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Things about university I learned the hard way

By Chisom Alaoma

Read your textbooks and make notes in advance

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I realize that this might be hard but if you can, you should. I recommend trying to read your notes after each class or ASAP because it’s hard to catch on during exam week and I’m speaking from experience. I'm someone who didn't ever read my textbooks in my first year. I started to do it in second year and it makes a huge difference. I feel much more prepared for class, and cramming for exams is much easier. Basically, I'm a better person because of it. 

The syllabus is essential and in some cases, the study guide for the class

We hear it over and over again, but it's true! Read the syllabus - it is essential and your guidebook for any class. The professor always has necessary things on the outline so instead of being the student who has to ask a potentially obvious question. Be the one that's responsible enough to know that it is all in the syllabus.  No one's ever told me that I ask stupid questions in class. That's because I read the syllabus.

Always listen to the professor

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They often say something meaningful or something that can help you in the future. I had a professor tell me in first year that I didn't go "in depth" when sharing my personal experience. I didn't know what she meant at the time, and it's because I wasn't listening. Don't just listen - REALLY listen. Open your eyes and ears in class. If you start to divert your attention, then you miss everything.

Avoid 8 a.m. lectures

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I am telling you this as a morning person, I hate morning classes. It’s not logical. I am a downtown student, so I always have to travel from north to downtown every day. However, having an 8 a.m. class especially during the winter requires you to have this imaginary power that not even coffee can help with. I have late classes one night and thought it was a good idea to take an 8 a.m. class the next morning. It wasn't. My advice is if you don’t have to do it — just "DON’T." because it is super draining. 

Procrastination is a sin

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Live by this: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! I can't handle the stress that procrastination causes me. It's not worth it. When you say stuff like - I will do it tomorrow - you probably might but there's a big chance that something else happens tomorrow and before you know it, you're stuck rushing on the due date. So, get that stuff done NOW!

Group projects can be harder than independent assignments

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Some people are just entirely uncooperative. I've had to work with group mates from hell. Y'know, the ones who do their part of the project the day before it's due, and then they do it wrong and I'm left to edit the whole thing? Those people sleep with the devil. Group projects are important so if someone’s slacking and you’ve tried talking to them about it and nothing has changed - talk to the professor. It has always worked for me.

Being independent is a new journey

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I was sheltered in high school. There was always someone I could fall back on. When I got to university, I had to figure it out on my own. I was 17 when I got to university and I felt so lost. I felt like I had to act older than I was. Truthfully, "fake it 'til you make it" was my reality. Making friends was crucial for me to get where I am now, they made me feel less alone on this journey of independence.

Avoid online courses. #Retweet to save a life

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Sure it’s convenient being at home all day. However, I kid you not when I say it’s not possible to chill and concentrate at the same time. Online classes can be genuinely tricky no matter how savvy you are. I was too relaxed with my online class and I fell way behind. I lost 10% of my participation grade and had to work the rest of the semester to redeem myself.

Sleep

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Sleep is a privilege and a luxury in university. In some cases, if you have time to sleep, then you might be doing something wrong, or you’re incredibly great at time management. Either way, sleep is a luxury. I remember this one time I had studied for a test and ended up crashing. And in the end, I ended failing the test but, I passed the class. So, the essence of that weird story is to tell you to manage your time and sleep when needed.