University is a transformative period for personal growth and self-discovery. It provides opportunities for you to explore your identity, develop critical thinking skills, expand your knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. It's a time to challenge your beliefs, expand your horizons, and develop a sense of autonomy and resilience.
For me, university life was an extremely transformational experience. I was an expat student in the Netherlands. I was free to make my own choices and I did everything I wanted when I wanted. I battled with low confidence, overindulging in drugs and alcohol, over/under-eating, diving into relationships blindly, and really just acting without any thinking. And I loved it, honestly. Looking back those were amazing times and I don’t regret any of it. However, I did miss having guidance and someone to talk to openly, which would have spared me some bad decisions.
Considering that navigating life in university can be both exciting and challenging, here are some tips to help you navigate and make the most of your university experience:
Attend Classes and Engage: Sounds boring, but bear with me. Attend lectures, participate in discussions, and engage with your professors. Active involvement in your classes will deepen your understanding of the subjects and help you assess if this is the right subject for you. Avoiding that might ultimately lead to frustration, demotivation, and stress because you’re trying to be part of a subject that isn’t a good fit for you.
Foster Relationships: Cultivate meaningful relationships with classmates, professors, and peers from extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations that align with your interests. Networking and building connections can help you feel more at home in the new environment and create fun memories.
Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize your physical and mental well-being. Take out time to be by yourself and check in on how you are feeling. Engage in some self-reflection and ask yourself the following questions Does this feel good to me?
- Do I feel happy being with this person/attending this class/doing this activity/being in this place?
- How do I imagine my future self if I continue on this path?
- What do I struggle with at this moment?
Embrace Diversity: University campuses are typically diverse, bringing together students from various backgrounds and cultures. Embrace diversity, engage in intercultural experiences, and learn from different perspectives. This will enrich your university life and broaden your worldview. It will also keep things fun and creative.
Seek Support: Take advantage of the support services provided by your university, such as academic advising, tutoring programs, and counseling services. Reach out for assistance when you need it, whether it's related to academics, career planning, or personal challenges. If your school does not provide such resources, search online for the support you need.
Remember, everyone's university experience is unique. Be open to new experiences, be proactive in seeking opportunities, and be resilient in overcoming obstacles. Enjoy the journey and make the most of your time in university. And if you feel the need for support, you can reach out to me and we go through this together.