Surviving and Thriving in University – A Class Nobody Teaches

University will kill you before you’ve reached your sophomore year if you’re not smart about it.

If you think you had it easy in high school, or even if the high school years have torn you apart, and you feel like going to university will be a breeze, hold your horses. Regardless of where you’ve come from, university is going to hit you like a tornado, and one that happens every other day. The tornado will wreck you over and leave you behind with all of your messes. By the end of your undergraduate degree, you’ll either never want another degree, or you’d have decided to live like a shepherd in the mountains. In addition to that, you’ll probably feel like you’ve wasted all that money and time on a degree that isn’t going to get you anywhere in life; it can’t even get you a good job.

However, I am not here to help with the hopelessness and regret that hits after graduation. I’m here to ensure you have a few good tips to point you in the right direction for when you’re frazzled and nothing seems to be working.

Let’s start with the notes.

Notes are what will have you passing by the skin of your teeth if you bother to take them. First, always use two notebooks for notes. In one notebook, take notes however you like. It doesn’t matter if those notes are written in a hurry, with horrific grammar and spelling mistakes, or if they’re all over the place and you’ve made peace with your acronyms. Then, set apart some time for the second notebook.

The second notebook is meant for exams and assignments, because who needs to sit and decode the mess you call notes when they’re in a hurry to cram as much as they can? The answer is no one. Copy down those notes into the second tome of knowledge; make them neat, easy to understand, and if you’re creative with journals, go for it, but don’t spend too much time on them. The two notebook system will save your life.

You’ve written a paper, it’s late and you think it is okay to not edit it, or check it for mistakes. Don’t do that: there is always something wrong with your work, and you have to check it for errors. I understand you’re tired and don’t wish to go through a paper you barely got done, so here’s what you do. Use the Hemingway App.

This is the app that has helped me score full marks on my assigned work, and it will help you too. The app checks all your spelling for you offers replacements for words and checks if you’re overusing adverbs. In addition to this, it picks out over complicated sentences and phrases, the passive voice, and tells you how much time your work would take to read. It will also tell you the reading level of your text, such as college level, high school etc.

The tuition fee is already killing you, and money is tight. The first rule of saving money is that you have none. Never confide in people; do not tell them how much money you have, don’t say if/when you got paid, and if you can help it, you don’t even have to mention a job. The next big thing is how you spend the money you’ve worked hard for. It’s tempting to buy all the stuff you want the minute you get some cash, but that is not how we do it; not unless you want to starve for the rest of the month. Buy only what is necessary; this could be toiletries, medicine, stationery etc.

Do not splurge, because it will not be worth it when only a week has passed and you’re thinking of joining a strip club. The next favor you can do for yourself is setting up a savings account. Divide the money, some goes to the savings account, and the rest is your spending money. When you’re out of spending money, you’re not allowed to delve into the savings account. That’s it, you’re out.

The timings of your classes can make or break your academic career. Remember to never take an 8 AM class. If you think you could pull it off because you did the same in high school, you’re deluding yourself. You won’t even be able to muster the courage and energy to go to a 10 AM class, and in my case, an 11 AM class. Pick your classes wisely, and if you can have back to back timings, that’s even better. Nobody likes to draw out their classes to the end of the day. Be wise in choosing your classes.

You will have to balance a social life, study timings, and time reserved for personal development with classes. Be wise in choosing your classes.

The last lesson is deadlines. Yes, the due date for an assignment is a week away so it’s time to relax; not. Procrastination is the worst form of temptation, which is why you need to overcome it. The moment you receive work, don’t even allow yourself any relief at the due dates. Get to work on your papers the same, while everything is still fresh. If you submit the work early, not only will you make an impression on your professors, if you don’t receive a good grade, you can always ask for another attempt. If you keep putting off your work, it will all pile up and cause you enormous stress, and eventually, an emotional breakdown.

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