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Things First Year students Need to Know before Heading to Campus

You have gotten the admission, you have paid the necessary fees, you have shopped for all you need and made all the necessary preparations, and now you cannot wait for D-day to resume as a first-year student on campus.

I understand how excited you are about the new life you are about to experience. For many of you, this may be the first time you have had to live on your own. So before you head to campus, I have a few things I need to share with you. These are the things I think you should know about life on campus.

What First Year Students Need to Know

Do Not forget the Primary Reason You are in school: Going off to campus is not some sought-after adventure, even though it may seem like that for many. Because they think they now have the time to explore outside the prying eyes of their parents or older siblings, but it is not.

The primary reason you are there is to study and develop certain skills that prepare you for your future and the outside world. So make that your number-one priority. Do not deliberately miss lectures and other academic activities. How you start is often a harbinger of how you will end. So if you plan to graduate well, start well.

Apart from studying, make time for personal growth. You will find many helpful social, religious, and educational groups and organizations in school that will help you uncover some talents, passions, and skills you never knew you had. Take advantage of them.

Do Not be a lone wolf: It’s important to understand that a higher institution of learning is quite different from high school or Secondary School, especially when it comes to the pace and depth of the academic work you will be required to do. The level of detail may be more challenging. So you will definitely need support. Try to get to know some of your coursemates as soon as possible, particularly your Class Rep (similar to a class prefect in secondary school). This will help you acclimatize easily to the academic environment and also help you stay abreast of information in and out of the classroom.

However, remember that you do not necessarily have to be friends with everyone. Choose your friends wisely. Choose friends who share similar passions and values, as they can provide support and understanding throughout your academic journey.

Be Open-minded: You’ll meet people from various backgrounds with different ideologies on campus. My advice to you is not to be afraid of challenging yourself intellectually. Stay open to different ideas, especially those that may challenge what you already know or believe. Embracing new perspectives will make your academic experience richer and might even lead you to discover new interests and learning paths.

Don’t limit your reading to just what is assigned for classes. Explore the school’s library, where you’ll find amazing books waiting for you. Pick a section, browse the shelves, and grab books that catch your attention. You might stumble upon something surprising and fascinating.

Remember, higher institutions of learning are designed to expose you to fresh ideas every day through your lecturers, fellow students, etc. Being open to new ideas will help you understand others better, learn new things, and become more resilient in your own beliefs.

Learn to Say “No”: Many young people find it quite hard to say “no” due to peer pressure. So they find themselves saying “yes” when they truly want to say “no.” You have to learn to confidently say “yes” when appropriate and firmly say “no” when necessary, without guilt or sentimentality.

You will be faced with plenty of distractions. Do not feel obligated to engage in anything you do not want or feel comfortable with. When something does not align with your values or priorities, it is time to say no without apologies. Do not allow peer pressure or the need to “belong” make you do things that will put you or your future at risk.

Be Financially prudent: It’s probably the first time you’ve had to live on your own. This also means you determine how you spend your money. One key piece of advice here is that you need to be realistic about your spending habits, even if you are financially privileged. It does not equally matter whether you are the one handling your bills at school or if you have parents or guardians taking care of your bills.

The reason is that there will likely be unavoidable expenses and needs that will spring up unexpectedly, and if you do not have immediate savings to fall back on, you will be left stranded. So learn to cut down on unnecessary spending. Don’t feel pressured to waste money on things that aren’t in line with your budget or financial priorities, especially when they have nothing to do with the number one reason you are in school.

Do Not Joke With Your Health: It takes so much energy to handle the day -to day activities on campus. It can be challenging and demanding. Stress and adapting to a new environment can lead to physical and mental health issues. So it’s important you take care of yourself. Eat nutritious meals to fuel your body and mind. Avoid junks if you can. Get enough sleep and ensure you visit the school clinic or any credible medical facility when you do not feel too well.

By taking care of yourself physically and mentally, you’ll be better equipped to handle challenges in school and make the most of your learning experience.

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