42 Things I Wish I Knew in My First Year at University

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

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.

5. Hydrate.
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. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

20. Do not underestimate that word count.
I guarantee you will spend more time trying to cut down words than the time you will spend waiting in line at any freshman party.

21. Randomly assigned group projects may be the cause of a few grey hairs.

22. Your first year DOES count.
Make sure you know the passing guidelines as well as you know your own name.

23. Avoid becoming heavily dependent on campus and takeout meals.
Yes, exam time is stressful and you may not “have time”. Eating out is not only bad for your health most times, but your wallet is also crying.

24. Go to the market.
You would be surprised how much you can get for €1.

25. Invest in a personal ov-chipkaart.
This helps you save money by subscribing to NS travelling plans. Google has all the answers.

26. Make sure everyone walks with their ID when buying alcohol.

27. Make time to waste time.
You’re going to procrastinate anyways, so why not include it in your schedule to be on top of things?

28. Invest in a Netflix plan with your friends.
Some days just call for binge-watching. Actually, I take that back, because we don’t need occasions to binge-watch anything.

29. Take advantage of supermarket specials and student deals.
It is these little joys in life that make student life bearable.

30. Walk.
Trust me when I say that you learn a lot more about a city on foot than you will when you bike, metro, or tram.

31. Sleeping > Partying after you pull an all-nighter.
Depends how you argue it, though.

32. Group pressure is a thing.
You better toughen up.

33. Always drink or go out with a friend, never alone.
Two is always better than one. Two mojitos.

34. There is always someone smarter and dumber than you in the room.
I’m a realist, what can I say?

35. Figure out how to use a basic washing machine.
Don’t let those clothes pile up, because do you know how hard it is to function in the Netherlands without socks?

36. It is okay to wear sweatpants to class.
But it depends, really.

37. Bring a bottle of alcohol (OR TWO) to your last exam.
It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere, right?

38. It is possible to get absolutely trashed by only drinking wine.
I promise I have two friends who can vouch for this.

39. It is perfectly acceptable to reach a new low of living off of €1 instant noodles.
I recommend Indo Mie.

40. Get to know people first before asking them to be your next housemate.
Even if you can’t possibly find out everything about the person, do not rush this. See how they react in different scenarios and think whether you can really stand to be around them for longer than 12 hours!

41. You have the power to study for finals, watch a YouTube video, cry, and eat at the same time.
Do not undersell yourself, come on.

42. Most of all, you are all in the same boat.
You are not the only one panicking and winging life.



Yashita here! This will be my last post for ISR and I hope you will be able to relate to some of these experiences. Thank you for stopping by this blog over the past year and good luck first years!

Image Source