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, Murat Can Becerir, a new American Culture and Literature graduate from Turkey, gives advice as to how this year’s freshmen can make their university lives a bit easier and less complicated.
You’ve just started your first year in college and are thrilled to be experiencing a whole new environment as well as a diverse culture. Perhaps you’ve heard some rumors/stories about college life, or perhaps you have no idea what to expect. Either way, you’ll be experiencing so many things that will broaden your horizon on an unimaginable scale. University life is what you make of it. You’re going to meet many different types of people. Some of them will be nerds, and some will be actively engaged in social activities. Of course there’s a middle ground, but frankly, it won’t be easy to stay there. After all, this is Bilkent, make no mistake!
I believe that there should be a balance between academic and social life. Indeed, both are vital for your college experience. In terms of academics, Bilkent has a high-quality academic staff, which can be valuable for students. Each student has their own advisor, so you can ask their advice on a variety of subjects. Ideally, you should try to stay on schedule, but don’t suffocate yourself. Your mental health should always be your priority!
In my opinion, social life is somehow underestimated, by parents, relatives and even some of our friends. It’s important to highlight the role of social activities, since academia isn’t the only thing in life. In fact, when you go to job interviews, you’ll realize that your CGPA is not the top priority for employers (unless you’re applying for an academic position). Generally, they want to see whether you have good communication skills, whether you’re collaborative, creative, open-minded and flexible. Don’t forget that the skills we need in real life are different from the theoretical knowledge we acquire at university. I’ve heard an employer say, “Anyone who studies hard can achieve a great academic standing. I need you to show me concrete evidence that you’re an ideal/promising candidate for the job.”
You’ll be receiving lots of BAIS e-mails – please don’t delete them before even opening them! My dear friends, engage in various kinds of social activities. Depending on your interests, explore various student clubs, which we have plenty of at Bilkent. Joining them is an effective way to broaden your interests and expand your network. Take on responsibilities in a club; be part of the team! Don’t just attend social gatherings; help organize them! And don’t forget that there are many sports teams and tournaments you can participate in. Most importantly, enjoy your college life!