How to Transition to Uni
Congratulations! You made it out of high school and into uni! It only gets worse from here.
Kidding; nothing is worse than high school. But uni is a step up; there’s more work, more difficult assignments, and your teachers don’t know your name. But, there’s also more choice, more freedom, and you can choose to never do calculus again if you don’t want to.
Because StudyTime has your back (think Leo in the Titanic) now and forever, here’s a few tips to transition out of the cold, hard embrace that is NZQA and into the depths of uni studies.
1. Learn the proper way to take notes
In high school, it’s extremely easy to create a habit of copying down what’s on the whiteboard (do they still have those?) or PowerPoint.
There will be the same temptation in uni, but the important difference is that the lecture slides will be published online.
What you’re paying thousands of dollars for is not to sit there looking at the PowerPoint, but the lecturer.
Make a habit of briefly noting down what content the lecturer is referring to, and listen to them! Don’t blindly record whatever they say – but jot down important points you might forget instead.
P.S. Don’t be that person typing like they’re hacking into the Pentagon when the lecturer is talking about their office hours. Please.
2. Use apps to organise your life
It’s inevitable that at some point(s) in the year, you’ll be given all of your assignments at once along with managing a part-time job and a wild social life. This is where the importance of having your life together comes into play.
There’s a number of ways to calendar and keep track of what you’ve got to do, and some of them are even aesthetic. A study found that top-performing students consistently have schedules that work for them, rather than “optimal” schedules that aren’t really followed. Try Google Calendar, Momentum for desktop (a personal favourite), Timetable, or good-old-paper for your wall. Technology is great, find ways to use apps to your advantage!
3. Suss your sleep
Sleep is one of those things that sounds stupidly cliché but is dlow one of the most helpful things you can work on, for a number of reasons.
Sleep expert Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley summarised the first reason nicely: sleep deprivation hinders your brain’s ability to make new memories (which isn’t ideal) and psychological deterioration happens after only 16 hours (unfortunately for my late-night studying people).
The second reason is less scientific: morning lecturers suck when you’re tired (that is, if you don’t press snooze through it). Try get 7-9 hours, and even a sleep app to get at it – Apple even has a Bedtime function for the built-in Clock app.
4. Try do your readings before the lecture
If you want to feel like you’re dominating uni, try and finish your readings before the lecture, or at least give them a quick once-over.
This will provide you with a whole lot more context for why the lecturer is talking about what they’re talking about, and allow you to make connections between concepts on a wider scale.
Also, you’ll just feel ahead of the game.
5. Pack lunches
Paninis at uni literally cost thousands of dollars.
6. Take whatever subjects you feel interested in
We touched on this in the our earlier guide, but we’ll touch it again. Instead of obsessing too much on what exact subjects you need to take for the optimum career path (because, let’s face it, who really knows where we’ll end up), take papers in the broad direction you want to go and then narrow it down. You’ll find out what works for you, you’ll find out what doesn’t, and you’ll be much happier with your choices and have skills that you enjoyed learning.
Know why the MacBook led the world in typography style when it was released? Because Steve Jobs walked in on a random typography class for the yarns, even though it had nothing to do with what he thought he was going to do.
7. Go to career talks
Every now and again, someone will come and give presentations and seminars on the random, exciting jobs they’ve ended up at. These are invaluable for getting actual insider info on the places your choices now can take you. High school doesn’t really give you a great understanding of what options are out there, but talks at uni can – if you give them the chance.
8. Have fun!
Uni is sick, and it’s the next level of your educational journey. Study whatever you want whenever you want, make new friends, party responsibly, and above all – enjoy your uni life. One day you’ll look back at this time of your life and realise that it was the best ever and now your life really sucks. Make the most of it.