Each and every time I talk to prospective first year university students I advice them to take their first year as seriously as they would take their second and final year. Most of the time students take their first year at university for granted because it doesn’t count towards your final degree classification. Regardless of that fact, it is essential that you give in your 100% during your first year. And here’s why:
a) It lays down your foundation
Just like it is impossible to build over a cracked foundation, it is as difficult to perform well with the rest of your studies at university if your very base is weak. University is very different from high school and first year teaches you the very basics of learning within a university environment. It ensures stability for the entirety of your time as a university student.
b) It gives you the freedom to make mistakes
As I mentioned before, university is very different from high school and the most notable difference is in the way you are assessed. Writing academic essays can be a challenging task. You must know how to search for and use the relevant academic literature in your essay. How to cite, reference and write a bibliography in order to avoid plagiarism can be another daunting task. First year teaches you how to approach these challenges and hand in a successful piece of work. It is the perfect time to make mistakes and learn from them as you have the luxury to do so. You also have the freedom to experiment with your writing style and find out what works best for you.
c) It gives you the time to learn work-life balance
Everyone goes crazy during their first year because of this glorious thing called new found independence. Some party too much, some join too many societies, some take up a lot of part-time work or some drown themselves in assessments. It is important to keep a balance. Too much of anything is not good for you. First year gives you the time and opportunity to establish habits that will work in your favour and also learn the art of work-life balance as well as time management.
Use your first year as an opportunity to learn and find your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Don’t waste it away. I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead of you!