We all know how hard it is to step into a new environment. As someone who has had the first-hand experience of being a freshie, I would like to share my two cents that will help you get a kickstart in your university life.
1. Join Freshman Orientation Camps
Sign up for as many Freshman Orientation Camps as possible. These could include those of your major, faculty, and even hostel. These Orientation Camps will help you get accustomed to university life and even get to know new people who may help you navigate your university life.
One key aspect of joining Orientation Camps is getting to know seniors who will share with you tips and tricks of choosing your Y1 modules (some of which allocated), and which CCAs to join.
Some Freshman Orientation Camps require you to pay a small fee, but along with it are school merch, T-shirts and goodies that may come in handy in the upcoming semesters. 10/10 recommend.
You never know who you know in the FOPs will come in handy in the future! *wink*
2. Choose the right modules
Make sure you know the required modules for you to graduate, choose the modules required for you to fulfil the general education pillars, and decide if you want to take a minor or second major in addition to your workload. Check your course website for specific details.
There are so many unrestricted electives you can choose from
NUS and before you take a module, make sure to check up on the relevant module reviews and overviews on websites like nusmods.com.
When in doubt, always remember—Google is your best friend. So is Reddit.
3. Make friends
Friends are essential in your university life. I repeat, friends are essential for your university life.
Believe it or not, they would be your greatest saviours when you are stuck on a difficult tutorial question or assignment question. They make tough days manageable. They keep you accountable on days when you just don’t feel like getting out of bed and go for physical lectures and tutorials. They are people you hop by the café with after class ends.
Make sure to make tons of friends from your own major and CCAs. They are the people that help you get through life.
Ask for the telegram handle of the kid who sits next to you in your lecture or tutorial. Form groups to discuss tutorial or assignment questions together!
Get friends to keep yourself accountable!
4. Join CCAs
There are three types of CCAs you could join in your University life.
a) The CCAs you join for fun
b) The CCAs you join for portfolio/connections/relevance to the career you want to pursue
c) The CCAs you join to make friends
The three could be subsets of each other, but it’s best to join one of each.
5. Have a study schedule that you abide by
University is not all about studying, but your CAP will follow you throughout your life. You don’t need to get a super high CAP, but you need to make sure you do sufficient to not get mediocre grades that your future employers see.
Use a paperback planner or a digital one like Google Calendar.
Planning out your days by putting in the lecture and tutorial timings, along with your external commitments will help you be much more productive.
As a university student, time is everything.
You only have four years, eight semesters to accomplish whatever you want to in your university life. Make sure to spend each and every semester wisely.
6. Have fun
Go out with your friends often, even those not from your course, faculty or university. It’s always good to get out of the study zone and get some fresh air when you need it.
Taking a break once in a while is crucial in giving you the strength to move farther in your university journey. So don’t feel guilty when you rest. Your body needs it.
May all NUS kids have a great winter and a fresh start to Semester 2! All the best in beating the bell curves and making friends!