4 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started University

Take the advice or get ready to relate!


1. It’s okay if you don’t make close friends right away 

Maybe its all the books and movies that have the perfect and inseparable college clique that are hitting the bars and having tear-jerking, heart-to-hearts in the middle of the night that makes us believe that you’re doomed if you fail to find “your people” as soon as you enter university. If you instantly clicked with your dorm mates or sat next to someone in class who quickly became your best friend, then that’s great! But it’s also okay if you don’t feel a strong connection to the people you first meet at university. The truth is, you’re going to meet so many people while you’re there and you might even find yourself changing what you look for in a real friendship. You can’t force connections but you can increase your chances of finding one by saying yes more — to going to events or parties, joining clubs, talking to your classmates, etc.


 2. Actually study…and talk to your professors 

It’s so easy to get caught up and overwhelmed in the initial university buzz of signing up for classes, joining clubs, making friends, and going out. But don’t let this keep you from actually going to all your classes and working hard to achieve and maintain good grades. You might think that your first-year grades don’t “really matter”, and granted, in the grand scheme it might not, but it can still set a standard for your attitude towards the rest of your university career and bring you opportunities later. Your grades/GPA matters if you want to study abroad or go to grad school - and these are things you might be unsure of pursuing when you first enter university, but it’s definitely a good idea to know that you have these options. By talking to your professors, you will familiarize yourself to them and show them your character — this is great because you never know if you might need a recommendation letter from one of them later or if they have research/work opportunities that they’ll find you suitable for. 


3. Don’t be intimidated by other people

It’s human nature to compare yourself to other people…and you’re especially prone to do it in university, since you’re meeting so many types of people every day. I felt (I still sometimes do) very intimidated by some of the people I met and became friends with, as they told me about how they already have jobs that even involve travel or cool offices, or have their own side business, have a lot of professional connections, etc…because then there’s me, who’s struggling to balance a part-time job and going to classes. But just because other people are doing cool things, doesn’t mean you’re never going to. All these people have different backgrounds, might be older than you, and have had more time and experience, etc. Be inspired by these people, not intimidated. 


4. Find ways to stay connected to home 

You might find yourself homesick or feeling lost sometimes while you’re in university,  and something that can always make you feel grounded is reminding yourself where you came from. It’s so important to call your parents often, they want to hear about your new life and keep up with you too! Stay connected with your friends from high school as well. Sure, people change after high school including you, but you might find yourself growing together instead of growing apart. Some of my best memories of university so far have actually been when my friends from high school came to visit me and I gave them a campus tour and we explored Tokyo together.