First Year Survival Guide

First year can be one of the most confusing and exciting times of your life. All of a sudden, you are completely surrounded by members of the opposite sex, have almost total freedom, and your only responsibility is to make good grades. There are things you can do to make the transition into university smoother, but there are going to be bumps in the road regardless. Nevertheless, don’t be nervous. Below is a guide to almost everything you need to know about university and what to expect if you are going to be attending FNU.

What to bring

Ready to pack? It can be very overwhelming thinking about what to bring if you are going to stay away from home. It is better to over pack, than to under pack. Bring as much as you can from home so you don’t have to buy everything new. So, what to bring?
• Sheets, pillows and blankets
• Snacks
• Tissues
• Laptop
• Supplies to do your washing
• Laundry basket
• Pictures of great events that have happened. Great memories, can turn a bad day upside down.

If you are going to have roommates, you can talk to them and see who can bring what. Some possible things you are may want to share between all of you:
• TV
• Mini fridge
• DVD player/Movies

For students staying in hostels/ dormitories, please refer to the Halls of Residence Regulations.

Arriving on campus

Don’t be completely shocked. It isn’t as scary as it looks. When first arriving, take it all in. The good news is; all the other students are going through the same thing. No one knows where the food court is, where all their classes are, or even where the library is. Every school wants it to be as easy as possible and there are so many resources to use to make everything easier. The school will look huge at first, and for the first couple weeks, but after a while the school will seem really small, and you will wonder why you ever thought it was big in the first place. You will be able to navigate through campus very easily.

Getting organised

Now that you have unpacked everything, and it is all sitting in your dorm or apartment, where do you get started? First, start out with a plan. Try and picture what you want your room to look like. You may want to immediately ask for help from your parents, friends, or roommates but this is a task that you should try to do by yourself. You are going to want to organise your room by yourself so that you know where everything is, and you give it your own personal touch, and make it where you want to live.

Saying goodbye to the parents

Saying goodbye to your parents is going to be very hard, and emotional, if you are going to stay on campus. You are saying bye to your family that you have lived with, and have depended on for the past eighteen years of your life. Remember that they are always going to be there for you, love you, and support you. But this is a time for you to move on, start your own life, and officially become an adult. This is where you are going to learn how to do everything for yourself. Don’t say goodbye, say “see you later”. You will see them before you know it. Live it up and enjoy your first year. But remember, if you ever do need anything your family is only a phone call away. And no one said it was going to be easy.

For some it isn’t hard to say goodbye. For some it will be waterworks. Most students are ready for a change and ready to start living on their own. You are going to miss your family and friends, and will eventually get homesick but that is why there are buses, and taxis. Try to not go home as much as you would like, because remember you will most likely be going home for holidays and breaks.

Finding your way around

You can always ask anyone at any time. Chances are everyone is going through the same thing as you, or they were even in your spot a couple of years ago. Campuses are made to make it easy for students and for everyone to get around. Never be afraid to ask someone for directions. If you are trying to find your way around town, just explore. University is all about walking everywhere. Just start walking and find places by yourself. Always try to find landmarks that you can remember so you don’t get lost where you have no idea how to get back.

Getting involved

Getting involved is a great way to meet new people, have a great time, and find something you love. Always keep an eye open for flyers around campus. Also, listen to see what other people are talking about. You may find something new and interesting that way. Also, see what your school has to offer for clubs, sports, or even volunteer opportunities. Getting involved will keep you from being bored and sitting in your dorm or apartment alone and dull. It is okay to be alone and just relax most times, but university is all about getting out there and getting involved. Getting involved with sports is always a good option if you are looking to make friends. FNU offers a variety of co-curricular activities that you can be part of.

Socialising

Most of the time you get invited to parties just by asking around and seeing what other people are doing and just going along with them. Peer pressure may or may not be a problem, the choices you make totally depends on you. If you go to a party, you may be tempted to drink. A good way to stay safe, especially at a place that is known for being a party school, is by having at least one sober person in your group. Before going out, make sure you know how you are going to get home. And a good suggestion is to set a time that you want to start heading back. The times you should even consider partying would be on the weekends even though you will hear about everyone going out on Thursdays.

If you do not want to go to a party, then don’t go. Do whatever you want to do and what you think is right. Do not give in to peer pressure. Underage drinking is bad and illegal. If you get caught, you are going to have to pay the consequences. If you still want to go and drink at these parties, make sure you are really safe, know your limit, don’t get caught, and make sure you know your way home.

Most students are too young to legally drink during first year, so it’s best not to partake at all. If you do drink, it’s important to realise your limits. Always be fully aware of the consequences of underage drinking and getting drunk. Once you start drinking, that will put a target on your back.

Always remember there are so many other things you can do besides underage drinking. Your time will come to be 21. Be patient and don’t get an underage drinking ticket on your record.

Maintaining a balance

Remember university life can be quite demanding. It is important to balance your academic and social life.

How to Keep Your Stress Level Low
For some, working out is how they keep their stress level low. Take little breaks for a breather. Eat well and make sure you get a good rest.

Studying Tips
Weekends are a great time to catch up on all of your homework. You can either work really hard and keep up with everything during the week and then take a break during the weekend or keep up with things during the week and then catch up fully on the weekend. Try and find out what works best for you as soon as possible and stick with it. If whatever you are doing doesn’t work out for you, you should change it right away. Make sure you get the necessary amount of studying time.

How to Excel in University
Always ask questions and look in the book for help. If you ever have questions, do not be afraid to go and ask the lecturer. Even a weekly review is helpful. On Fridays you go over everything you have learned through the week and make sure you know all of that material. University moves pretty quickly so make sure you stay focused on your A game. Make sure to do all your homework on time, turn everything in when it needs to be turned in, study for all your exams, try not to skip classes, and avoid putting too much on your plate because that leads to stress.

Random, Helpful Tips!
• Try not to procrastinate and go to class, it is actually helpful.
• Just because there is a party, does not mean you have to go to it.
• If you ever feel uncomfortable at a party or a friend’s dorm, don’t be afraid to leave.
• Don’t do things that you don’t want to do.
• If you have any questions, never be afraid to ask them.
• If you need a tutor, ask around. Maybe your classmates can help. If not, tutoring centers are offered for free.
• Get involved early, and things will start to pick up fast.
• Go out of your comfort zone to meet people, it will be worth it in the end.
• Get a job, but make sure you first have a good handle on everything, and make sure you will be able to keep your grades up.
• Your parents are not always going to send you money, so save, save, save.
• Eat healthy and work out.

Moving Forward

Stay focused on school and make sure you make time for yourself. Your first year will be over before you know it. Try and make it last! If you know what your major is, make sure you stay on track and take the classes that you need to take. If you are still unsure of your major, take a variety of classes that might catch your attention and follow through with it.
University is an amazing adventure, love every minute of it, make great new friends, and enjoy the experience!
Good luck!!