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Jenna Godin

Getting Advice from an Older Sister

How to ease into the university transition.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who can answer even your most embarrassing questions? For some, that person can come in the form of a sibling or a close friend. However, sometimes, it’s hard to approach or even find a person who can give nonjudgemental, honest advice. People have anonymously written to me with questions asking for advice. In response, I’ve provided the best advice I can, based on my experiences. In this particular edition, I will be answering questions regarding this difficult transition to university, such as time management, study spots and roommate conflicts.

“I’ve been having a hard time keeping track of extracurriculars. How do you keep everything straight?”

Make a schedule! This is so crucial when it comes to organizing and making time for activities that really matter to you! I recommend making a spreadsheet and scheduling extracurricular activities around your class schedule, making sure to prioritize things based on how important they are to you.

“I’ve been having a hard time finding quiet places that allow me to focus. Where are the best places on campus to study?”

I love doing homework outside by the Memorial Union Terrace! It has a great view and it is a wonderful place to relax, but it isn’t necessarily quiet. I recommend it for some rejuvenation and light studying. When I really need to focus and be my most productive, I usually head to the library. My go-to libraries on campus are College Library and the Law Library. The views and quiet atmosphere accompanied by both are perfect for studying. Additionally, I’ve heard a lot about Upper House, which is a cozy place to study. I, myself, have yet to explore more study spots around campus.

“I’ve been having a hard time connecting with people ever since moving to college. What are your suggestions for finding new friends?”

First of all, I want you to know that you aren’t the only one feeling this way! It’s an entirely normal part of transitioning to college. I would suggest joining clubs because that’s a great way to meet people who have similar interests as you. Another great way I’ve made friends is by introducing myself to people that are in my classes. This is good because you can help each other with that subject and connect with people through common interests. I know it’s sometimes scary to talk to new people, but find comfort in the fact that you’re not experiencing this feeling alone.

“Between classes and extracurriculars, I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed. How do you stay sane?”

The best way I’ve found to deal with feeling overwhelmed is to schedule your free time! It’s so important to schedule and prioritize school, homework and extracurriculars, but in order to succeed in these areas, you need to give yourself time to relax. In between classes, try making time to read a book or practice other self-care activities to de-stress. Depending on your personal preference, you could also use this time to get homework done between classes. Rest and self-care are important, so make sure you schedule some time to focus on yourself when creating your daily to-do list.

“My roommate and I don’t get along. What should we do?”

I think the best thing to do would be to sit down and talk through any misunderstandings or problems you may have with each other. If that doesn’t work out and you’ve established that you are different people, I recommend that you both try to figure out ways to coexist. You can do this by figuring out how to split up basic responsibilities of the room, such as taking out the trash, vacuuming, etc. Having mutual respect, regardless of how much you might not like the other person, is so important. If all else fails, it might be best to bring in someone as a mediator to help work things out between the two of you.

During this transition process, there will be many things that don’t instantly click. Although this transition to university may seem overwhelming and at times impossible, just know you’re not alone! There are so many people who are struggling when it comes to balancing their social life, studying and extracurricular activities, so it’s completely normal. It just takes time, so let time do its thing!

Hareem Rauf

Wisconsin '25

I'm a freshman at UW Madison studying Life Sciences Communication.
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