*Editor’s note: Today on the blog we have a guest author who is also a post-secondary student. Whether you’ve just recently started your post secondary education, have transferred into a new school/program, or are making a return to school after an extended break – it’s completely understandable if you’re equal parts excited and terrified. Our guest author has some fantastic advice to share and a unique insight that can only come from experience. If you’re still finding that things are tougher than you’d expected and you’re struggling, it’s ok to ask for help. Don’t go it alone, consult a physician or medical professional today.
Starting post-secondary can be exciting and scary. It’s a time where you’re empowered to make personal schooling decisions, get closer to your life goals and career of choice, and you can make friendships that last a lifetime!
Get involved in some sort of community group (at the school or not) whether that’s physical activity, arts, or volunteering. Intentionally spending time with a group of others – serving somewhere together or just having fun will help with homesickness and making like-minded friends! A friend or two in your classes is also helpful for studying or questions. Who knows, you could have many classes together in the future!
Look on Facebook for the textbook exchange pages to get cheap books from old students, as long as they are still the same version that your teacher is using.
Remember, school is not your entire life, and neither are grades! Keep your long-term goals in mind, and not necessarily every small detail. Work hard and be satisfied with the time you put in. Set out blocks of time to study for sure and times to do other things. When you look back you will want to have been proud of the accomplishment of school, but also time you spend with people. There is time and options to switch your program of choice as you go, so don’t feel stuck in your program right away (you’ll probably have a lot of years with your job afterwards)! Lots of first year university (maybe not college) classes transfer as options to different programs, so don’t be too worried about wasting time with classes. Sitting down with an advisor is SUPER helpful in making sure you are on track/picking the right classes. Lots of students use this resource!
Ask your Professors for help and advice. With the Lethbridge University and College being relatively small, the profs are more approachable, willing to help, and wanting students to succeed! Sometimes you can even get class credit by working with a professor on their research projects, so look into that if it interests you.
Stay safe when going out- keep a few friends close around you –not all people will have your best interests in mind, and make decisions you will be happy/content with the next day and through next section of your life!
Also remember, most of my friends said they cried lots their first year and missed home a lot, but it was always better by the second year! Some didn’t even want to go home for summers after.
When times get tough with grades or social life, remember it is just a short time of your life. Keep your long-term goals in mind, even if they shift over time! Take time to eat well, get lots of sleep, and exercise because sometimes these things help much more than staying up late studying. Routines are good. Try to keep up or ahead on readings/assignments at the start of the semester, you will be thanking yourself later in crunch time of exams!
Also keep an eye out for good, cheep/free meals from churches: Evangelical Free Church has toonie supper every Sunday at 5pm, free international potlucks on Saturday once/month, and some Sundays free lunch. University Drive Alliance has free pancake breakfast during the last week of each semester, and College Drive Community has $2 Spaghetti every Wednesday 11am—1:00pm. And there’s probably more!
There’s also many supports such as counseling, tutors, academic strategists, and more on both campuses, so talk to a professor or admin. staff to take advantage of these and get the most out of your schooling experience.
Take care! You got it! Enjoy this time. It’s not as long as it may seem!
Graduate of Bachelor of Biological Sciences, now taking Nursing.