Hey everyone! My name is Andre and I’m entering into the last few days of my freshman year at UWO. Now that the school year is almost over, I’ve been thinking back on the year and realizing that there were some things that I wish I had done to make my first year here on campus a little bit easier. So here are just a few of my tips that you can use to make your first year that much easier.
1. Go to sleep earlier
When you come to college there isn’t anyone to tell you when you should be in bed. Because of this, I would stay up some nights longer than I should have.
I suggest doing homework throughout the day instead of waiting to do it at night so you aren’t up forever. I’m still working on getting myself to go to sleep earlier in general though, so I’ll let you know if I come up with any more tips for this. (Some people are just night owls. If that’s the case… you’ll have to do your best to schedule your classes for later in the day.)
2. Manage your time better
Since my parents weren’t around to stay on my case, I had to find ways to manage my work, school and basketball schedule.
Having a calendar in your room to write down important dates helps a lot of people. Also take advantage of the time you do have wisely. Multitask if you can. For example, I see a lot of people study while they work out in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (on treadmills/stationary bikes).
3. Know your priorities
There have been times that guys on my floor would want to go to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center or play video games. I would say yes instead of saying no, and not finish the homework I had to do that night and have to do it early the next day or stay up way too late getting it done.
Sometimes you might feel mean for saying no, but there are plenty of chances to have fun and you can always reschedule for a time when everyone can hangout!
4. Don’t procrastinate
Procrastinating is by far the worst one for me because I have so little extra time in my schedule that when I finally get some time, I don’t want to do anything… especially if I know I have a lot to do. Sitting there and saying, “I’ll start in five minutes” usually means 30.
Going to the library is a good way for people to “buckle down” and get stuff done. Also try to do little things throughout the day. If you have an extra 15 minutes, start doing a reading assignment or study a little. It makes a big difference.
5. Know how to live with someone else
My roommate and I would get along, but sometimes we wouldn’t go to sleep at the same time… or one of would be trying to study in the room while the other one was watching TV. Things like that can cause problems if you don’t address them.
Communication helps a lot. Talk to your roommate and tell them if you need it to be quiet or have to study. Talk to them ahead of time, instead of getting mad after the fact. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you never tell someone something isn’t working out so well, they’ll just keep doing it.
6. Keep in touch with the family
Sometimes I will say I’ll call home in the morning, but then get caught up in the day and by the time I remember to call it’s 9 p.m. And then I don’t call because I think it’s too late.
I have found that the perfect time to call is when you need a break from studying/homework. It’s a good way to take a break and relax. This only works if you’re studying during the day… and not at 9 p.m.
7. Make a ton of friends
I realized this was important from the start. The more you talk to people, the more friends you have!
The first couple of weeks is the best way to make friends because everyone is new. A ton of people leave their doors open, so you can walk past, peep your head in and introduce yourself. There are also a lot of events on campus the first few weeks and throughout the year. Take advantage of the events. You’ll meet people throughout the year too in your classes or through mutual friends. Facebook makes this easy also… you can go on your class Facebook page and meet people before you come to campus.
8. Get involved
Whether you join a club or intramurals (team sports that can be either competitive or noncompetitive). There is something out there for everyone. I got involved in the basketball team and have two on-campus jobs.
There are tons of activities available here on campus. To sign up for sport-type events you go to the Student Recreation page and follow the easy step-by-step process. Clubs and organizations put up posters all over campus advertising meeting times and events. You also get an email every week called ‘campus announcements’ with everything that is going on that week. (Read it!)
9. Don’t wait to study
When I first came to college I would cram the night before an exam. But now I take time in advance to look over my notes before a test. It makes a huge difference.
Going back to #2, having a calendar is a good way to help plan ahead for studying. If you know when tests or projects are due, you can prepare for however long you need. Don’t procrastinate!
10. Use the workshops and academic services available
For your future reference: the math lab is in Swart hall and is open Monday-Friday. The Writing Center is located in the Student Success Center. The Center for Academic Resources is where you can request (or be) a tutor as well!
So there you have it, those are 10 things that have made my first year a whole lot easier! I hope you take these things into consideration. If anyone has questions or needs or any other tips feel free to contact me on my Facebook page at facebook.com/andre.uwo.