’t always my first choice, and nothing could have prepared me for the huge amount of work I’d be facing, law is really interesting, I have the best lecturers I could ever ask for, and have met the loveliest people since beginning this course. It also makes me breathe a little easier knowing that there are so many different things I can do with an LLB degree (y’know, if I actually manage to get one). I love getting to know how this system works, learning things that affect my everyday life, what makes society run like clockwork (and why it doesn’t).

 

As a day scholar who still lives at home and is not studying abroad but in my own hometown, my advice may not be of the greatest help to you, but I put down a few pointers nonetheless 🙂

 

Applications

*screams from the rooftops* APPLY EARLLLYYYY apply to as many universities as possible to be on the safe side (don’t send in applications literally HOURS before the deadline in the dead of night like I did). Make sure you check the application deadlines on the university websites and apply in good time. I’ve known cases where people didn’t get into the university they wanted to, not because they didn’t qualify but because the spaces filled up. That would be a shame, so try to avoid it. Pay very close to the application/admissions criteria/requirements.

 

Depends on the said university of course, but most universities ask you to write essays of some kind as well as take entrance tests aside from your high school leaving exams. The only things aside from academics my uni asked for were sports I’d done, and any leadership positions I’d held (which were none tbvh). However one of the other universities I was accepted into asked me to write an essay about myself, another about why I wanted to study my course of choice and what I planned to do thereafter and asked questions like what my favourite books were and why. Be prepared for anything. Make sure you guard all your official documents with your LIFE (ID, school exam results)

 

Read your student emails

When you join university, you are given a student email (your Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail has zero relevance here!) This is how all information and announcements are communicated to you. I honestly need to take my own advice on this one (or have it tattooed across my forehead). The number of times I have walked into empty lecture halls only to find an unread e-mail that the lecture was cancelled is UNBELIEVABLE. Pictured below is such an example, I kept this as a reminder…

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Attend orientation

Contrary to the age-old boohoo that it’s lame and boring (okay tbh for the most part, it was), it really does end up being quite beneficial to your introduction to university. You’ll have it a lot easier on your first day having the confidence gained from already knowing where all your classes and things like the library and computer labs are. You also get to make new friends a lot easier so it’s it’s a win win 🙂

 

Textbooks

This really depends. If you don’t mind paying a small fortune for a set of completely new textbooks, then go right ahead (and make a down payment for my first apartment’s rent while you’re at it)! I personally got my books second hand, from a law student a year ahead of me through an ad my dad found on my school’s website.

 

Join a club/society

This holds true THROUGHOUT your entire school life. If you want to meet new people, AND make your portfolio look oh-so good. Its also super fuuun, all work and no play will fry your brain.

 

Make it to class in good time

This was mission impossible during the first 2 months. Lemme tell ya, if you wanna find a good seat in a class of 400 people, making it to class on time should be on the TOP of your list. Besides, lecturers don’t like latecomers.

 

Attendance

Again, this depends on the course you’re doing and the uni you’re at. Generally, if you don’t attend a certain number of lectures, then you fail a module, or don’t get to graduate.

 

Dress code

Whatever you want to. Wanna put on a fashion statement? Go ahead. Wanna rock homeless-person chic like me? Go ahead. Literally no one cares. I’ve seen all manner of things on campus. I have seen. It. All. The way it goes from my observation, is that everyone dresses like they stepped out of a Teen Vogue catalogue during the first month and thereafter, cue the homeless-person getups.

 

Pre-read

Go over work on your own before it’s taught in class, it makes you feel like you’re a step ahead, and let’s you understand things easier, and pick things up faster.

 

Talk to your lecturers

They are there to help you, that’s why you didn’t sign up for online school, go up and talk to them. You can’t wait for them to reach out to you because hello, 400 person class, they probably don’t know you exist. They’re a lot sweeter than you think (if you’re lucky enough to have a sweet lecturer like mine that compliments your outfit then bonus points hehe)

 

Talk to other students doing your course in the year above you

Talking to lecturers and professionals is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to talk to someone closer to your age. They are the ones who’ll tell you which lecturers to look out for, which classes you may find tough, and what exactly they did to get to where they are.

 

Develop a positive attitude towards your classes/subjects

Complaining about a certain module gets you nowhere. You really gotta fake it till you make it. Hate a class or a lecturer? Well it only makes things harder for you. Positivity will make your life a whole lot easier.

 

Meeting people

Not something you should be worried about 🙂

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