When it comes to study at a higher level of education, there becomes a bit of a jump in both workload and lifestyle. Whether you’re geared up for it or not, parts of it will come as a shock. I’m here to break down some of these things for you so they come as less of a surprise. Finding your feet is one thing, keeping your stance comes with time and organisation!
- It’s up to.
At this level of education, it really is up to you and you alone. Unlike the days at school, or even if you have been employed many years since then, you don’t always have someone following you up on your work. If you don’t do the work, you fail. That’s nobody’s problem but yours. This kind of approach can take some getting used to. However, it’s important to remember that, just because it’s your responsibility, you aren’t completely alone. The biggest lesson I learnt in my first year at university was to ask questions. If you aren’t confident that you understand the question being asked of you, or you’re struggling grasping a concept that was covered in that day’s lecture – wait back at the end of class or simply send an email to your lecturer voicing your concerns. You will get a response and, believe me, you will be better off for it. Even if you feel a little foolish for having to ask, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing than will pretending you understand and internally freaking out about it.
- You’ll deal with all sorts of people.
I write this from the perspective of a girl who grew up in a town of 3000 people. Maybe it hit me more than others. But the fact remains the same, you will be in close proximity with most of your classmates throughout the duration of your degree. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t matter. Some will ask unnecessary questions that the teacher answered just moments ago, some will call out the answer before anyone else has a chance to do so every single time. It’s up to you to treat this as you would the workplace. Whatever anyone else is doing doesn’t matter. Just don’t let anyone else pressure you into letting them look at your work. It’s yours – not theirs.
- It’s a different kind of workload than you’re used to.
Whether you’re coming straight out of high school or you’ve been in the workplace for years, this will be different. It will step up a notch. The workload is large and content is covered faster than you had imagined. Especially those of you who haven’t studied recently, there will be days where you will won’t to throw it all at the wall. Sometimes, when you haven’t studied for a while, you’re brain actually needs to be retrained to absorb new information again. It sounds scary, but once it gets back in the swing of it you won’t look back. It also means that your course goes by in leaps and bounds and before you know it, it’s over. Trust me.
- It’s rewarding in so many ways.
It doesn’t matter how academic you are – when you get to that day of graduation you’ll understand why all the struggle was worth it. Not only do you learn more about yourself (how you work best, how you go under pressure and what you really want to get out of your career) but you will have gained confidence in some many other areas as well. Obviously you’ll leave with the knowledge you’ve gain throughout your course. However, along the way you will have gained confidence in yourself too. You achieved years of tertiary study. That’s no small feat. You got through the assessments, the uncertainties, you kept everything together and you stand with a degree at the end of it. The workforce welcomes you. Time to go get ‘em.