University is just as stressful as trying to bike in the Netherlands in the rain while looking out for bikes, trams, metro, trains, people, and just about everything else (living and dead). Am I the only one who stresses about that?
Looking back, there are always things you wish someone else would have told you.Today, I would like to bring your attention to a few (who’s counting?) things my friends and I wish we knew when we were freshman in Rotterdam.
1. Everyone will be your best friend during freshman week.
2. Bring medication.
You will need it for the first few months.
3. It takes time to adjust.
Moving to a new country on a “clean slate” with no friends paints a dark picture. Just know that things get better with time (and a few drinks).
4. It is easy to fall behind in the first few months.
With all the dancing, drinking, and hungover mornings, it’s quite easy to lapse and be slapped in the face with midterms around the corner.
Water tends to be forgotten amongst all those beer, wine, and vodka bottles.
6. Friends will come and go.
It is totally normally to jump between different friend circles until you find the right one. No hard feelings.
7. Go to the first lecture for each subject.
This will give you a clearer picture of the upcoming 3-4 months and help you decide whether it is worth it to come to class or not.
8. Even if classes are not mandatory, push yourself to attend as many (of the useful ones, at least) as you can.
You would be so surprised how easy it is to skip out on lectures according to your “priorities”.
9. For further emphasis, PRIORITIZE.
10. Do not buy books (before the first class).
Trust me, you will regret buying them in the first place and wish you used that money on something else. I can bet you on that! Also, summaries exist (e.g. SlimStuderen and Reken Maar Verslagen).
11. Call your parents.
Definition of parent: one that begets or brings forth offspring. You’re welcome.
12. It is okay to drift away from your high school friends.
You might as well filter out the ones who gave up on your friendship just because of distance apart, let’s be practical.
13. No, you don’t HAVE to go to every party.
There will always be more nights to go out but not enough nights to chill, study, and have “me time”.
14. Ask questions.
Whether it’s in a class of 500 students or a meeting with a professor, ask questions. More than 60% (yes, I just made up that percentage) of the time, there will be others who were also wondering about that concept.
15. Befriend at least 1 person who actually reads the course manual.
In other words, befriend a German. You’ll thank me later.
16. Get involved, but don’t overdo it.
You and I both know it is good for your CV. Also, it’s better to be fully invested in something than stretching yourself out over several activities or organizations, only to give 20% to each.
17. Experiment with your study habits.
Try a study group, study buddy, different location, using music, using incentives, and making notes. Who knows, you may have a new winning study habit.
18. Keep notifications on at all times (except summer, of course) for your class Facebook group.
I know it’s annoying to get a lot of notifications. However, you might miss out on a question someone has asked or important announcements.
19. Do not leave your references for last minute.
Most times your university has a reference guide they require you to follow. Unfortunately, the online generators just don’t cut it.