Dear First Year and Future me,
“The older you get, the wiser you get,” I’m unsure if that is an entirely accurate quote but you know what I’m going to go with it for the purpose of this blog post. It’s too late for me to go back and change things to reflect what I have now learnt. But good news for you, if you are yet to reach these stages then I am very happy to impart my wisdom I’ve gained in my ripe ol’ age of second year. For some, 2nd year is reaching the business end of your degree and your ability to say ‘new sem, new me’ is running out and for others (cough the poor law and med students) the end is unfortunately not in the near future so there are plenty more opportunities to use that. So please, take some notes, highlight the key points and be prepared to be clued up. I also bolded the important points for those who like the minimum amount of reading, you are very welcome. There are 15 tips to reflect the 15 years I have been in an educational institution!!
- Once again, I’ve said this many times but I think it is very important. I didn’t listen to my own advice and do you know what happened? I’ve been about 20 lectures behind in law since April. If you aren’t a morning person, do NOT enroll in the morning streams
- Vote in elections – whether it be for the exec of your faculty, AUSA, Auckland City Council or the General Election –Make your voice heard
- If you absolutely hate your degree and it isn’t something that you want to do in the future, don’t force yourself to do something because you think you have to. I think it is about 1 in 4 people who go to uni studying one thing and decide to change. Make that change if you think it will make you happier and future better
- Friendship groups are constantly changing. You may make some new friends and lose some at the same time. This is reflective how we are continually changing and growing as people and finding ourselves. Don’t hold onto something if it isn’t making you feel good, move on whilst being grateful for the good times you had
- Get involved with faculty events – steins, BBQ’s, pub quizzes etc. Genuinely some of the best fun I’ve had at uni has been at these events
- Save more money.
- You don’t have to drink every weekend, do something wholesome like a sunset picnic
- Appreciate Flame tree. Honestly it may seem like the worst thing ever at the time, but once you have to shop and cook for yourself, flame tree looks really quite appetizing now
- Choose your papers asap so they don’t get filled up and you can form the optimal timetable
- Watching TikTok isn’t a good use of your time, but don’t let your friends judge you if you decide to watch it
- If you know you don’t use the coursebooks you pay hundreds for, download the pdf or get it from the library when you need
- Studying at the library is way more productive than in your room – I find the idea of people judging me scrolling of facebook in the library a good form of motivation
- Don’t leave your essay until the night before– my last essay this year I started a few days early and I handed it in at 9pm the day before the deadline and got to sleep early – really crazy concept but it can be done, and it actually feels quite good
- Lectures aren’t fully optional, 2x speed lecture recordings 4 weeks after the class may seem appealing but trust me, it is not worth the stress and constant feeling of being behind. This is the tip from current me that past me realllllly needed and hopefully future me (and you) applies.
- Getting a grade below an A is not going to ruin your life, I promise. It definitely is not the end of the world, even if it may feel like it. The fact you are at university and passing is a reflection that you are capable and intelligent. In the grand scheme of it all, one test or essay marks like 2% of all your coursework throughout your degree. (I do law, don’t trust my numbers but get the idea behind it.)
Sometimes it may feel like an uphill battle when you are constantly on the ‘grind’, but you are investing in yourself and that is the best thing you can do. We all live and learn and that’s part of it all. As long as you know where you want to end up, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there or what path you take, just have that end goal in mind