So, many of you will be starting college or university in the upcoming weeks, and might be feeling like you’re not ready. For many of you, it’ll be the first time you’ll be living away from home (that’s if you choose to live in residence, that is). And for many, it’ll be the first time you’ll be truly on your own.
Whether it’s waking up on time, studying, going to class, praying on time, etc., you are now responsible for it all and no one’s going to remind you. Not your parents. Not your teachers. YOU.
For some, this prospect can be thrilling. For others, not so much.
College and university can be the best 4 years of your life. So here are some tips on getting ready for college and university and really making the most of those 4 years.
An obvious one but an important one. Regardless of who’s paying for your education, don’t waste it. Unlike high school, your professors aren’t going to stand over your shoulder to see if you finished your homework. Nor are they going to call your parents if you miss a certain number of classes. Feel like showing up for class? That’s nice. Don’t feel like coming? That’s nice, but you’re the one that’s literally throwing money away.
Don’t forget that feeling of accomplishment you had when you got in. And think of all those sleepless nights you spent studying for a whole year, filling out all those applications, writing countless essays, applying for scholarships, etc. It was an achievement to get in, so keep working hard. And don’t let anybody make you feel like it’s cool not to go to study. Millions of people don’t have the opportunity to attend post-secondary education, so really make the most of this gift.
MAKING NEW FRIENDS
It can be tough making new friends, especially if you’ve known your circle of friends your whole life. Many of you go to a college or university where you know absolutely no one and so the idea of making friends again can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be!
Making new friends doesn’t have to be as scary as going up to strangers and randomly talking to them. Instead, just try to go outside of your comfort zone and interact with those you see often. See the same person on the route to and from school? Strike up a conversation about the book they’re reading. Ask some of the people you sit near in class to study for the final together. Ask the person who’s in two or more of your classes which professor they like better.
You don’t have to put yourself out there completely to make new friends. Take baby steps and hopefully you’ll find people with similar interests.
There’s definitely a party environment in college and university, that doesn’t always exist in high school. With your parents not looking over your shoulder, it can be so easy to slip into the wrong crowd and get caught up with drinking and partying, without even realising it.
So aware of that environment and make your goal not to get involved in it from day one. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid environments with alcohol, but do your best to avoid it if you can. And this is where your friends play a huge role. Hang around with people who have similar interests to you, who’ll steer you away from that kind of environment, who’ll support you when you choose not to party.
EXPLORE NEW INTERESTS
Learning doesn’t just have to happen inside the classroom! College and university are a great opportunity to explore things you’re interested in, especially because there’s so many students with a variety of interests.
Usually colleges and universities have a club week or a club day where you can explore all the different clubs that are on campus. You can join a club based on something you already love or you can also try something totally new! Whether it’s a Harry Potter book club, a fencing club, a cooking club, or a hiking club, join it! You don’t know what you’ll learn, and it’s also a great way to make new friends.
It’s also a good way to de-stress from class. Studying can really drain you out, so doing things outside of studying can be a great way to recharge your batteries and just relax. And who knows? You might just discover a hidden talent!
TAKE CLASSES OUTSIDE YOUR MAJOR
Many colleges and universities have an open first year, and this is because they want you to explore other classes before you get stuck in a major. Again, there are so many opportunities to go outside your comfort zone and take classes in things you’ve never even thought about.
It’s important to broaden your horizons and expand your mind. So if you’re in health sciences, take a writing class. If you’re in English, take a biology class. If you’re in statistics, take an anthropology class. This is the best time to really explore new things and just learn about things you know nothing about. Again, you never know if you might discover something that you love!
DON’T FORGET YOUR FAITH
For many of you, this is probably the first time you’ll be on your own without your parents reminding you to pray on time and to fast. It can suddenly seem so freeing without your parents watching your every move. But don’t forget: just because your parents aren’t watching you, it doesn’t mean Allah isn’t.
It’s time to become independent and be your own person. And this is a great time to really get into the groove of that. Because your parents or your family aren’t going to be responsible for your actions on the day of judgement. You are. So own up to it and make decisions you can be proud of. And don’t forget what’s important to you.
For many of you, starting college or university can be a terrifying prospect. There’s so much that’s changing all of a sudden, and it call seem so daunting. All of a sudden you’re in an environment where your professors don’t care if you come to class or do your homework. If you’ve had the same friends for years, now you’ll have to meet new people and make new friends. If you’ve always lived at home, you’ll be leaving the comforts of home and your parents care. It can all seem so daunting and lonely.
But it’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Change is truly the only constant in life. And yes, it’ll take you some time to adjust to your new life and your new environment. But you’ll adapt. That’s what we do. And before you know it, it’ll be over and you’ll be reminiscing about how much fun you had and how much you learned.
So buckle up, make some goals, remember your priorities, say bismillah, and GO!