As Rochelle and I are starting our third year at university, we have picked up some valuable tips along the way which have had a big impact on our overall university experience. Everything from the best ways to save money to how to get a boost in those grades, I got you covered. Today I would like to share some tips to inspire you to continue reaching for them gold stars this school year with the same enthusiasm as you started it. Let’s dig in!
Your tuition is already quite pricy I assume but the price of textbooks also exceeds your monthly spending budget. What should you do? What I have found from experience is that you can definitely save a few bucks by either sharing the cost of the textbook with a friend (Rochelle and I have done this for French grammar books), reading it from course reserves (borrowing from the library), or simply finding an upper year that is willing to sell you their copy. The total of my textbooks was supposed to be around $300 and I paid only $50. How you may ask? Most textbooks are already in your school library so why not take it out for a short term loan?
Although this is usually the first tip that every alumni, website, YouTuber, whomever suggests, I cannot stress the importance of it. Getting to know your professor is not only a valuable way to learn more about the course in a personable way but you get to ask those pending questions that you couldn’t during the lecture. At the start of the school year, I mark up when I’m planning to see the professor which is usually the 3rd week of classes to introduce myself and ask generic questions about the course. This way when a big assignment rolls around, your professor is familiar with you and your interests.
Rochelle and I have been planning to go abroad together since grade 10. A lot has changed since then wether it be the countries we want to see or the programs we wish to take. However, experience dictates that we should let go of the conventional ways of thinking and have some fun in our university years. School and marks are crucial but why not combine both and have a wonderful learning experience of living in a foreign country. We are excited for what’s to come.
Student Business Card
This one is new for me and I learned about this unconventional way to step outside the box from one of the most helpful channels on YouTube: The Intern Queen! When you are networking, its much easier and let alone more professional to whip out your business card and offer it to whomever you are conversing with rather than scramble to write out your email on a piece of paper. I just purchased a batch from Vistaprint, 250 cards for $9.99 (shipping ain’t free though so look out for those coupons).
I tend to overexert myself by wanting to take part in everything from the newspaper to activist groups to free campus classes but I have since learned to pick and choose. Find your interests and I guarantee there is a group for that. Not only are you making meaningful friendships and connections but you are also creating an impact in your student community. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, then think of this as an opportunity to populate your resume. I also am looking to make room for meditation and yoga classes offered on campus for free as well as college offered food events (aka free pancakes) and the gym facilities/ dance classrooms. I use the mentally, “Well I paid for that.”
Events, the Classy Way
One of the best parts about university or college would be the freedom to go out. Now while partying is fun and a memorable experience, I am also talking about academic events. Come out to public lectures or alumni hosted events to get to know persons who have landed their dream jobs in your field. Not only do you make use of those business cards you’ve invested into but you also learn about the multitude of ways that people like you have gone about landing a dream job or getting accepted into an upper study program. Plus free refreshments, now come on.
LinkedIn and Resumes
Yes, I will admit that I am still trying to reach the All Star status on LinkedIn and I update it ASAP. However, this is all good habits that prepare you for your career and make you stand out. Having a nicely polished resume and great online presence is a must. LinkedIn is not Facebook so feel free to connect with people you admire, shoot them a message and learn how they landed their dream positions. As for the resume, you are already paying so much for your schooling, take advantage of the free resume and cover letter editing workshops to get yours up to date.
Staying on Track
First things first, to prevent disorganization and unnecessary stress, the minute you get your syllabus, mark those assignments and tests in your calendar. That way you see everything in a larger picture and can plan ahead. Next, go ahead and make that daily scheudule. Although every day might be slightly different, it doesn’t hurt to scheudule in study breaks, free time, and work.
Jobs, Make it Rain
I always found that I needed a job to afford luxuries like going out and a physical activity like dance classes to keep me from burning out and to keep happy. I love dance, I have been doing it professionally from the age of 5. Now with 6-8h of dancing a week, I feel withdrawal and the onset of a grumpy mood whenever I miss a practise. Its important to get those energy levels up, to get the adrenaline going as you exercise. While a job allows me to feel like I’m contributing positively not only to my community but at the same time I don’t complain about #PoorUniversityProblems. While those are the case, I like to treat myself to an occasional trip for drinks with friends too and come on, we all have to learn to do some #adulting.
Its okay not to be okay (see what I did there)
When you are surrounded by competitive peers and goal oriented persons in your program, its easy to feel like you don’t have a plan, that you are less accomplished then someone else, or that you are not doing enough. Raising my hand right now because I am so guilty of this. You never have to take the conventional route to get where you want such as high school, university, job. The options you have are boundless so remember not to get caught up in the competition and the academics. Do what works for you and trust that gut feeling.
At this point I think you burned out just reading this tips but I hope that you found them useful. Let me know in the comments if you learned anything new in this post and share your advice with me as well.
Question for you: How do you like to help out in your community?