BY ALİ ADEEB (ARCH/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, Faria Pitafi, a fourth-year International Relations student, gives advice as to how this year’s freshmen can make their university lives a bit easier and less complicated.
When I first came to Bilkent, I was a confused and naive kid. I survived because I was determined, ambitious and hardworking – and I survived well. Here are some cluttered but useful pieces of advice that might help you, as freshmen, in your learning and personal development experiences. First of all, don’t kid yourself by thinking that it’s not that important to attend all of the lectures at university. There’s no point in missing classes without a genuine excuse. This is not for attendance points and grades, but for your self-discipline. Next, get to know your professors. Talk to them about your issues with their course, or about their research. You can even assist them in their work if you’re passionate enough about their area of research (and if they think you’re suitable) – an asset for your CV!
Also, attend different seminars (in areas other than your major); research and discuss with your friends and classmates topics that you’ve always been scared to talk about; and get enrolled/involved in challenging courses and activities to realize your full potential. Don’t be a lazy procrastinator (which I’m sure you’re not), and start prioritizing. Don’t stay up all night with friends watching an entire season of some TV show when you have a midterm in the morning. People may call you “boring,” but trust me, they’ll be the ones envying you later, and you won’t be missing out on any fun, either. You’ll have plenty of time to hang out with friends, travel and enjoy your university life. Scheduling and planning ahead for your assignments, quizzes and exams isn’t a “nerdy” thing (and who cares even if it is?).
Always question what people say and ask you to do, not with the intention to criticize but to understand. Don’t put on a fake face and pretend to be someone you’re not, just to be a “yes man” and part of a “cool” group. It hurts you and your self-esteem, and it isn’t good for your personality development. Good relationships take time to form, and it’s not necessary to find the best of friends in your first semester. In a nutshell, study hard, prioritize, sleep well, don’t eat too much junk food, and keep your hearts and minds open to all kinds of learning experiences and adventures. May the odds be ever in your favor!