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48 replies to this topic

#1
Hawks
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Or Uni, as you Brits like to call it.

I'm going in the fall, and I figure a number of other TIFers are too, and was wondering what lovely tidbits of advice you have to share. Something you wish you brought with you? Best place to get textbooks? Etc. Mostly stuff that you overlooked when you started or things you want to know if you're starting now.

Thanks in advance for the advice. :P

#2
Maleficus1055
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Be as friendly as you possibly can to make friends. It sucks to be 3 weeks into school still eating alone.
I assume you're staying at school? Even if the school allows you to check out things, bring them. Like, my college allows students to check out vacuums if they need them, but they're old, don't work well, and are prone to exploding dust. Just get your own.
Don't forget a plunger, I learned that one after my roommate disappeared and took all his stuff (including that) and then the next day I proceeded to clog the toilet for the first time in my life.

Don't let yourself gain the "Freshman 15". I gained 20 pounds last year, went from 135 to 155, and I feel terrible because if I had just gone and exercised a little bit each day, I would have been fine. SO join the school gym if they have one, and GO.

#3
Lord Paul
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Just have fun. *eyes twinkle*
I just finished my first year, and it was a blast living on campus. If you don't already have a job, I would suggest trying to get an on-campus job. I'm doing undergraduate research, and it also landed me a job for the summer. I wasn't initially planning on getting a job, but it looks great on a résumé if you work throughout college.
Other than that, I would suggest getting to know your professors as it has a big impact. My professors are a lot laid back towards students that are willing to learn and just speak with them after class about whatever.

As for what to bring, I wish that I had bought more snacks as sometimes it's a pain in the ass to walk to the cafeteria. And I can see it out of my window. :P
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#4
Sy_Accursed
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Or Uni, as you Brits like to call it.


Or Uni as basically every country in the world other than USA call it.

But yeah just enjoy it it flys by and is an amazing experience, can take a while to settle in etc but it'll pass if you just get on with it.

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#5
Skull
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Don't buy your books until you know you need them (actually need them, as in you have assigned readings that are in the book and nowhere else). You can save hundreds by deciding what you will actually use. Rent them if you can. Check amazon, ebay, etc for them if you can't. Never, ever buy new. $400 for a book you'll look at twice is just idiotic.

Make friends. Literally try to be friends with everyone and anyone, at least in your first week/month/semester. After that you can weed the people who suck out. And most of them will suck. But in the first bit of college, most people are going to be anxious to make friends, and it is the easiest time to do so because of that. If you miss out on it, it gets much harder for a while, since people are going through the process of figuring out who they actually want to associate with, and are less inclined to be friendly with new people.

Go to class. Unless you don't actually need to. Chances are as a freshman, half of your lectures will be the professor reading to you off slides. And then they put them online. Discussion and lab classes are where you get understanding of the material. Lecture, in my experience, is frequently optional as long as you're willing to look at the slides on your own and maybe read the book.

8AM is not a valid class time. It's not the same as high school. You'll manage if you have to, but it's awful. 10 is the optimal time for a first class from what I've found, but as a freshman you'll probably be getting up earlier than that at least 3 days a week.

Don't load up on as many credits as you can. 17 is the most you should take, with 14 or 15 being optimal as a freshman. Of course this depends on what you're like as a student. But if you're someone who had 8 classes in high school and think that taking 6 is going to be easy, it's not.

On that note, if you're used to 40-50 minute classes, you're going to have a bad time... at first. I can't speak from personal experience on this one since I had 84 minute classes in high school for everything, but from what I've heard, kids with more traditional schedules tend to have a hard time with the longer classes.


That's the general information that I thought up off the top of my head. I've only got one year under my belt though, so some of the older guys may very well know better than I do.

Edit: Also, depending on how you are as a person, either make sure you have fun and don't spend all your time on school work or, if you're more like me, remember that you're paying to go to school and go to class once in a while.

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#6
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Just remember: there's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. :P

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#7
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never be shy about getting help from your TAs and professors. you're paying for their time.

#8
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If it isn't too late, live in the dorm your first year. It'll make it much easier to meet new people. Also, try to stay off your computer as much as you can. If you can talk to someone instead of chatting with them on FB, do it.

Figure out what your school/dorm's policy is on alcohol. A bit of a horror story, one of the people doing orientation my freshman year was moving in, their parents were helping them. They accidentally dropped a basket of their stuff, and a bottle of vodka shattered on the ground. The RA saw it, and they were dismissed from the University, no questions asked. To make matters worse, the student hadn't known about the bottle, their parent had actually hid it in there for them.

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#9
Albel
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Hey, I call it uni and I live in the states :mellow:

Anyway, a lot of things that have already been stated are starting points. I think the best one was getting help from teachers. Most, if not all teachers will love to help you no matter how big or small the problem is. Also the story Sees posted can happen so make sure you know the rules about alcohol.

I've also found that most campus book stores are super expensive, don't buy books there unless you have too. You can almost always find a better deal on the internet, so ASAP try to figure out what books you need and see if you can find them on the web.

Another thing I can offer is if you can go to them, school functions held by cretin clubs, organizations, or frats and sorts are a great way to meet people and thus make friends easily.

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#10
Sbrideau
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The advice about not buying books until you actually need them is very good advice. I say this as I'm currently on my second course (Already did Computer Programming, currently doing Networking and Security), and there are some cases when I made the mistake of buying the books on the first day and ended up not using 1 of the books at all. Asking the teacher is a good idea too, I saved on not buying one of the Cisco books since we're using the Netacad stuff online.

Also, don't spend too much time on gaming, it has a real impact on your performance in class.

#11
stevepole
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Do not be afraid to try new things, like joining a club or a rec team, or even just picking up that hobby that's always interest you that you may have never thought about attempting.

Don't think about the person you were in high school, be the person you want to be. Don't worry about making friends, you will make friends. Your first semester is will be like one large welcome party, everyone will want to be your friend, and you the will want to be everyone else's friend no matter who they are, no one cares who you are, if you're in college your cool.

If you're living in your college's dorm, leave your door open when your there, probably the easiest way to meet people on your floor, heck my dorm floor got to the point where we'd just leave our doors open when we weren't there. We became like one large family. Those friendships also became some of the strongest friendships I made throughout my entire college experience.

Lower level classes were probably the hardest classes in all of college, I shit you not.

College is about having fun.
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#12
Pirate Mitch
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#13
Riku3220
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At the college I'm going to, we won't have a cafeteria where they serve us food and stuff. Instead, we have communal kitchens on every floor. Does anyone have experience with communal kitchens?
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#14
stevepole
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We had them but not many people used our kitchen excluding the fridge. We also had several cafeterias around campus though. I did use mine once, it wasn't that bad except for that half the burners on the stove didn't work. :/ but I'm sure that isn't much of a problem in a place that would relied on their kitchen more.
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#15
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dont buy text books til you know you need them, dont drink before morning classes, attend as many classes as you can without skipping, do your homework, and pay attention.

the rest is basically just have lot of fun

 

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#16
Plugpoint
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First year of uni is the easiest you'll ever make friends so be as social as you can possibly be, especially during first term. If people in your flat are going somewhere you wouldn't normally go, to hell with it, just join them. Join a few societies too. Like someone said before, you can weed out the crappy friends later.

Also the advice about not buying books until you know you need them will save you a load of money, and it'll save you having to carry a shitload of heavy books around when you're moving all your junk to the car when you leave.

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#17
tripsis
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  • Definitely stock up on food! Assuming you don't have a kitchen in the dorms, get a fridge/microwave in your room if you can. Believe me, there will be nights (or days) where you're hungry but can't be bothered to walk to the dining hall and just want some cereal/tea/hot chocolate/mac & cheese/etc.
  • Whenever possible, DON'T BUY textbooks. Share with a friend, use the library, or as a last resort buy them used. Text books are insanely expensive. I often found that I'd buy all the textbooks "required" for the class and we wouldn't even use half of them.
  • As Skull said, the first week/month is basically your one chance to make friends. That's when everyone is in the same boat, has little or no friends, and wants to make more. This is when the groups of friends will form, the cliques will form, the study groups will form, etc. If you want a good group of friends, you have to put yourself out there as much as possible. Go out of your way to meet with people and socialize. Join clubs, talk to people in class, get to know the people in your dorm, etc.
  • Don't worry if you miss a few classes. I often skip about half my classes and still do fine. I'm not encouraging you to do that, but just don't freak out if you miss 1 or 2. Most lecturers put the notes online and you usually don't miss much. Missing lectures is usually okay but try not to miss the practicals/discussion groups. Those are usually harder to catch up on (and they usually take attendance :P).

At the college I'm going to, we won't have a cafeteria where they serve us food and stuff. Instead, we have communal kitchens on every floor. Does anyone have experience with communal kitchens?


Yeah, they absolutely suck. I had one this year. It was always insanely dirty, people wait DAYS to wash their dishes, people steal your food/drinks from the fridge, they use your silverware/dishes without asking, etc. It was my first year with a communal kitchen and I'm avoiding this situation again as much as I can.
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#18
Kaphias
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So many of you are saying to wait to buy textbooks... does/could it ever happen that your professor starts actually using the textbook in class before you have time to order yours and get it shipped? Do professors just not use textbooks for the first two weeks?

What do you all think about printers? I have a printer in my dorm run by the on-campus printing business, but many of the students I've spoke to said it's best to have your own.
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#19
Makoto_the_Phoenix
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  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Get what you can done, but don't overwork yourself.
  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Have fun where and when you can; socialize with people in your degree field; make new friends, try new things.
  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Get lots of rest and exercise; both can help you focus in class.
  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Buy your books only when you know you'll need them, and then only at the best price. Amazon is a good start, but if someone's willing to sell one to you second-hand, that's even better.
  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Don't feel bad if you don't do great on tests. Learn what you can from them, and prepare better next time. True story: I sucked at tests, but I don't regret it - I feel that I learned a lot, and had a B average in my major.
  • Do not forget to eat.
  • Study, but don't cram. Take it a day at a time.
  • Lastly: Do not forget to eat.

If you're wondering why I'm repeating myself...when I was a freshman, I would do about 16 hours of homework in one or two sittings, often forgetting lunch and dinner. I would go upwards of 3 days without food, which did not bode well for my projects (going back through one now; I was obviously not thinking straight when I wrote it). Nourishment is absolutely vital.

So many of you are saying to wait to buy textbooks... does/could it ever happen that your professor starts actually using the textbook in class before you have time to order yours and get it shipped? Do professors just not use textbooks for the first two weeks?

What do you all think about printers? I have a printer in my dorm run by the on-campus printing business, but many of the students I've spoke to said it's best to have your own.


It's happened, it's not as big of a deal as it seems. Then again, my professors were pretty chill, and didn't assign much book work in the first two weeks. Even then, there's always someone in the class that's willing to do homework with you.

As for printers - I thought about getting one but discovered quickly that I didn't need it. My college university had $25 for each student to use the printers with, so we used that. Then again, I was also in the CS department, where we had our own printer...

So, I'd say - play it by ear. If your school takes printing usage out of your tuition up front, don't splurge on a printer.

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#20
Maleficus1055
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So many of you are saying to wait to buy textbooks... does/could it ever happen that your professor starts actually using the textbook in class before you have time to order yours and get it shipped? Do professors just not use textbooks for the first two weeks?

What do you all think about printers? I have a printer in my dorm run by the on-campus printing business, but many of the students I've spoke to said it's best to have your own.


Get a printer, you never know when the ones on campus will break and it's stressful when it happens. You can get printers for pretty cheap these days.




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