BY TASNEEM AL-GHAMDI (COMD/IV)
For most of us, a new role in life presents a variety of challenges and some surprises, too. Advice from someone who’s already been there can help get us through the rough spots. In the case of university students, who better than seniors to offer the benefit of their experience?
This week, Deji Akintunde, a fourth-year International Relations student from Nigeria, gives advice as to how this year’s freshmen can make their university lives a bit easier and less complicated.
First and foremost, congratulations on making it this far, and I would like to commend you on taking on this challenging part of your life. You’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to survive four years in a completely new environment, but I would like to encourage you: not only can you survive, but you’ll end up leaving memorable moments of your youthful years behind upon saying your goodbyes to Bilkent.
Just giving you a piece of advice won’t hit the nail on the head, because there’s so much more to know and in fact you could almost see your experiences at Bilkent as on-the-job training. One important piece of advice to hold on to is, find something that you love doing and keep at it! For me, being a part of the university football team helped me in more ways than one; for example, it helped me become part of a social group, which is very much needed, especially when you’re a foreign student. Even though the language barrier may be an issue, with time it becomes less so.
Academically speaking, it will be of utmost benefit to you if you can find those one or two friends that you can rely on to put you in check, and vice versa. There are times when you just don’t want to do anything at all, and this is when they can step in and perhaps “knock some sense into you.” I’ve had a couple of friends like that, whom I’m grateful to have found. Moreover, remember that university is not just about academics but also about building a network for yourself, so spend time getting to know other Bilkenters; however, it’s important that you set your priorities straight, as this will determine what your situation will be in four years’ time.
Lastly, never let a bad grade have a negative impact on you, but rather capitalize positively on it. Cherish your time here at Bilkent, because time flies quickly!